Author: Andy Weir
“Apollo 13 meets Cast away” – This line itself made me pick up the book. I did not have to read the synopsis further before deciding to pick up this book. The book is written in the form of logs, left by an astronaut (Mark Watney) stranded in Mars, alone.
One reason for liking the book is that the author has done an extensive research on this subject. I am sure it must have taken him years together to write this novel. I could not find a single flaw in the story or plot or in the science. Though I am not sure about the science part, since I have no idea about the technology that NASA uses in its missions. But this book made me want to look up for all those earlier Mars missions by NASA.
The story is pretty realistic and believable, which is what made it such a good thriller. Not even for a minute did I feel this was a fiction. There are so many twists and turns in this book that nothing goes as expected or planned. Every time Mark overcomes a problem, he faces a new problem. Even in the last few pages of the book, you have no idea how the book is going to end. It is a thriller at its best, nail biting adventure that does not get boring for even a minute. I think it is one of the best thrillers I have read in the recent times.
Like Mark says in one of the scenes from the book, none of his plans work out easily –
Presuming nothing goes wrong, that is. But hey, everything else has gone smoothly this mission, right? (That was sarcasm).
But Mark is determined to overcome every single challenge that Mars seems to throw at him.
I learnt a lot from this book. Not only is this a good story but teaches you a lot of science even without you realizing that you are learning while enjoying. As an example, I did learn some interesting facts like how we can get oxygen in a Martian atmosphere which is full of CO2? or how we can produce water on Mars?
I also loved Mark’s character. He is a witty, funny, brilliant engineer who doesn’t lose hope even for a minute. Mark’s struggle for survival was interesting and gripping. I was so anxious to know what would happen to him, that it was impossible to put down the book for even a minute. Using the limited resources that he has, he tries to get out of many deadly situations.
It has to be one of the best science fiction novels I have ever read. I loved Andy Weir’s writing style too and fell in love with all the characters from the book. Venkat Kapoor’s character was also well etched out. NASA, JPL, Ares 3 crew part of the story was equally interesting. The extent to which they went trying to rescue Mark was amazing.
The one question that has been lingering on my mind ever since I started reading the book was – where did the author get all the information and how did he make sure that the information about Mars, rovers etc is accurate? I read in many websites that all the information presented in the book is accurate.
I hope this author comes up with more brilliant novels like “The Martian”.
A film version directed by Ridley Scott (who has directed some amazing movies like the Alien series and Gladiator) and starring Matt Damon will be releasing next year. I also heard that Sean Bean will be acting in this movie. I am eagerly waiting for the movie now!