Book Review – The Martian by Andy Weir

by Maryse on September 2, 2016 · 15 comments

in My Book Reviews

The Martian: A Novel
<— OMG I LOVED IT!!!!!!!! One of the best books I’ve ever read, wholeheartedly experienced, had panic attacks over, and rejoiced in. Back and forth, all of it at the same time, in no particular order. It tried to kill me, as Mars kept trying to kill him, and OMG!!!!! WHAT. A. STORY!!!!!!! What a journey!

It was a ridiculous sequence of events that led to me almost dying, and an even more ridiculous sequence that led to me surviving.

The worst part? Where I shake my head and want to scold myself? I could have “LIVED” this a long time ago. My friend Fabi has been trying to get me to read this for a year or two, now. Oh yes. She knows good books.

Fabi: I slept 3 hours last night because of this demon page Turner of a book. …when you read The Martian, plan a time when you don’t have to put it down until its over. Otherwise you’ll find yourself walking around with your reader everywhere you go. *rubs wall bruises*

bev: I do not read this genre at all but excited by the book, The Martian, lots of good buzz and reviews…

Fabi:  …can’t tell all of to hurry and read it, it’s freaking fantastic, because you guys read mostly, if not exclusively, romance books. The Martian does not have a drop of romance. But I can and will tell you it is freaking fantastic. It is an exciting and suspenseful story of survival against all odds. A story of humanity’s best when we so often read about its worst. If you watched the movie Gravity (or read that book) and liked it, then multiply that by a hundred and you have an idea of The Martian. Btw, The Martian is also being made into a movie.

MichelleS: BTW, Fabi – I am loving The Martian. Am only just past the halfway mark because of pre-op business. I am laughing more than I thought I would because the guy is so funny. And all the geeky stats are fantastic.

AGREED!!! This book, while NOT a “comedy” per se, has a main character that is hilarious. Perfect comedic timing, because he provides SO much relief to the reader during (or right after) moments of incredible stress. Or even during his routine “living”.

“He was chosen for the mission in part because of his personality. An Ares crew has to spend thirteen months together. Social compatibility is key. Mark not only fits well in any social group, he’s a catalyst to make the group work better.”

This book is NEVER boring, never too overwhelming (whether it be due to the technical stuff, which there is plenty of, but even THAT is SO cool!!!) or whether it be due to the constant issues he faces, because HE, as a person, is just… AMAZING.

I feel so good and so happy and so fulfilled, that I just want to buy the movie right now, and WATCH it. IMMEDIATELY! Yeah I haven’t watched the movie yet, and I’m thrilled I got to experince the book first. The movie is just a cherry on top for me, to complete the effect of it all… the imagery, the things i imagined in my head.

I can’t wait to see the movie even if I read the book, because I want to see what the “Hab” really looks like, and the Rover, and the thing he went to get to attempt to make contact (starts with a P I can’t remember?) Oh yeah! The “Pathfinder“.

So that’s my mission now. Find a way to communicate with Earth. If I can’t manage that, find a way to communicate with Hermes when it returns in four years with the Ares 4 crew.

Of course, I don’t have any plan for surviving four years on one year of food. But one thing at a time here. For now, I’m well fed and have a purpose: Fix the damn radio.

I wanna SEE these things. I wanna see his balloon bedroom-tent thingie on the rover that he made. I wanna see him build stuff and get blown up!

It’s all going to come to life for me, (already that I was LIVING it), with this movie.

Maryse: I’m freaked right out, because how scary is it to be alone in FREAKING SPACE? ON MARS?!! STUCK. GAH!!!!! And even though he’s stuck in space (so vast and wide open and never-ending), I feel so claustrophobic reading it. I. Can’t. Breath! Like… how long can he live there? How long can he make his supplies last? And thank goodness he’s a rocket scientist of sorts ’cause he’s sure preparing and planning some pretty awesome things to extend his life even further than what was planned for. But… how long can anyone last, or WANT to last, all alone? ALL. ALONE. FOREVER (unless someone comes back up to save him). Completely 100% alone, with NO way of just going into society whenever he feels the need to connect. ‘Cause you know… Mars.

