Sunday, October 25, 2015
Out of this World: The Martian
Imagine going to Mars. Now imagine being stranded on Mars. Welcome to what has just become reality for Ares III Astronaut Mark Watney. Six sols (Martian days) into what is supposed to be a month-long stay on the red planet, a freak storm requires the team to abort their mission and head back to Earth early. Only while they're evacuating, Mark gets hit with debris that knocks out the bio sensors in his suit. His crew mates think he's dead, so they're forced to leave him behind. Now he needs to figure out to tell NASA he's very much alive and how to survive long enough to get rescued, something that would take years.
And that, readers, is just the beginning.
What started out as a story posted by chapter by chapter on Weir's blog turned into a self-publishing and then traditional publishing phenomenon that has now taken even Hollywood by storm, These kinds of stats make me naturally skeptical, but in this case, there was absolutely no reason to be. This tale is Apollo 13 meets Cast Away, except Mark isn't exactly Tom Hanks. He is sarcastic. He swears. He thinks outside of the box and is flippant as much as he is brilliant. His is a journey that you are glad to be along for the ride. This book does a great job of balancing the science part of science fiction with the fact that most of its readers are not rocket scientists - things are explained, but you're not required to understand every little aspect of the mechanics to be engaged by this story.
This review is purposely vague because this is a book that to spoil any part of it feels criminal. I'll just say that I think this novel is properly deserving of the hype, and I've been suggesting it like crazy to teen and adult readers alike.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading.