Mark Watney, who is an astronaut on spaceship Ares 3, is sent on a mission to Mars and left stranded following a storm. His crew thought he was dead after seeing his suit lose pressure, and they made the tough choice to abandon him. He somehow survives, but has to find a way to stay alive until he can be rescued. He has no idea how to contact NASA back on Earth. His food, water, and oxygen will only last so long, so he needs to devise a plan that will keep his alive until help arrives. There’s little room for error, though, and Watney comes dangerously close to disaster on numerous occasions, using “Sols,” or days, to recount his stunning story.
The Martian is a different kind of book, a true science thriller in which math and science play the main role in the plot. Many pages are just Watney’s thoughts, filled with dissecting complex calculations about the planet’s orbit or his calorie consumption.
That doesn’t mean the book was long-winded or boring. It was interesting to see what a person on Mars thinks, as none of us has ever experienced it. Author Andy Weir creates a hilarious character in Mark Watney, who cracks jokes at random times, which keeps the readers entertained. Watney is also easy to empathize with. While no one can relate to his Mars experience, we can all relate to his emotions, and Watney makes it easier to take in the scientific part of the book without becoming overwhelmed.
I would recommend this book to all readers, as it would appeal not only to space travel enthusiasts but also regular people looking for a gripping plot. Although there may be a lot of description, Watney’s wittiness and his Mars adventures keep readers interested and captivated.
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: October 2014
Reviewer: Sahil Kurup is a high-school student at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, California.