Skip to main content

Andy Weir's THE MARTIAN


(Note: this review is for novel and not the film which was just released.  Mild spoilers within if you haven’t read or seen the movie.)

Andy Weir’s The Martian is my kind of book!  It’s the kind of stuff that makes me appreciate being part nerd (and I do mean nerd and not geek).  The book appealed to the engineering side of my nerdiness.

The Martian is about a group of space explorers who land on Mars to further develop colonization efforts.  After a massive sandstorm, one of the explorers, a botanist and engineer named Mark Watney becomes separated from his team after colliding with debris.  Fearing his death, and perhaps their own, the remainder of the team blast off quickly from Mars in an effort to return to Earth.  However, what they don’t know is that Mark is actually alive.  Armed with limited resources, and his botany and engineering skills, Watney must stay alive for what he estimates is four years before he can be rescued by the next team.  However, Watney must survive the perils and hazards of Mars itself if he’s going to stay alive for four years.

The Martian is one of those rare books whose writing style cannot be repeated, or else face the criticism of being a knock-off.  Perhaps something similar has been written before, but I don’t think it’s achieved this level of mainstream success.  The book is written such that it is HEAVY on math, physics and engineering.  It’s written in a way to make it all same logical, practical and realistic.  But it’s made as accessible as possible.  The math that’s presented is never too difficult.  Andy Weir doesn’t bore us with differential equations and derivations.  It’s straight up simple math (addition, subtraction, division, multiplication).  For example, let’s say he has 800 potatoes but he needs to last 150 more days, how many potatoes can he eat per day?  And it’s this sort of equation that’s presented to us over and over.  And Mark has to do this if he’s going to schedule and plan his survival, or face eating himself to death (or starving himself, whichever end you’re looking at it from).  However, for those who might be thrown off by all the math (and there is a lot of it), the math is not the point.  If that confuses you, you can skip the paragraph and just take away that, “Mark’s fucked, he needs to do something.  What’s he going to do?”.  So for those who want it, it’s there!  And as a self-proclaimed geek, I’m glad it’s there!

The book flips between first person perspective when we’re dealing with life on Mars with Mark and switches to a third person perspective when it bounces to the NASA and rescue teams on Earth.  However, the first time we hear Earth’s perspective isn’t until about a third of the way through the book, so it was a bit surprising when it first hits you.

Regarding the story itself, it’s nothing that you haven’t read or seen before in any other mediums.  The story is about a man stranded trying to get home.  You’ve seen or read that dozens of times elsewhere, and to that degree, the Martian offers up nothing new.  However, as I allude to above, it’s in the writing style and approach that makes it unique from let’s say Castaway or Gravity.  The book offers all the twists and turns as you would expect for a story where someone is struggling to live.  It moves to a real cinematic beat; you can really visualize the story in a movie.  Mark Watney is a great character too, who never gets dull despite facing imminent death!  He’s cheeky and sarcastic and sometimes difficult to deal with, much to the chagrin of the Earth rescue team.  However, as he says, he can do whatever he wants, he’s the one fucked on Mars!

At the time of this writing, I haven’t yet seen the movie nor have I read any reviews (however, by the time this is published, likely I’ll have seen it, so I’ll write a short follow-up afterwards!).  I’m quite interested to see how far they go with all the math and logistics in a movie format.  Without seeing the movie, I feel like Matt Damon can really pull off the spirit of Mark Watney, so I’m excited!


Folks, give the book a read!  There’s a fun adventure ahead!  Until next time, later geeks!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

R.I.P. Evan Tanner

The body of the professional fighter and former UFC champion, Evan Tanner, 37, was found in the Palo Verde mountain area of California on September 8th, 2008. He was found a few miles away from his campsite on foot, with no water, where the temperatures were around 110 degrees fahrenheit. The coroner's report listed the cause of death as from heat exposure.

Tanner left Oceanside, California on September 2nd. On September 4th, he sent a text message to a friend telling him that his motorcycle was out of gas, that he was out of water, and if his friend didn't hear from him the next day, to call the authorities. Unfortunately, Evan never returned home.

I'm not the hugest MMA fan, I consider myself a casual fan, and a n00b at best. I was listening to Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer Radio, and the story of Tanner's life sounded intriguing.

As fantastic as it sounds, Tanner ventured into the deserts in search of treasure and adventure. I kid you …

Star Wars: The Force Awakens!!!!!!!!!!

(Warning: Spoilers Ahead)
Star Wars!!!!  After a 10 year gap we finally receive a new entry into the now Disney owned Star Wars franchise!  So it is apt that the new entry is called the Force Awakens.
The movie starts off 30 years from where the Return of the Jedi last left us.  The Empire has fallen and the Rebels have seemingly disbanded.  But from the ashes of the past, a new threat has risen.  Out of the fallen Empire, a new army called the First Order has spawned, threatening to finish off what the Empire set out to do –  eliminate the force by terminating the last known Jedi, Luke Skywalker.  But as the Empire has evolved so have the Rebels.  Led by General Leia Organa, the Resistance (or the new Rebels) aims to find Luke first, to stop the First Order.
We are told this story through two new main characters.  Rey, who is a scavenger on the planet Jakku, who harvests scrap metals to earn a meal.  Finn, a turncoat stormtrooper who realizes his purpose could be something more than j…

About The Lam

Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin', so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named "The Battle of Waterloo" and the idea was: shark comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark go away... but sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin' and the hollerin', they all come in and they... rip you to pieces. You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don't know how many sharks, maybe a thousand.…