This was our final book group selection for 2014, and ended up being a great book to end the year with.
The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jacket Blurb: Six days ago, astronaut
Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars.
Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.
with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that
forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's
stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to
even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out,
his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged
machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much
more likely to get him first.
But Mark isn't ready to give up
yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless,
dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly
insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be
enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
This was my bookgroups final selection for 2014, and great book to finish the year on.
I thought this was a interesting blend of 1950's genre - with the scientific observation, the breakdown on how things work and what it would take to survive - and 2010's optimism of manned flights to Mars. The classic book that came to mind while reading The Martian was Heinlein's Have Space Suit Will Travel.
The premise of the book is, Mark Whatley is stranded on Mars due to a freak accident during an emergency evacuation. It will take every bit of cunning and ingenuity he has to survive long enough for the next Mission to rescue him - which is about four years. His main concern is food and water, and if he can grow potatoes, he can improve his odds of survival. Next is water, how to make water on a waterless planet. Then he need to reestablish communication with Earth. Don't forget keeping all the equipment running well after it's estimated allotted time-span - there are no spares on Mars!
The odds are stacked against him - and in fact, if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. Mark just can't get a break. What I loved was his optimism, his sense of humor, and his "this isn't going to happen unless I make it so!" attitude. He was a character that I cared about, and I found myself rooting along with the rest of "Earth" for his survival.
Meanwhile, we also get Earth's point of view from Mars Mission Control. Some good insight into "behind the scenes" action and what Earth thinks of all this. I appreciated the author keeping these glimpses some what short and focused. I do believe anything longer or more indepth would have detracted from the story - and Whatley.
It's by no means a 'perfect' book. There are some questionable scenario's. My one big question would be, would Earth really rally like it did in the book?
Ultimately, this was a book that pulled me along. I don't claim to understand all the science, I admit to glossing over some of the scientific breakdown, but I still really enjoyed this.
View all my reviews
Busy week work wise, which were balanced out with some super simple but awesome meals. Some meal plan shifting was required since I ended ...
The World Science Fiction Convention: Anticipation! started on Thursday and I went to panels Thursday evening, Friday, a smattering on Sat...
So my reading is down a bit this Fall - with the trip to Kansas City, Oregon, and Michigan, it was easier to plug into podcasts than an audi...
And so it came to pass that Easter Weekend I found myself, for the 23rd year in a row, at Minicon. Minicon 52 to be exact. I'm still...
Presidents weekend saw me back in Tucson for another visit, and while the weather didn't quite cooperate (50* and rain for two days), it...