Review By Ty Black
When a sandstorm struck the crew of the Ares 3 mission to Mars, Mark Watney was struck by flying debris, dragged away, and apparently killed by a breech in his space suit. His crewmates took off without him. He has no way to communicate with NASA or his crewmates, and nobody knows he’s alive.
From there, author Andy Weir takes us on a wild ride across a hostile alien landscape in his debut novel, The Martian. Marooned spacefarers have been a common trope throughout science fiction, but Weir’s novel is unique in that it has the same air of realism as Tess Gerritsen’s Gravity, or James Michner’s Space. When Weir throws his humorous, deeply human protagonist into a desperate situation the result is a story which can suck even a reader who’s not science-minded into the particulars of how to manufacture water from hydrazine rocket fuel and the Matrian atmosphere, or how much arable soil is required to grow a crop of potatoes inside a tent on Mars.
Weir, a computer programmer by training, originally self-published The Martian on his website as a serial, but fans convinced him to put in on Amazon for $0.99 a copy. He quickly sold 35,000 books. Now bought and re-released in 2014 by Random House, The Martian has sold 180,000 copies and has a film adaptation coming out later this year, and it’s easy to see why. This review is short and sounds like a cover blurb, I know, but there’s not much to say about The Martian beyond that it’s brilliant. I give it five of five stars.
400 pp. Random House. $24