**spoiler alert** The Martian is a hard book to review. I read it end to end on a hot summer Sunday. I simply could not put it down and I'm sure this**spoiler alert** The Martian is a hard book to review. I read it end to end on a hot summer Sunday. I simply could not put it down and I'm sure this amounts to something.
I give it 5 stars because it is fun, (super) easy to read and, in some ways, very interesting. It has all what you'd expect from a great sci-fi novel. Andy Wier knows how to create all these impossible situations and at the same time engineer witty solutions to solve them. Plus, all the stuff Mark Watney (the protagonist) has at his disposal does not require suspension of disbelief at all (or not too much) because the author has an explanation for each and every one of the items of the Mars expedition and, also, a believable one. In the end everything fits (more than less). Well done Mr. Wier, well done.
BUT, there are things I thought were too simple. Some things I did not quite enjoy or believe. The writing is (just) okay, the characters (even Watney) have little development or depth, the math (so readers would not run away) is too simple and, in perspective, all problems are solved out easily (there's only *real* danger during the first one hundred pages). Also, you've read/seen most of it somewhere else (I guess there's nothing new under the Red Planet) and i'd say it follows a *by the numbers* structure. All these seems terrible, I know, but it is not enough to undermine the rest of the book. It is just a feeling I got just after finishing it.
To me, the weakest part is towards the end, or mostly the second half. I think that it could have been a worked on a bit more. You see, there's this menace of some heavy shit coming towards Watney, and suddenly it all resolves to... well, nothing at all. I'm talking about the dust storm during the final journey. Disappointed.
The ending is really intense and quite satisfying even though there's this whole part, the voyage back to Earth, that makes me wonder why it was left out. Maybe it is not really part of The Martian story per se but I'm sure that it was not a path of roses, mainly because the Hermes ship was already kind of overused, don't you think? I don't know. I was expecting a little bit more.
Anyway, I'm sure this book will translate perfectly into a movie. I can't wait for it!
If I were to be fair this book would get four stars but I now that years from now I'll remember the good parts and the fun I had reading it.
I would say that this book is a 'demo' of what VALIS would become. They are quite similar but also vastly different. This one, for example, has a 'reaI would say that this book is a 'demo' of what VALIS would become. They are quite similar but also vastly different. This one, for example, has a 'real' macabre history behind it, while VALIS is more of a Philosophical (with a capital P) book.
All in all I enjoyed VALIS way more, just because I like books about Ideas. This one has most of what VALIS talked about but in a different perspective. Quite enjoyable anyway.
Also, let's face it, Philip K. Dick was a beast (specially) at the end of his career.
4,97 to this one, taking into account that VALIS would have 6 stars if it were possible.