It's every persons worse nightmare to get stranded or lost, but what if you add a few thousand kilometers to the nearest livable space and the possibility of rescue is next to zero, oh and add the fact that you're the only person on the planet in a habit stocked with supplies to last just 31 days, and you're in Mars. Not a very cheery or optimistic statistic, but thats how it is in Andy Weir's novel "The Martian", a literal page turner (I didn't get enough sleep last night just trying to get closer to the end) and edge of your seat sci-fi thriller.
Meet Mark Watney, intrepid astronaut and the 18th person to set foot on Mars and he's all alone. Stranded after getting hit by an antenna during one of Mars' sand storms he is left with only his Botany degree and astronaut training to survive for the next four years. Along the way he manages to extend his supplies to last him for 4 years, do some Martian exploration to recover the Pathfinder probe sent back in the 20th century, and finally reestablish but later on lose his connection with NASA and Earth.
It might sound like a bleak premise for a book and it might also seem boring, how can someone write about the only human on earth for the next 300 pages. While much of the novel is devoted to Mark Watney's logs, chapters would also highlight NASA's struggles to get him back home and also those of his crewmates who think about going back for him. The writing is very light, given that Andy Weir created Watney to be as funny as possible, his logs are peppered with funny anecdotes of his experiences on Mars.
From the onset, reading The Martian showed a lot of well researched scientific and mathematical facts. The book is literally peppered with basic mathematical equations and scientific jargon. For someone who is averse to Math, I didn't really read to much into it since the numbers didn't make any sense to me. Even with all of these jargons mixed in, the book was still exciting. At first, I thought this book would be a bore given that Mark Whitney is the only character, but his experiences make it really thrilling and so personal.
All in all, The Martian is a fascinating and exciting book, there wasn't a dull moment, each chapter was loaded with another problem or another interesting conundrum. It was really fun to just spend hours trying to find out next. With the movie adaptation hitting theaters next week (October 2), I can't wait to see how Matt Damon portrays Mark Watney and how the entire movie pans out with the way Andy Weir wrote it.
My name is Alfonso your nerdy history teacher, bookworm and lover of all things cultural and exciting. You can find me in a weekend market, in a bookshop, or eating in Japanese restos during the weekends.