A friend of mine recommended that I read Andy Weir’s The Martian. From the name I was not sure what it was going to be about. Was it science fiction about an alien life form on Mars? It ends up that it is science fiction, in that it is fiction and deals greatly with science, but it is a realistic story about a human being’s fight for survival.
The story is about an astronaut named Mark Watney who is accidentally left on Mars while the rest of the crew presumes that he is dead. Watney goes on to find any means possible to survive until the next Mars landing (which is a long time away).
Much of the book is in the form of log entries by Watney. This helps the reader to really get a sense of what Watney is going through, both in the good and the bad. Weir is an effective writer in communicating the thoughts and feelings of not just Watney, but his crew and those on Earth attempting to save him.
How good is this book? Not only could I barely put it down, I was totally stressed out! When a chapter ended with a dangerous accident or unforeseen circumstances, I had to know what was going to happen next. I will confess that at certain parts I even got goosebumps. This does not normally happen.
For those who have no tolerance for profanity, you will not like the book. There is some swearing. I wouldn’t call it gratuitous profanity, rather it is the way many people speak when traumatic events take place. I was not offended by it. It is not a religious book after all.
However, reading as a person of faith, there was something that did stand out. Once people find out that Watney is still alive, they are willing to do anything to bring him home. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent and lives are put in danger. What I saw in this story was the infinite value of a human life. If only we could act on the value of people here on Earth.
I highly recommend Andy Weir’s The Martian. You do not have to be into science fiction. If you enjoyed movies like Apollo 13 and Gravity, you will love this book. It is probably one of the most enjoyable novels I have ever read.