Book review time! Yay!!! Books are great. But what’s more great than reading books? Getting to talk to the author in person about it afterward, and that’s something I was extremely fortunate to experience recently.
It is for that reason, and also because I wanted an excuse to re-share my selfie with Andy
Weir, that I decided to write a lil “review” of The Martian.
One tidbit about me is that I like to go into things blind. Meaning I like knowing as little as possible about the story when I go into a book, TV series or movie. I’ll watch movie trailers, but I usually cut them off in the middle. I don’t watch horror trailers at all because I feel like they show you too much and then you’re just waiting for it all to happen.
All I knew about The Martian before opening the book was that there’s a movie based on it and that it’s set in outer space. I personally love movies and outer space so I was like, “That sounds rad!” But, I also warned myself that it might be really boring sci-fi (sorry), and hoped for the best.
Right away, on the first page even, I realized I would not have to worry about it being boring. Andy had crafted Mark Watney, a character that is perfectly relatable to me. A character that, in his first two lines, made me root for him simply because he isn’t afraid to use the word ‘fuck’… like, a lot. I mean, why would he be afraid? He’s stranded on Mars talking to a machine not knowing if anyone will ever even hear it. I don’t even think Commander Lewis would have the discipline to hold back in that situation.
I also loved that Andy decided to beat the crap out of Watney, as any good author should, with one sudden catastrophe after another. What makes each problem especially engaging is that Watney explains it using actual science (I presume). It’s essentially a series of word problems that he has to figure out to survive. Can you imagine if your life depended on your next physics exam score? To be honest, I didn’t always understand what he was talking about, but I definitely believed him.
And I believed the other characters too, even the women! That’s right, a guy wrote a sci-fi book with realistic female characters that actually exists on this planet! In fact, I made it a point to thank Andy for his portrayal of women as actual human beings. He said that he did receive some criticism over a harsh line uttered by Anne Havens which I, being an avid harsh language user myself, found perfectly relatable.
Anyway, is this even a book review? I’m supposed to say whether I loved it or hated it overall, right? Let me put it this way: it is so good that I didn’t want to watch the movie afterward because I felt like it couldn’t possibly live up to what I had imagined while reading. Side note: I did watch the movie, and I loved it.