The Martian

The Martian has so many good things going for it. First and foremost, it is a classic tale of survival against very huge odds. In this book, Mark Watney becomes one of the first people to walk on Mars but after an accident causes him to be believed dead and abandoned by his crew, it looks like he will be the first person to die there. Like Cast Away x a million, Mark must battle extremely foreign territory, the likelihood of starvation, and the possibility of technical failures.

It’s pretty hard to see an outcome where he isn’t totally screwed.

The best thing about this book is the juxtaposition between the very scientific nature of everything Mark must do to survive — gave me a renewed level of respect for how damn smart astronauts have to be — and his absolutely wonderful personality. Mark maintains his sense of humour throughout every hardship he faces — it’s pretty much impossible to not be charmed by him.

Here are some quotes:

“The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”

“As with most of life’s problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation.”

This book is part “serious” science-fiction, part an hilariously dark comedy that imagines a horrifying situation infused with humour and the overwhelming human desire to stay alive. It’s hard to imagine that anyone who picks this up won’t find themselves dragged into Mark’s world, desperately needing to know what will happen to him.