Andy Weir took world by a storm in 2011 when The Martian was first published… The author calls himself a nerd; he is a programmer, who writes fiction in his free time.
The Martian is a story about an astronaut named Mark Watney who by mistake gets left on Mars by his crew mates during Areas III mission. With no communication means and possibility to be rescued in the near future (next four years), he doesn’t lose hope, but plans out everything he cans to have a chance to survive and be brought back to Earth alive by the next NASA’s Mars mission.
The review will contain minor spoilers.
This obviously is a very popular book and has gotten a lot of amazing reviews and the author has done a great job at picturing everything (as far as I know he didn’t contact NASA, the whole book is just a big research of his). The book is written as a diary and our protagonist is obviously the narrator for the most of the story, other parts show what NASA is doing and there also are some awkward places where the book talks about him in the third person, but those are rare.
The book is really scientific, if you don’t get any science at all, you probably won’t understand or like this book, but if you have some clues about how the world works, it won’t be that hard to get into it.
What I really enjoyed was the first third of the book, before NASA and Mark found a way to contact each other. He was on his own and it was interesting to see that NASA knew that he is alive, but couldn’t communicate and tried to figure out what he is doing. One more reason I had trouble with this story after the first part, was that I got tired of the way the problems were presented and solved.
At first I didn’t notice it much, but after a while, I started to see that each of Mark’s logs started with “Yaay” or “I’m fucked”. Which basically meant that he had a problem and he solved it and then he had a problem again and he solved it. It was just too much ups and downs for me (black-white, no grey in the middle) and I just stopped caring, because he never made any mistakes and everything always got solved so, why even care about “I’m fucked”, if it is going to be fine anyways?
I didn’t like the inappropriate language (when used by NASA, because I get, how a lonely person would not give a fuck, but NASA? Come on, guys!), I found it somehow disrespectful and offending to the taxpayers or, I don’t know, to the general public. I don’t think that they would talk so, if it happened in the real life, they should all be posh (and rich, and smart, and put together) after all.
In the middle of the book we also got to know Mark’s crew mates better and that just seemed sly. Like the author had figured that they won’t be that important and then: “Oh shit, I need them, so here goes some background information…” It was not enough for me to get attached to them and worry about what and why is happening and what they think and feel.
So, yes, in conclusion I did like the first part of the book, but the rest seemed a little meh. It did have slightly too many scientific descriptions (if there would be graphs to come with the descriptions, I’m sure I would be happier), the jokes were sometimes funny, sometimes not, and generally the book was fine.
I had trouble deciding two or three stars as the second part was so slow, but the fear for my life from all the fans took over and I gave it three stars on my goodreads page.
I also watched The Martian the movie and I have to tell you that I enjoyed the movie better than the book, but still – it wasn’t good. I felt connected to the main characters more in it than in the book and that probably is the only reason. There were a lot of differences, many of them stupid. And I also spotted some mistakes.
I did feel a tiny bit sad that so much was cut out, because in the movie everything seemed so much cooler, faster, but it didn’t give any science, didn’t explain much and just sometimes seemed outrageously irresponsible. And I would have liked that they would make two films to show it all (plus cut out the stupid parts). But I guess nowadays Hollywood makes one, three or four movies – two never happens.
I didn’t like Iron man maneuver. Stupid and immature.
The moment when Annie asked Mitch, how he knows what “Elrond Council is”, was priceless and the highlight of the film.
Let me know what you thought of this book and film in the comments below!