This was such a good book.
Let me set a bit of context for you. I not a massive sci-fi fan. I mean, I like a future dystopia or a post-apolcalypse, and I enjoyed The Reality Dysfunction and Asimov and Phillip K Dick and H.G. Wells, and I love Firefly and Serenity and Star Wars (although that’s more science fantasy) and Doctor Who and Back to the Future and Gravity and Alien...
So, do you see? I like a bit of sci-fi, but not I’m not all about the hardcore sci-fi.
I loved The Martian, though.
Like, I loved it.
The Martian tells the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut who has been stranded on Mars. I know. Nightmare. Luckily, Mark Watney is a resourceful chap and The Martian charts his desperate struggle for survival as the only human being in a barren, airless desert world with only the crap left behind from previous Mars visits to work with.
The Martian is told in a mixture of first-person diary entries and third-person narrative and the contrast works really well. Mark Watney is a lively, engaging protagonist and Andy Weir manages to keep you guessing about his ultimate fate literally until the last few pages. Truly nail-biting stuff. I had about 8% of the book left to go on my Kindle and I took it to the gym with me to read while I was on the cross-trainer, so desperate was I not to put the damn thing down.
About halfway through, I was enjoying The Martian so much that I decided to go onto Amazon to see what the negative reviews were saying. Not that I was being a pessimist or anything, I was just wondering what people could find that was wrong with it. The most negative reviews came from people who were saying things like, ‘Well, it’s a bit too sciency for me’. Well, duh. It’s called science fiction. And besides, it’s not really that sciency. The author does explain how the protagonist manages to fix some equipment and create water and so on, but he doesn’t exactly go into pages and pages of textbook detail. I was no fan of chemistry at school, and I was certainly no fan of physics, but I kept up just fine. I would say the science is about as tricky as The Big Bang Theory, and it’s thanks to TBBT that I know what Schrodinger’s Cat and String Theory are.
The Martian was originally indie-published and I understand that Andy Weir is now the poster boy for the self-publishing movement. Well done to him. I reserve 10 out of 10 scores for truly remarkable books, and I really feel that The Martian is one of these.