Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

I don't do many book reviews on this blog, but The Martian by Andy Weir was good enough that it warrants one.

The plot is a simple one: Astronaut Mark Watney is abandoned on Mars after a dust storm forces the rest of his crew to abort their mission, and an accident occurs during the evacuation which makes the rest of the crew think he's dead. Watney wakes up to find himself all alone on an unforgiving planet.

Most of the mission's equipment is still present on the surface, but with only enough supplies to last a few months. Watney's only hope is to survive long enough for the next Mars mission to arrive... four years later, and thousands of kilometers away.

Fortunately Watney has an upbeat, optimistic personality, he's a botanist and a mechanical engineer, and he's undergone ridiculous amounts of training for the mission. All of this, coupled with Watney's "never say die" determination, allow him to tackle each apparently impossible problem one at a time.  In additional to the long range goal of survival until rescue, Watney has to deal with all the things that can normally go wrong, from catastrophic decompression to more dust storms.

I started this book on a Friday, and would have finished it in a single sitting if I wasn't a dad with two energetic children who constantly want my attention.  Even so, I was done by Sunday.  The story was so engaging that I found myself dreaming about being on Mars.  The weather was nice this past weekend, and whenever I went to open a window, I hesitated for a moment, worried I might suddenly depressurize the house. :)

I cannot recommend this book enough.  It's available on Amazon as an ebook (available now) or a paperback (on pre-order). Get it.

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