I few days ago, I wrote about me starting to read The Martian, the hyped sci-fi novel by Andy Weir. Since opening up the Kindle app on my iPad, I have had a hard time putting the book down, and this is probably the fastest I have ever finished a novel of this size. The story is in its nutshell quite simple and straight-forward and here is the Goodreads summary:
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?
It has been a true joy reading the book and what makes it special is the insane amount of attention to the slightest of details1 and the thoroughly researched science, which according to people who know about this, is quite accurate. The science is also what makes to book feel so authentic and makes you feel for Mark as he does his best to handle problems that occur on the Martian surface. I like the way Andy Weir makes the reader feel the isolation that Mark is subjected to and as the book progresses, the feeling of isolation is constantly increasing.
I am not alone in enjoying this book — it has been receiving amazing reviews from everyone and everywhere, and there is even a movie adaptation starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott coming out soon2.
Since the book contains a lot of science, physics and math, its appeal to the tech community is natural. Andy Weir has been invited to Google to talk about his book, and this has luckily been made available on Youtube.
The next interview is with Adam Savage as part of The Talking Room, where he talks about the research that went into creating the book, the portrayal of astronauts in space and the upcoming movie.
If you are reading one book this summer, let it be The Martian.