Sunday, September 6, 2015

Grokking "The Martian"

I can't say enough about how terrific a read The Martian by Andy Weir is. Astronaut Mark Watney is propelled from one crisis to another in his efforts to stay alive long enough to be rescued after an incident that leaves him stranded and alone. He's ingenious, irreverent and one of the most captivating characters to grace SF in a long, long time. Here is the cover and book blurb -

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
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 and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and 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—and 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?

The Martian was originally serialized and published on Andy Weir's website. The writing of the novel itself was a labour of love with no original intention that it be published professionally. For the incredible story on The Martian's journey to best seller status and a Ridley Scott motion picture, check out this interview by Mythbusters ultimate science geek and McGyverist, Adam Savage.


Canadian ISS Astronaut Chris Hadfield blurbs the book and has this to say about it -
A book I just couldn’t put down! It has the very rare combination of a good, original story, interestingly real characters and fascinating technical accuracy…reads like “MacGyver” meets “Mysterious Island.”
Difficult to get higher praise about the science in science fiction than that from an astronaut.

The audiobook version of The Martian is also a wonderful listen, with narrator R.C Bray bringing the characters to life with verve and vitality. Check it out while you wait for the movie to arrive. And speaking of the movie, who better then Ridley Scott (Bladerunner) to bring an adaptation of the story to the big screen (October 2). This trailer leaves me hopeful that it is faithful to the spirit of the novel.


Because I grok the The Martian, I leave you with this further apropos quote from science fiction grandmaster Robert Heinlein -
"Everything is theoretically impossible, until it's done."
I think Mark Watney would agree.


Andy Weir Links:


23 comments:

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    3. Nice post on "The Martian". If it’s the goal of great science fiction to boldly go where no man has gone before, an entry-level problem for The Martian is that it seems to be planting its space boots in some very recently trodden turf. Since I am an academic writer at Assignment help folks and providing nursing assignment help Australia. For Matt Damon, the whole movie is another lost in space pick-up attempt, after his similar part in Interstellar.

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