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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Martian by Andy Weir

"You should go read this RIGHT NOW!"  <--That right there is what I've been telling nearly anyone and everyone (family, friends, a few strangers....) for the last two days.  Wow!  The Martian is definitely in my Top Ten books of 2014.

The vast majority of the book is told from Mark's point of view, and all of his point of view is presented in the form of trip log entries.  You see, he's part of the third manned expedition to Mars, at some unidentified point in the future.  Shortly after his team lands on Mars, though, there's a huge sandstorm that forces them to evacuate.  The bad news:  Mark's suit was struck by a piece of debris in such a way that it knocked out his biofeedback equipment, his teammates think he's been killed, and they leave Mars without him.  The good news:  they left a large tent and all the remaining supplies that were meant to support the crew through a month-long stay on the planet.  The book opens with the "Sol 6" (Martian "day" 6) log entry:  "I'm pretty much f*cked.  That's my considered opinion.  F*cked... I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew.  I would only be "in command" of the mission if I were the only remaining person.  What do you know?  I'm in command."  This first entry really sets the tone for the whole book.  Mark is a fantastic narrator.  He's very self-aware and smart and has a very dry sense of humor, which is my favorite kind of humor.  He knows from all of his training that even if he perishes, the electronic log of his time on Mars will be picked up by the next manned mission to Mars, so he takes time nearly every day to record his activities to try to survive.  But he also knows that his situation absolutely sucks, and he's not shy about griping a little.  He rags on NASA a bit, good-naturedly, and on his crewmates.  (Turns out every crew member was allowed to bring a flashdrive of personal entertainment, which he pillages for his own entertainment and one crewmate was apparently very fond of the 1970s...)  But underneath it all, Mark is very determined.  He never gives up.  He never wastes a day laying about feeling sorry for himself.   Think MacGuyver with Mitch Hedberg's sense of humor.

So... I was impressed by Mark, and I enjoyed his dry sense of humor.  Also:  spent the entire book on the edge of my seat!  While chuckling out loud at Mark's log entries, I was so tense waiting to see if he'd make it!  I never thought I'd find a humorous suspenseful thriller.  Does that genre even exist?  About 1/3 of the way into the book, Andy Weir begins introducing the occasional segment showing what's going on at NASA when they discover that Mark is still on Mars.  This actually made me more tense!  The scientists would discuss his odds, and I also figured that the author could still reveal that Mark didn't make it if there was another point of view present.  I'm not going to give you any spoilers!  You need to be put through all the same suspense that I endured.  The author never lets Mark off the hook; it felt like he just kept getting dealt a hard hand right to the end.  Laughing while biting your nails... it's an interesting sensation.

You should go read this right now!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

  1. ive been hearing so man people rave about this as of late, i cant wait to read it! x

  2. I think this will be my Christmas present to myself. I heard there is to be some kind of screen adaptation with Matt Damon in it.