Can I just say how surprised I was by how much I enjoyed this book? I mean, I knew it was supposed to be good, they made a movie out of it, the concept was interesting but I was utterly unprepared for just how much I would love the Martian! For those who may have been living under a rock the Martian is the story of Mark Watney, who has just been stranded on Mars. Alone. Injured. Assumed dead. With minimal supplies and no hope of anyone else returning for four years. In the words of Mark, he is f**ked. The movie stars Matt Damon (Maaaaaaatt Damon *in a Team America voice*).
What really shocked me was how laugh out loud funny the book was. I was embarrassing myself all over the place reading this in public (thankfully just my local coffee shop, who are used to me turning up each weekend with a new book in hand). Memorable quotes, such as my personal favourite “My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain” were rife. I lost it at the Aquaman reference. For those of you who have read it, you know what I’m talking about and for those that haven’t…you will. Mark was hilarious and sarcastic and I couldn’t get enough.
I guess what also really helped was that I have virtually no expectations or knowledge of the plot, other than the being stranded on Mars part (duh!). I loved the format of the book with Mark essentially writing diary entries each day or “SOL” which took me ages to figure out what they stood for. Ahem, Google may have solved that one for me. The voice of Mark sound so realistic and conversational I found it pleasurable to read. The out of nowhere narration of what was happening back on Earth kicked in and further on perspective from the rest of Mark’s crew. This added even more to the story for me and I enjoyed the colourful characters that were introduced and the different aspects to the plot.
Now I’m no scientist at all but I loved the scientific explanations that Mark uses to save himself. I have no idea how plausible they actually are, however, coming from my not very scientific background it all SOUNDED pretty plausible and realistic to me, which I appreciated as it makes the whole plot more believable. I was told going in to this book that it was pretty heavy on the science and reasoning behind it and that I was unlikely to enjoy it unless I was scientifically minded. This was completely false, the explanations were simple enough to follow and realistically it is not essential that you 100% take it all in to understand the story. If someone has said this to you I urge you to not let that stop you from giving the book a go.
Overall, I loved the Martian. 100% will read it again and highly recommend it to anyone. The plot was intriguing, the characters, both peripheral and Mark were rich and entertaining. In fact I think Mark Watney has joined the rank of some of my favourite literary characters. I give the Martian five spaceships that probably could have helped Mark return to Earth, but really would have make the story significantly less interesting. My only word of caution is do not watch the movie immediately after the book, give yourself a breather because they are very similar and I found the movie less entertaining as I had only just lived all of it in the book.