Fabi: Maryse I am simply cackling at your reaction to The Martian. … I am tickled pink that you are reading (and liking) one of my favs. I don’t think it’s ever happened before. It’s always ME reading YOUR favs.

Jan: Loved The Martian. Book and film both. I’m a Matt Damon fan. What can I say? Seriously, it’s a really gripping, well-written book. Great read even if sci-fi’s not your usual fare. Glad you’re enjoying it, Maryse.

Maryse: LOL I’m LOVING “The Martian” seriously. I love the detail, and I love the desperateness of the situation and how scary it is and how scared I feel but OMG it can be so funny at times ’cause of the main character and his personality and his internal dialogue. He’s really just funny and so intelligent but so funnnnny!!!! Tee hee!!! GAH I LOVE THIS!!!!! I’m terrified and find myself chuckling all at the same time.

Amy: I saw The Martian and it was really good, but I can only imagine how much better the book is in conveying how desperate his situation was. All those potatoes… *shakes head* Man, I’d never want to eat another one.

Maryse: This to me isn’t sci-fi or anything like that. It’s an astronaut stuck on Mars when the crew is forced to evacuate and he’s left behind in the chaos. It’s complete reality… on Mars. LOL! No creepy monsters, or powers or anything of the sort. Just a story about survival. And this guy is funny as heck!

Fabi: Lol Maryse, sci-fi doesn’t have creepy monsters or powers. That’s fantasy you’re thinking of. The Martian is pretty streamline sci-fi. Generally referred to as hard sci-fi. Of course, I welcome corrections if anyone disagrees with me.

Maryse: Fabi. I just want to let you know The Martian is one of the best books I’ve ever read. HOLY FREAKING MOLY.

Yep. I HAVE to watch the movie. As soon as I finish this review, I HAVE to. I’m in a book fog. I didn’t want to leave these characters, and this world, and this dilemma (even though I’d NEVER want to be stuck on Mars, or anywhere in space, EVER EVER EVER). I can’t even breathe just thinking of it. I mean… HOW CAN ANY OF THEM go up there? It’s vast but I feel like it’s all closing in on me. It makes no sense how anyone can live or attempt to live there even with all of the awesome equipment and amazing planning and troubleshooting that NASA completes before every mission.

But the sheer cleverness of the main character, and how down to earth, how real, and how amazing, and even… (maybe ESPECIALLY) how fun he was? WOW!!!!!!! He is the ultimate hero (even though this is not a love story, you will fall for him).

Maryse: OMG LOL!!!!! :P !!!!! This is one of the funniest (and yet NOT comedy) books I’ve ever read. GAH I LOVE THE MARTIAN. And Mark. He’s amazing. LOL!!! And this is a quote that had me cackling out loud, scared my minpins, and it’s a case of “y’all had to be there” to get it. It’s all about context, but OMG. Baaaaahahahahahah!!!

——————

“Conclusion: I don’t need the water reclaimer at all. I’ll drink as needed and dump my waste outdoors. Yeah, that’s right, Mars, I’m gonna piss and sh!t on you. That’s what you get for trying to kill me all the time.

There. I saved myself 3.6 pirate-ninjas.”

——————

*sigh* I am crushing on “Mark”. How could you not? Intelligent and funny and witty and clever, and so positive and upbeat, no matter what is happening to him. *sigh* *swooooooooooooon*

Plus, the NASA crew, and the other Ares astronauts, all of them are so real. OMG you guys. If by chance you haven’t watched or read this yet? READ THIS BOOK NOW!!!!!!!!!

The original cover. I LOVE it!

And if you have watched the movie only? READ THIS BOOK NOW!!!!!

Lisa: I didn’t read this book but I can highly recommend the movie.

Fabi: My opinion of the movie…read the book. I don’t know why I keep expecting someone to be able to turn a good book into a good movie. It is just not possible. You can’t fit what’s in a book into a two hour movie.

MichelleS: I loved the Martian. I haven’t seen the movie. I can’t picture how it could possibly be as good as the book. How could they capture all his inner thoughts and feelings?

I can’t believe I waited this long to read it!

