maandag 10 augustus 2015

Andy Weir: The Martian


I couldn’t wait any longer to read The Martian.
The novel has 369 pages and I got it from The Book Depository.
I am sad I don’t own the beautiful American cover but it was a lot more money.

“Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue 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 kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”

I loved it. I just loved it.

The Martian is in essence a very heavy survival story in the most desperate situation imaginable.
So this could be a novel full of sadness, hopelessness, existential questions and anger. Which it is not. It’s quite the opposite actually.
Mark Watney is a very intelligent, wise-cracking, witty, sarcastic ‘dude’ with a snarky attitude. In short; he’s hilarious. This is one of the novels strongest features but at the same time I would have loved to see him (mentally and physically) suffer more to make it a bit more believable.

The research Andy Weir must have done for this novel is enormous. Watney describes every chemical and mathematical calculation, every bit he has to destroy and use in a different way. Perfect for SFgeeks but it could be boring for other readers. I liked it even though I’m sure I didn’t understand half of it.

The Martian is a brilliant novel. It is fast-paced, very real and very, very suspenseful. We’re never completely sure he’s going to survive, there’s always something that can go wrong. There’s always that little voice saying it won’t work and he’ll just die. It is very well written, there’s never a dull moment (even when there’s a rather uneventful journey), and Weir (or rather, Watney) uses hilariously colorful language.
To enjoy the book you have to like Mark, otherwise you just won’t like it.

One fault that irked me sometimes is the lack of development of the other characters.

All in all that is a minor fault and it didn’t keep me from loving this novel.
Definitely recommended!

Happy reading!