I terrifically enjoyed reading this awesome sci-fi nail-biter and what sets The Martian apart is less its characters, though, than its technical flavor. It is very much a hard science fiction read, with science and technology firmly rooted in today’s readability. And understandable by any reader.
Our main character Watney’s narrative isn’t afraid to delve deeply into topics from orbital mechanics to life support systems to spacecraft engineering. That makes the book all the more realistic, and compelling. Sort of like MacGyver takes on the inhospitable Martian landscape and uses all the stranded and left behind equipment in unforeseen ways.
But Watney isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
We are treated by the title character (Mark Watney, a biologist / mechanical engineer / astronaut), abandoned and stranded on the surface of Mars who daily faces a struggle to survive, relying on little more than his wits and some pretty good smarts. He makes the most of the crashed remnants of his failed mission (the Habitat module and rovers, i.e.), as well as hardware left behind by previous missions (like a crashed leftover Pathfinder). He duct tape and wires together a variety of MacGyver-type solutions to both mundane, unexpected and increasingly more difficult problems. His solutions are brilliantly innovative, but things don’t always go as Watney plans. One more cliff-hanger after another. Smashingly well done!
These situations represent an incredible story of survival as Watney encounters these awful situations and more – oxygen toxicity, CO2 buildup, fire, explosion, injury, rapid loss of habitable space, compromise of suit integrity, loss of heat, lack of food and water. What next?
I really enjoyed reading this great story and have posted my review on Amazon. This one definitely belongs in your to be read pile.