The Martian by Andy Weir
Reviewed by Raul
This book should serve as a manual for survival on Mars and for any future missions to the Red Planet; it should be required reading for all crew members, administrators and staff of NASA. Weir creates not only a gripping man v. Mars survival story, but he includes all the associated minutiae that comes with space exploration: innovation, intelligence, courage, and administrative obfuscation and deniability. For a first novel, this work is relevant to the problems associated with space travel and creates a wonderfully entertaining and sarcastic character in Mark Watney.
Like a Martian Everyman, the detail Weir puts into Watney makes him someone you want to root for: he is a biologist and an engineer. It is what he does with these skills that makes him special, changing his habitat into the first Martian farm; using the rovers to get parts from earlier probes that are long dead and working hard to use them efficiently. Despite the difficulty, he finds time to comment on on his commander’s music choice ( “Disco?! ) and illustrate the various ways his trying to survive may kill him ( “I get to work with high voltage today; can’t see how anything can go wrong there!”) As the first astronaut to be cast away on Mars, it would seem easier to give up in such an unforgiving environment, but Watney’s humor sees him through the very real danger of dying on a distant planet
I would recommend this book to anyone curious about what exactly is involved in traveling to another planet and surviving on it against all the odds. Weir’s fictional approach is practical yet utilizes elements of drama that are very real to those involved in spaceflight. Traveling to Mars may become a reality sooner than we think; it would be best to keep this novel in mind because not only does Weir’s book anticipate problems, he also offers some one of a kind solutions that possibly no one has considered yet.
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