And it’s not that I didn’t WANT to read it, but I dunno… I guess I just didn’t get that it would be right up my alley. I didn’t understand that the “feel” of this story was so much more than science fiction. I’m not a huge sci-fi lover. But this? It was real. It was reality. It could be RIGHT NOW, even. This isn’t about aliens, or powers, or scary paranormal stuff. HE IS “the Martian” and he’s simply a human, stuck on Mars and despite the dire circumstances, and the extremely low chances that he could possible survive there long enough to be found again, he HAS to. He WANTS to.

So that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one days.

If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I’m f**ked.

And this is his story as he figures out how to live. Simply awesome!!!

I mean, stories about survival are what I’m all about. Whether they be our gritty love stories where the heroine has a dark past that she’s trying to overcome and/or is on the run from and starting over, or is taken by a bad guy and has to use her wits and her will to survive.

Or whether it be a post apocalyptic tale of the end of the world as we know it (either due to alien takeovers, government oppression, or a virus that take out the entire population… heck… even being abandoned on a devoid-of-life planet), I’m simply fascinated with the will to survive, and the journey to get there.

I’m going to be honest. LOL!!! I would have died immediately. Er… *eyeroll* I know. OF COURSE I WOULD HAVE. Okay, to be fair, I’m no astronaut, engineer, or genius so there’s no way I would have ever been sent to Mars on a space mission, to even be put in such a position as to have to “MacGyver” objects and calculate “thingies” to keep myself alive. ALONE. ALL. ALONE!!!

“What must it be like?” he pondered. “He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?”

He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

—————

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.

LOL!!!! THAT was what he was thinking up there on Mars, while these guys at NASA were wondering… how he was dealing with it all. *snort* :P GAH I LOVE HIM!

But yeah… no. It takes a special kind of person to stay alive against all odds (and OMG DO I MEAN AGAINST ALLLLLLL ODDS in this case!!!), and that wouldn’t have been me. Over and over again, my friends, I was all… oh yeah. I would have died. Right here. Just panicking. I would have died PANICKING. Given myself a heart attack and DIED.

I’m totally exhausted but I can’t sleep. Every sound scares the sh!t out of me. Is that the Hab popping? No? Okay.… What was that!? Oh, nothing? Okay.…

It’s a terrible thing to have my life depend on my half-assed handiwork.

I get it. I get EXACTLY what he’s thinking, and yet, he’s a freaking genius. HE KNOWS STUFF!! ALL THE STUFF. Mark Watney is THE MAN (even if he doubts it sometimes).

I can call it whatever the hell I want. I’m the King of Mars.

He can do it. But at a certain point, you start to wonder… how much more can he take? And when is enough… enough?

And this is the story that will take you there.

It’s a strange feeling. Everywhere I go, I’m the first. Step outside the rover? First guy ever to be there! Climb a hill? First guy to climb that hill! Kick a rock? That rock hadn’t moved in a million years!

I’m the first guy to drive long-distance on Mars. The first guy to spend more than thirty-one sols on Mars. The first guy to grow crops on Mars. First, first, first!

I wasn’t expecting to be first at anything.

GAH! But… especially this part. THIS is what had me feeling claustrophobic:

Jesus Christ, I’d give anything for a five-minute conversation with anyone. Anyone, anywhere. About anything.

I’m the first person to be alone on an entire planet.

Imagine? Wow. Seriously. Over and over again… WOW.

BUT!!! You wanna know what’s crazy? Is that the hero is an obvious (albeit HUMBLE) genius, of course… he’s a “rocket scientist”! He’s an astronaut!!!! That is the ultimate. He’s an engineer but holy moly, when you remove yourself from the book for a bit, you realize… it’s not just him that we need to be wow’d by!!!

It’s the AUTHOR that’s the freaking genius! I mean EVERY DETAIL about the planet, about figuring out longitude and latitude on Mars, about hooking stuff together, and pre-planning why it would work and the reason why (if) it doesn’t work. You’re never left wondering about ANYTHING. From him solving these puzzles so perfectly, and figuring every detail out. From staying alive, from keeping himself fed, from patch-jobs, to building entirely new things from parts (and knowing how to keep the thing he just salvaged parts from… running!!!) I just… WOW!!!!

