Story Title: The Martian
Category: Published Book
Amazon Url: Story Link
Content Rating: Teen (for language)
Status: Completed, with movie made
Length: 385 pages
Story Summary: 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?
I ran across the movie, The Martian, a year or so ago and was captivated by the plot. That drove me to go find the book. I found it even more enthralling than the movie. I saw a comic recently that does a great job of describing the target audience for the movie. Do you remember the movie Apollo 13, the scene in which the NASA scientists dump a bunch of parts onto the table and announce that they need to make a solution to the problem using just the parts on that table? The Martian will appeal to people who liked that scene. I only took 6 hours of general science classes in college decades ago, so don’t let that comparison intimidate those of you without engineering or science backgrounds. The whole point of the book is that the protagonist, Mark, makes the science easy to digest, with edge-of-your-seat excitement. His ongoing war with the planet Mars has moments of insane hilarity as well as sheer terror. There’s a lot of strong language in the book, because Mark has a notable, hysterical gift for comic swearing. I’ve read the book through 4 times, and am working on my 5th read through with my kiddo. The book has also become my latest fanfic fave. I’ve found some good fics on fanfiction.net, but the majority are over at ArchiveOfOurOwn.org.
My Only Critique: There are one or two moments at the beginning when the writing feels vaguely amateurish. However, I never could decide whether this was an author error, or if the author was deliberately using such moments to make Mark’s log entries feel casual, and like some random guy’s amateur writing style (when not writing for peer review).