Thursday, September 4, 2014

As you can see, this plan provides many opportunities for me to die in a fiery explosion

At first I was sitting down looking at this blank page trying to come up with excuses to not write a review and not that I don't LIKE writing reviews but they certainly take more effort than NOT writing a review so. Yeah. But then I realized I have no idea what book I'm supposed to be reviewing next because I am so far behind with that, so I skimmed through my past posts and HEY it turns out the next one up is Andy Weir's The Martian and YES, I am ready to review this.

Holy shit, I loved this book.

I feel like I heard a few people talking about this book, but naturally now I can't remember most of them. Except for Sarah's review which was the point where I said "Hmm yes, perhaps I'll put this on my TBR list." And then I was flying to the West Coast and needed to make sure I had enough to read for all of the plane rides and this one was probably slightly on sale, so I snagged a Kindle copy and was ready. No, actually, I was not ready. I expected to enjoy the book (I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise) but I didn't expect to looooooove the book. I didn't expect to smack Tom in the shoulder every few minutes to say "OH MAN, THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD JUST READ THIS PART". I didn't expect to laugh out loud so many times.

Why don't I back up and actually tell you about the book? Sound like a plan?

Mark Watney is the only man on Mars. By accident. He certainly wasn't supposed to be the only person on Mars. It was never the plan to just leave him there. But then a big dust storm hits the area Mark and his fellow astronauts are working, causing mass chaos (as dust storms are wont to do, especially on other planets) including making everyone think Mark is dead. Probably because it looked like he'd been impaled and none of his vitals were showing up. The others face a tough decision to leave him behind in order to get away. GOOD NEWS! Mark isn't dead! Bad news! Everyone thinks he is so now he's the only person on Mars and no one knows he's alive and out there and he doesn't have infinity food and there are NO good bodegas on Mars so...

Mark is pretty smart. I mean, he is an astronaut and all so those guys tend to know some things. Most of the book is entries from Mark's journal, which is great cos a lot of them start with "Almost killed myself again yesterday. Whoops." And then he proceeds to tell you what happened and how he figured out a solution. I realize now writing this that sounds like it could be very boring or very tech-heavy and it's NOT. Not to say I understood every science-y thing said but I never got bogged down or overwhelmed or lost. Mark is pretty clear as to "This is the problem. These are some solutions. These are considerations for each of those. And go."

Mark is funny. Having seen some of the quotes from the book, I knew there would be humor but I didn't realize so much of the book would be funny or that it would work so well. And really, you need the humor because the other thing the book has in spades is SUSPENSE. I mean, you spend a lot of time going "Holy shit, is he going to die up there? Will anyone realize he's there? And even if they do, how the hell are they going to get him back? Man, Mars really seems to want to murder anyone that walks on its face."

The book is funny and touching and suspenseful just sooooooo so so good. I don't know exactly who the best audience for this book is. Everyone? Possibly everyone.

Gif rating:

Title quote from page 29, location 491

Weir, Andy. The Martian. Broadway Books, 2014. Kindle.