And it’s the AUTHOR that created (knew?) all of this. Figured it all out, to properly include it in this story. To make it complete. That is some impressive research. While reading, I kept forgetting that this character is not real. That someone MADE this up! Of course using factual info or else he’d be called out by all the real geniuses (right?) but wow… I absolutely LOVE this book!

And on top of it it’s a witty funny book, and well written. SO interesting. The author not only knows all of this rocket science stuff, but he’s a great writer! A great storyteller!

My only complaint? Maybe it ended a little bit quickly considering all of the detail, and amazing journey. That said, it still ended with an *oomph* that left me feeling elated. Can you tell? ;)

5 STARS PLUS!!!!

P.S.  As you can see, I quoted a TON ’cause the majority of the book is highlighted. LOL! I couldn’t help myself. However, for the fun of it, here are my own non-spoilery notes:

LOL!!! I knew he’d be thinking something goofy!

OMG I HAVE TO USE THIS!

LOL! Quote this!

LOL!!! It all seems so hopeless and now this is so wonderful and hopeful!

LOL!! Best EVER! Quote this!

LOL!! Use this absolutely!!

WHO IS THIS AUTHOR!? He’s the genius. He knows EVERYTHING! Planet stuff, atmosphere stuff, engineering stuff, crater stuff, satellite map stuff, fix-it stuff, astronaut stuff. Every DETAIL. Who is he??!

LOL!! Iron Man!!!!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

bev September 2, 2016 at 9:28 PM

Great review, Maryse.
I do have to read this and I really want to watch the movie.
Now keep the scifi/stranded on a planet vibe going and read The Last Hour of Gaan.

Maryse September 2, 2016 at 10:00 PM

READ IT bev!

P.S. About Mark… I dare you. Double dare. ;)

Maryse September 2, 2016 at 10:02 PM

OH LOOK! I found out about the author. It all makes sense now:

“ANDY WEIR was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.”

Perry September 3, 2016 at 9:07 AM

Maryse, you have to read Dark Matter. Trust me on this one. It’s a Sci Fi Thriller. You are going to love it. I’m 99.99% sure. DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch. Favorite book of the year so far for me… you have to read it.

Maryse September 3, 2016 at 9:34 AM

ON IT Perry. SO on it!!!! :D

Sandra September 3, 2016 at 10:29 AM

We listened to this on a road trip and really enjoyed it!

Fabi September 3, 2016 at 11:17 AM

Fantastic review Maryse. Your joy with Matt and his story shines through.

Perry, I have Dark Matter burning up my tbr. :-)

Maryse September 3, 2016 at 11:23 AM

Fabi we will buddy-read it? That would be awesome.

Right now I’m reading Wolfsong though…

:)

Fabi September 3, 2016 at 12:15 PM

:-O squeeeeeeeeeeee yes yes yes

MichelleS September 3, 2016 at 5:52 PM

Wowza! I’m MIA for a week & I come back and BAM! Maryse read The Martian & loved it. Pigs must be flying. That’s awesome. I loved that book.

I’m thinking you may actually read Last Hour of Gann now. Loved that one even MORE. Squee. That would do me in.

Maryse September 3, 2016 at 5:58 PM

Waaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiit wait wait!

MORE than The Martiaaaannnnnnn!!!!!!????????????

*gasp*

*thud*

MichelleS September 3, 2016 at 6:36 PM

Yes. More than Martian. I want to read it again. I recommended it to a coworker, who is loving it & talking about it & making me want to read it again.

MichelleS September 3, 2016 at 6:37 PM

OMG OMG OMG. Just read the comments.

THUD.

You’re reading Wolfsong?!?!?!? SQUEE!!! Oh Lordy. I loved that book too.

Maryse September 9, 2016 at 12:01 PM

HOLY MOLY!!!!

Andy Weir liked my tweet about how much I loved his book “The Martian”

*thud*

Just a little fan-girling. ;)

Fabi September 9, 2016 at 12:19 PM

Ha! So glad you’re not exempt from the fangirling moments. I think I’d faint dead away from an acknowledgement from my favorite author.

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