The Martian by Andy Weir is basically McGyver stuck on Mars, and it’s great fun.
The premise – Astronaut Mark Watney gets marooned on Mars due to a freak accident that leaves his crew mates having to abort their mission, assuming him already dead. It’s no spoiler to say that he survived that accident, presumably to die quite soon after he wakes up. As he says in the opening line, “I’m fucked”.
He’s a botanist and an engineer and what follows is 300+ pages of gung-ho geeky battle against the odds. Told through his daily log we can’t help rooting for Watney with his mix of gallows humour and ingenuity.
I laughed a lot during this book and let out more than a few mental hooraaahhs as he overcomes each obstacle between him and survival for another day.
I don’t know how accurate the science is. I don’t care. It all sounded feasible. Clearly a lot of research has been done for the different scenarios painted. It’s all very nerdy as he explains (for example) how to grow potatoes on Mars. I was initially a bit wary that there would be so much detail that it would bore me, but far from it. It just added to the realism and helped along the suspense.
It’s apparently being released as a movie starring Matt Damon later this year. I reckon I’ll be going along, if only to moan to my friends about how, “it didn’t happen that way in the book. The book was much better. You should read the book”. Yep, I’m that guy.
Read The Martian – you won’t regret it.