Matt Damon, The Martian

Remember my complaint about how little I enjoyed the book Outlander? The last 30 pages were like pushing a car through mud. I had to stop and rest often.

As soon as I read the last line, I immediately picked up Andy Weir’s The Martian. I saw a trailer for the movie adaptation in early June and knew I had to read it before its release to theaters in October. My general rule for films based on books is that I must read the book first. Yeah, I cheat every once in a while, but I prefer my experience starts with paper, not CGI.

Here’s a quick summary:
After a major storm on Mars, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead and abandoned by his crewmates, who start their return trip to Earth. Without communications to, well, to anyone, he’s forced to figure out how to survive with very little food until he can find a way to contact NASA. It’s not until several months into his quest for survival that NASA realizes he’s alive and embarks on a mission to save him from starvation and get him on a ship home.

My one-line review:
I loved the engaging Mark Watney and his snarky tone as well as Weir’s dedication to technical and scientific detail.

Because I know you want more:
Weir used two formats to write the book — log entries from stranded astronaut Mark Watney, and standard third person to provide the reader with perspective from his crew and NASA colleagues. I preferred the former as Watney’s impossible optimism yet unrelenting snark appealed to my emotional needs from a main character.

Weir obviously spent a great deal of energy ensuring his work was at least technically correct, and I love books that feature accurate science. They allow for learning in an entertaining environment.

Watney’s character is hilarious.

The film adaption, set for an October 2015 release, stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara. Stellar cast.*

Here’s the trailer:

Mini spoiler: From the trailer, it’s obvious the movie will significantly deviate from the book’s storyline. I strongly suggest reading the book anyway.

If you have read it or end up do reading it later, let me know if you loved or loathed it in a comment below.

Current read: Knowledge is Beautiful by David McCandless

*Yeah, I went there.

  • Brian Sirimaturos
    August 7, 2015

    I’m so glad you read this also! I think when I first mentioned to you a while back on Twitter that you’d really like it you were putting it on your list! I had no idea when I was reading it that it was going to be a movie. To my surprise one day as I was scrolling through YouTube and saw the trailer…YES! This was also my first fictional book on my new Kindle Voyage (which I know you poo poo on e-readers lol). But it was great cause I felt I couldn’t put the reader down and it was a fantastic reading experience with the Kindle. Here’s my most exciting thing about the book and hopefully the movie and you quoted perfectly, “Weir’s dedication to technical and scientific detail.” This and then a certain Star Wars movie in December OMG!

    • Allison
      August 10, 2015

      Hi Brian,
      I’m a stickler for technically and scientifically-correct detail. I’m glad I’m not alone!

      • Brian Sirimaturos
        August 11, 2015

        Agreed. Reading this I was really thinking this could be REAL and going on NOW! It’s a great blend of sci-fi and reality. Hopefully sci-fi pushes reality even more and maybe we can discuss on your blog in 20 years humans actually being on Mars!

        • Allison
          August 12, 2015

          Ha, what if blogs don’t exist in 20 years? What if we’re all beaming each other microvideos of our life updates to one another via the worldwide unlimited free WiFi?

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