Imagine being on a mission to Mars, a dust storm forces the crew to suddenly evacuate, and make an agonizing decision to leave for Earth and their “dead” colleague. The problem is the astronaut left behind is not dead. The Martian by John Weir is about Mark Watney, the astronaut stranded and forced to survive the red planet. He has limited food and no communication with NASA or fellow crew. Yet, Mark with humor and patience explains the many scientific challenges without making the reader feel left out or too stupid.
He calls his plan to survive: “The Mark Watney doesn’t die project” and he never gives up! The astronaut keeps a journal of the constant challenges he encounters and in spite of the technicalities he doesn’t strand the reader either. It is a compelling read as we accompany him in his effort to survive for 450 sol (Mars time) when he hopes NASA will return to Mars. The story of his life on Mars as botanist, scientist,and engineer, is really quite fascinating as is the spin NASA does on earth about the disaster. Mark displays an ingenuity that is limitless in this hostile terrain. He grows potatoes, makes water, repairs equipment and leaves enough information and a journal for future archaeologists “incase” he dies. He escapes so many harrowing situations and is so clever, I found I never stopped rooting for Mark.
An interesting side note is The Martian originally was self-published by the author who is a self admitted space geek, and computer scientist. The following of the fans for this book eventually led to a contract with Crown publishing. Just heard a movie is being made on this book with Matt Damon. Read the book first! That is my 2 cents!