REVIEW SUMMARY: An excellent science fiction novel that approaches dire consequences with a refreshing optimism.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after being left for dead by his crew.
PROS: Excellent premise; great characterization of Watney, who is smart, funny and immediately likable; engrossing; relies heavily on realistic science; optimism pervades the entire novel.
CONS: The science and math may put off some readers unaccustomed to sf.
BOTTOM LINE: A smart, thrilling and ultimately uplifting story grounded in realistic science.
As a science fiction reader, it’s easy to get used to the idea of wild, far-future science fictional concepts appearing in fiction. (I’m looking at you, FTL and post-humanism!) So much so that it’s just as easy to forget why you’re reading science fiction in the first place: because science is cool. That’s as true for the science of today as it is for the imagined science of the future.
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I’m almost done reading Andy Weir’s debut novel The Martian and enjoying it quite a bit. (Review soon!) One of the reasons is the realistic science that’s used in the novel.
Here’s the author at a recent talk at Google HQ. It starts with a 11 minute reading from the first chapter, then he discusses the realistic science that went into the novel. Beware! There’s a slight story spoiler when Weir discusses the software he wrote to calculate some of the orbital mechanics used in the novel.
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/Film is reporting that Drew Goddard (writer of Cloverfield and director of The Cabin in the Woods) is in talks to do a film adaptation of Andy Weir’s new book The Martian. Goddard will write the screenplay about a man who is stranded on Mars, left for dead by the other people on his crew, who subsequently tries to find a way to get back home.
This is till in the early stages here, so not much more is known, but here’s the book description to help you fill in some of the blanks:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
[Thanks, Richard Derus!]