The Martian - A Book Review

Coming back from Colorado last week I picked up a copy of The Martian by Andy Weir. What a great read. I'm going to mix things up this week and attempt some kind of book review.

Those who've been following along with this blog since the early days (way back in 2014...) will know that I'm a little bit of a Mars buff. A previous post recounts my joy at having the Red, Green, Blue Mars Trilogy restored to its full glory on the book shelf.

Language Alert

The Martian is a planetary survival story of amazing depth. A can't recall Kim Stanley Robinson putting any of his First One Hundred in such peril on the hostile planet. The story has plenty of twists and turns, but they genuinely surprise you. Sometimes I found myself wondering how certain things played out without any incident, and surprised by equal measure at some of the mundane things that managed to go wrong.

The personality of Watney jumps out of the book on the first page, and somehow it's those few lines that tell you that he's got what it takes to survive a few more days than you'd think - at least as many as the page count threatens.

Watney is an idol for any of those who love to tinker, crunch some numbers and break things to see how they work. This is a book for those people who've fallen in love the comforting glow of a green power LED that you haven't seen for days. It's also a book for those who've suffered the heart-ache after you try to fiddle with something you shouldn't, and, moments later, blow up the CPU.


Not a long book by any means: I managed to devour the first half of it in the two hour flight from Denver to Houston. The trip went by in a flash and I'll admit, for the first time ever, a kind of disappointment that the flight was over. I couldn't wait to get home, find a quiet spot, and keep reading.

The right kind of cover

Looking for some kind of cover image from my collection I realized how perfectly adapted our planet Earth is to supporting life. I wanted to find a photo in my collection which captured the sanguine desolation of the martian landscape.

My recent trips through Utah and Arizona provided plenty of fodder. Look closely and you'll see plenty of plant life - betraying my photo as not-from-out-of-this-world. I kept it in however, to emphasize just how rich Earth is relative to Mars - so much so that even when you're trying to take a photo of a rock you get photo-bombed by some organic life.

Plans for October

I'm waiting for the movie now. A few trailers have popped up and it looks great. Ridley Scott is heading things up as director. With movies like Alien, Prometheus and Blade Runner behind him my bets are that The Martian is going to be pretty amazing.

Want a Copy?

Apparently you can download this version for free - so long as you don't try to sell it.