Book Review: The Martian, by Andy Weir

Overall Impressions

This is intended to be a review of the book, but I can't help but mentioning the movie adaptation as well. I watched the movie before I read the book, and really enjoyed it, but kept hearing that the book was even better. After reading the book, I have to agree, though I rewatched the movie with Linda last night (she recently read it too) and we both agreed that while the book was better, the movie was great as well.

The plot is simple and doesn't give away anything that will spoil things: a future astronaut is on a mission on Mars, when disaster strikes, causing the rest of the astronauts to believe him dead and leaving him all alone. It's a survival tale.

I was delighted to be able to so easily read this out of my local library via ebook. At the time of writing this, we're in the middle (hopefully nearing the end?) of the COVID-19 isolation / quarantine period. I didn't have to wait at all to get it, got to enjoy it on my Kindle, didn't leave my house, and it was completely free. Ebooks from the library are fantastic.

The Good

I love how the author went to such great lengths to back up everything with accurate science and engineering principles. He knows better than to start dumping differential equations and such at the reader, but gives them enough of the background on things to make everything seam totally real. It really helps to let the reader appreciate just how much we take for granted living on Earth, and how much different things really are when things like atmosphere and gravity are as different as they'd be on Mars.

The characters are all fun, and while I haven't ever worked for NASA, JPL, etc, I found them all to be real.

It's not long - I blasted through it in about 24 hours.

I enjoyed how the movie held as closely to the book as it did. There were many parts where the dialog was lifted directly from the book and executed well.

When I first read the line "Rich Purnell is a steely-eyed missile man." I liked it - but I didn't get it. I then researched it on the internet and discovered the backstory of that line. Bravo.

The Bad

I'm really gonna have to dig here because I really liked it. Maybe it could have been longer?

As far as the movie is concerned, it did vary from the book in a few ways that were a bit annoying, but I sorta get it as it was already a longish movie and something had to give.

Final Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed both the book and the movie. 5/5 on my scale which I don't know if I've even done before. Just fantastic.