As with most of my reading material, ‘The Martian’ was recommended to me by a good friend of mine. He also recommended ‘Wool’ which I loved. Both books though, wouldn’t normally be on my radar, as they don’t fall into the fantasy/urban fantasy genre I normally stick with. However, I was aware that a movie is being made of the book, and as with pretty much every movie conversion, I like to read the book first. So I got the book.
With some books, it takes a chapter or two to get in. Some books take longer, or you have to slog through the first book to get to the better books in the series. With ‘The Martian’ I was instantly hooked, and struggled to stop reading. At 1.30am, I decided I really should sleep, and put my tablet down. I had to stop myself picking it back up 30 seconds later for “just one more log entry”.
The book covers the story of the third manned mission to Mars. Men have walked on the face of Mars twice already, but on the third trip a dangerous dust storm cuts the mission short. In the rush to board the landing module, and get back to space, one of the crew members is struck by debris, and blown away. It destroys his suit computer, and the crew believe him dead. They leave, and start the long journey home. But he’s not dead. He wakes up to find them gone, returns to the habitat, and takes stock. The mission was designed for one month, and supplies for a crew of 6 were provided. The next mission to Mars is due in 4 years. He has to work out how to survive until this happens.
I don’t like to give spoilers for books, but if you want to avoid them, stop reading at this point. Seriously. Stop now.
As I progressed further through the book, I became convinced that he wasn’t going to make it. He suffered equal amounts of good and bad luck through-out, but I was convinced that the final rescue would fail, and that the mission log being kept would be recovered by the next crew. I think I’d persuaded myself that this would happen, and tried to steel myself for it, but I was emotionally invested in this story. After spending several hundred days with Mark Watney, surviving the harsh landscape of Mars, I cheered when he launched from mars, Panicked when the ship started to shake apart, and cheered again when he was pulled from his lander by his rescue crew. The story from start to finish was a rollercoaster, and the only thing I could have asked for, was a little more story once he made it back to earth. God damnit I waas invested in his story, I wanted to hear how well he was doing afterwards!
Go read this book, seriously, I mean, look how good the film looks!