The Martian

To be read with: 2oz of your choice of scotch from a burette into a measured cylinder, over 2 cubes of solid H20, preferable mass of 10 grams and volume of 10.9cm^3 for proper reaction results.

Andy Weir’s The Martian reads like conversational letters to a friend that occasionally uses profanity and/or a depth of physics, chemistry and botany that may be alien to the average reader, pun intended. That being said, both are very welcome in this novel. The Martian is accessible for readers who are wanting a great story with a likeable lead character and an interesting new setting that might be reality in the not-too-distant future, as well as science buffs who want to theorize about what settlement on Mars would be like from every possible angle. Andy Weir spares no detail in the triumphs and pitfalls of immensely charismatic Mark Watney’s endeavors as an American NASA astronaut/botanist stranded on Mars. The detail to setting is superb, including well-fleshed descriptions of NASA equipment used to house the astronauts on Mars, and the topography and scenery of Mars as well.

The characters are endearing and speak to what I think is Weir’s belief in a basic universal kindness of human beings. The novel hinges on the basis that humans will extend themselves in an effort to help someone in need. I don’t know if I agree with this in practice or throughout history, but it comes off as genuine in the novel and that is a kind of future I could get behind. The characters and Watney’s first person narrative provide comedic interjections to the science and the peril that keep this novel moving at a fast pace, with the reader hooked and invested in Watney’s survival.

Definitely an interesting debut novel for Andy Weir, that would be a good fit for recreational readers and science enthusiasts alike. Great characters and a series of challenges and rewards that keeps the reader interested and does not disappoint, although I would be interested to see him do something a bit grittier in the future. A definite recommend!

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