Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Martian by Andy Weir

When American astronaut, Mark Watney, becomes stranded on Mars, we have the beginning of a thrilling, Robinson Crusoe kind of adventure story, that grabs the reader on page one and doesn’t let up until the last paragraph.

Mark has been left for dead as his fellow crew-mates flee for their lives in the middle of a ferocious storm. What follows is Mark’s journal of survival, packed with science and nail-biting tension, as Mark has to figure out how to provide all the elements he needs to keep himself alive: air, water, food and warmth – all of which are glaringly in short supply on Mars’ barren landscape. Once he’s got that lot sorted, he has to make NASA realise he is still alive, and stay that way long enough to be rescued.

Luckily a smart young scientist has already noticed some activity via satellite imagery, and soon the pointy heads at NASA are swinging into action with a daring rescue plan. Mark is a great character – smart, resourceful and funny – but the various scientists and their bosses on Earth are interesting too, and the reader follows their triumphs and despair as various options are trialled and don't quite come off. When Mark’s crew-mates get involved as well, the tension really cranks up and the reader has a nail-biting ride in store.

The Martian is a gem of a novel, loaded with science which makes it all seem weirdly credible, yet managing to keep the reader entertained, even not very scientifically savvy readers like me.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Martian

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