The Martian by Andy Weir
The Martian by Andy Weir started life as a self-published book, experiencing a lot of success, before being picked up by Random House. It is a "hard SF" story about a man being left behind on Mars, and while there is math and equations dotted throughout the book, it never gets in the way of what is one of the most thrilling sci-fi stories I have ever read.
The story follows Mark Watney, biologist and mechanical engineer, astronaut on one of the first manned missions to Mars. When their Martian shelter is attacked by a huge storm, the crew is left with no choice but abort the mission and evacuate to space. During the evacuation, Watney is struck by flying debris and disappears into the storm with a torn suit, his personal transponder is transmitting that there are no signs of life, and the crew have no choice but to leave him for dead so that they can survive. Through sheer luck, Watney has somehow survived this ordeal, but it is just the first of many ordeals as Watney is confronted with the challenge of staying alive on Mars until the next mission arrives over a year later, with only a few months worth of supplies left over.
For me, The Martian was a thrilling story about perseverance, strength, endurance and ingenuity in the face of extreme adversity, with Weir making this stressful journey a little more fun by making Watney an insufferable smartass. No matter how dire the situation, Watney is always the first to make a joke to NASA over a public broadcast about drawing boobs in the Martian soil. Watney is scared, terrified, but humour is his defence mechanism, and I found myself laughing out loud at the most inappropriate stuff. Watney is highly skilled, more skilled than most people I know, and that is something that I am totally on board with having read Col. Chris Hadfield's autobiography on his time as commander of the ISS. Watney is like Martian MacGyver, surviving on Mars by jury-rigging the various appliances he has up there to create lasting supplies of food, water, oxygen, and just about anything else he might need. Richard Dean Anderson would be proud.
The story may be hard SF, but Weir writes them in a very accessible way, allowing the thriller elements to come through loud and clear. Weir not only has a knack of being able to explain some very complex stuff in Layman's terms, but he also has a knack of presenting everything in a way that makes sure it all means something to the reader. You understand why oxygen levels are important, you understand why temperature is important, you understand how rationing the food is going to impact Watney's performance the longer he deprives himself of a full meal. And just when you think you understand everything, Weir throws a curve ball, forcing Watney to scramble and come up with insane solutions on the fly in order to survive. This is an intense novel.
I love The Martian. I don't want to say much else because I think it is a book you really read for yourself so you can come up with your own conclusions. Whether you read sci-fi or not, this is a book that I can highly recommend.
This The Martian book review was written by Ryan Lawler
Have you read The Martian?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Martian reader reviews
Ann from USA
I LOVE this book. This is the most entertaining book I've read in 20 years, and that's saying something because I read a lot. This book was a pleasure from the first few pages to the very exciting end. The main character, Mark Watney, is a botanist and a mechanical engineer, which seems an unlikely pairing of degrees, but as the story progresses you realize that the only way he can survive being marooned on Mars is with that unique combination of skills. He needs to know enough science to keep everything running for another year or so, plus he needs to figure out how to grow food on Mars so he can keep eating. I could not put this book down. I have recommended it to friends and written several reviews. Hooray for Andy Weir. I can't wait for him to write and publish another book!
9.9/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Rendezvous With Rama
Arthur C Clarke
All’s quiet for many years, with humankind tracking thousands of asteroids and expanding its reach with colonies established on other planets and moons, until in 2130...
John G Hemry
The last surviving superpower on Earth, the USA, is fighting a war to conquer the moon and obtain its riches. However, the American military has its own battles to fight be...
The Light Brigade
From the Hugo Award–winning author of The Stars Are Legion comes a brand-new science fiction thriller about a futuristic war during which soldiers...
The Woven Ring
M D Presley
A fantasy reimagining of the American Civil War, The Woven Ring pits muskets against magic, massive war machines against mind readers, and glass sabers against soldiers in ...
The Imbued Lockblade
M D Presley
Over the Mueller Line and stalking across the Eastern homeland she betrayed during the Grand War, Marta Childress now cares for the catatonic Caddie Hendrix, whom she has b...
Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe. Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now re...
There is a killer loose on the London Underground. He kills without leaving any forensic trace, and seemingly without motive. Genecrime, the UK's elite forensic unit, a...
Earth’s Zero Asset citizens no longer face extermination from orbit. Thanks to Alan Saul, the Committee’s network of control is a smoking ruin and its robotic e...
Virtues of War
Bennett R Coles
The Terran military, the Astral Force, launches a mission to crush a colonial rebellion on the Centauri colony. Although Expeditionary Force 15 succeeds, the surviving vete...
Great fantasy books published in 2011
The Crippled God
The Bonehunters march for Kolanse, led by Adjunct Tavore. This woman with no gifts of magic, deemed plain, unprepossessing, displaying nothing to instill loyalty or confide...
There's a reckoning on the way . . .. . . and Sookie has a knack for being in trouble's way; not least when she witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, ...
The Book of Transformations
Mark Charan Newton
A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. ...
The Alloy of Law
The Mistborn trilogy has become a firm favourite with fantasy fans the world over. The imagination that Sanderson brought to the series and his skill at marshalling epic st...
Cat and her cousin are key players in a drama of dragons and politics. Everyone wants something from them - including the warlord who's conquering all Europa and the Co...
City of Dragons
The dragon keepers and fledgling dragons have discovered a route to the lost city of Kelsingra but there is one problem: they need to be able to fly to cross the treacherou...
The Wise Man's Fear
Picking up the tale of Kvothe Kingkiller once again, we follow him into exile, into political intrigue, courtship, adventure, love and magic ... and further along the path ...
The Neon Court
War is coming to London. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead and all fingers point towards their ancient enemy - The Tribe. And when magicians go to war, everyone loses. But...
The Silly Solar System
Our Solar System's a wonderful place, A collection of planets rotating through space, With the Sun at its heart, its own glowing star- ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: