In ‘The Martian’, an astronaut faces death on planet far from home

1st edition of The Martian on Wikipedia Commons - courtesy of Andy Weir

1st edition of ‘The Martian’ on Wikipedia Commons – courtesy of Andy Weir

Have you ever thought about life on Mars? The book The Martian by Andy Weir is a captivating science fiction novel that proves it possible. The book was first self-published online on Weir’s blog, but quickly picked up by a publishing company. Only a year later, the film adaptation was released. 

The book follows Mark Watney, an astronaut and botanist. As a dust storm threatens the safety of him and his crew, Watney is in a hurry to get off the planet. But that doesn’t happen when an antenna is torn loose, impaling Watney through the helmet and disabling his only means of communication. He is knocked unconscious and separated from his crew. A search ensues, but Watney is dead, and with the ship dangerously at risk of tipping, the crew is forced to leave the search – and Watney – stranded on Mars. But Watney isn’t dead. Yet. 

The Martian is technologically accurate, and the research that went into the book is clearly visible. Weir doesn’t do any wishful thinking. If something happens, there’s scientific fact to back it up. 

Watney is resourceful, but not all-powerful. He messes up, like when he accidently drilled through an important bit, coming dangerously close to destroying his only chance at getting home.That on its own is a strong point, but together with the constant danger that comes with being stranded on Mars, it’s clear that Weir has a talent for keeping up the suspense. 

On Goodreads, The Martian was voted top sci-fi book of the year. It also shares the name of a species of Australian bush tomato, Solanum watneyi. The book was translated into 45+ different languages. Those translations have also won multiple major awards, a testament to its popularity. 

I would entirely recommend this book to any fans of science fiction. It was a book I really enjoyed, and hopefully, you’ll enjoy it too.