Every now and then something pops up that has everyone raving about. Recently one of those things was The Martian. Everyone from John Carmack, Chris Hadfield to Adam Savage were raving about this book. Normally when things get a lot of attention I tend to get skeptical, but these are also people I respect for their body of work. So picked it up and started reading it.
Oh boy. This book really IS that good.
I started reading it on the train and was annoyed I had to stop when the train arrived. When I got home at 1 A.M. I just kept reading until it was 2 A.M. and I really needed to try and sleep.
There are many reasons this book is so good. Firstly all the science is about as accurate as it gets. As I recall there was one thing that wouldn’t have worked that the author found after finishing it but oh well. The rest is pretty much all based on information available from NASA and the internet.
Another reason is that this book, more than anything, reminded me of books from the early 20th century. Stuff like Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Invisible Man, John Carter (sort of) and many others. Those books were always written in a journal fashion by people of a specific profession. One that would make sense of getting them into that situation.
Modern stories tend to focus on the everyman or the ‘kid’ as a sort of surrogate for the reader. This book doesn’t do that. Instead the main protagonist keeps a log in case anyone finds it, in which he details his story. All the science is explained in a way that is understandable without being too simple.
All this is covered in a healthy dose of dry humor that makes perfect sense for the type of character writing it.
All in all I can absolutely recommend reading this book.
Let’s leave off with a video of Adam Savage interviewing the author Andy Weir.