Thomas's Reviews > The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir
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2018505
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it was ok
bookshelves: science-fiction

How many exclamation points can you shove into one book?

Time to start off 2015 with an unpopular opinion: I did not like how Andy Weir wrote The Martian. He writes science well, and his background in research and technical prose shows, but by page 100 the style of the book got repetitive. Watney discovers a problem. Watney worries for a sentence or two. Watney comes up with a solution. Watney enacts the solution with minimal struggle. Watney celebrates. Rinse and repeat.

I also have no idea how Watney even operates as a character. His way-too-frequent exclamations (yay! yay! yay!), his somewhat offensive commentary (please do not ever use "rape" in a joking context), and his lack of introspection left me bewildered. His rampant optimism felt unrealistic in the context of his situation, and Weir developed his other characters in a similar one-dimensional, stereotypical, and disappointing way. I kept asking: does anyone feel traumatized by this at all? Do any of you suffer from any psychological repercussions of having a teammate or a coworker or an admired astronaut left behind to die? Even the dialogue came across as too-good-to-be-true, with every conversation ending on a neat note that made me roll my eyes.

I have no doubt that the movie of this book will succeed, or at least it will feel more natural than its source. My overall thoughts on The Martian center on its lack of introspection and repetitive descriptions of action, its disconcerting lack of characterization, and the drought of struggle each of the characters underwent. Watney faces a difficult situation, but I at no point in my entire reading thought he would suffer, based on his Pollyanna tone. However, I would still recommend this story to those who enjoy sci-fi or find its synopsis intriguing; my review rests in the minority.
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message 1: by 東星 (new)

東星 Great review! I was looking into reading this book... But I may not afterall. I'm always put off by repetitive style and unrealistic situations/characters. And on top of that, a rape joke? Thanks for the thoughtful review!


Martin I felt the same way. Thanks for this review.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

If it has that many exclamation points, maybe my sister wrote it.


Thomas T.S. wrote: "Great review! I was looking into reading this book... But I may not afterall. I'm always put off by repetitive style and unrealistic situations/characters. And on top of that, a rape joke? Thanks f..."

Thank you, T.S.! Yeah, the hype led me to read it, but despite how much so many others loved The Martian I still cannot recommend it without feeling dishonest.

Martin wrote: "I felt the same way. Thanks for this review."

I always appreciate the solidarity of someone who relates to my opinion; thank you for commenting, Martin.

Lianne wrote: "If it has that many exclamation points, maybe my sister wrote it."

Ha ha, even if your sister did not write the book, maybe she would enjoy it?


Chris528735 I just finished reading and generally agree with your review. Not a lot of character depth. Still worth a read, but I was a bit disappointed.


Thomas Agreed, Chris. Perhaps for sci-fans worth a read, but Weir could have included a lot more character development.


message 7: by Erika (new)

Erika Donald I thought the book would change after a bit, but it kept going on and on and on...I gave up.

yay!


Thomas Glad you got out before it consumed too much of your time, Erika!


Rudy Thank you!!!


message 10: by Kat (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kat Yes, thank you. I cannot figure out why people like this book so much, but you've hit on many of the reason I disliked it.


Bookhuw Very well said, sir. It seemed to me like Weir forgot to write about the most interesting and striking premise of the scenario (the overwhelming psychological dread anyone would surely feel), but the majority of the reviews on Goodreads don't seem to be in agreement.


Leslie I completely agree. I can't believe how little tension and suspense there was in a book with a guy who's stranded on Mars and has very little chance of survival.


Nevermore I agree with your review, the only thing I would add is that it struck me as extremely immature and suited for a young audience. I am not sure exactly why I thought that but it might be that Mark's character was so unformed and his emotions so shallow I had a difficult time seeing him as an adult (apologies to all the young, most of whom do have characters and complex emotions much of which does not make it into YA lit. but that is another comment).


Thomas Rudy wrote: "Thank you!!!"

You are welcome. :)

Kat wrote: "Yes, thank you. I cannot figure out why people like this book so much, but you've hit on many of the reason I disliked it."

Thank you for reading, commenting, and for your solidarity!

Leslie wrote: "I completely agree. I can't believe how little tension and suspense there was in a book with a guy who's stranded on Mars and has very little chance of survival."

Yes. You can predict that he will survive again and again, in a way that limits the tension of the story and any possible repercussions of his actions.

Nevermore wrote: "I agree with your review, the only thing I would add is that it struck me as extremely immature and suited for a young audience. I am not sure exactly why I thought that but it might be that Mark's..."

I agree with your comment, and I would venture to add that a lot of the characters in YA lit have even more emotional depth than Watney. Glad to know that the shallowness of his thought process perturbed other readers than just me.


Kristina Kuz I completely agree! I was going to write a review but yours pretty much sums it up.


message 16: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Wood Completely agree on this. I LOVE science and the mathematical/scientific research that went into this had to be staggering, but after the first couple of hours in, you start to grow bored. Completely nailed it: Watney has problem, Watney solves problem with a emphatically scientific/formulaic solution aaaaaand.... there's another problem. It was a very one dimensional read, and I'm still not sure if I'll finish the last third.


Selma Zanina I agree with you on all this. And you know what? I want to see the movie. I'm curious how they will alter the plot because to my mind the book is lacking excitement and thriller in so many ways. If it's simply adapted to the big screen as is, it'll be a major failure.


message 18: by Eric (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eric Bruen Summed up my feelings exactly. I think this will be one rare occasion where the movie will be better than the book.


message 19: by Victor (new)

Victor You've convinced me to not read this book. I just don't think I'd like it and it seems overhyped.


David Your review is spot-on. It was a good story, but overhyped.


Coatesj Yes. I am glad you mention the overuse of exclamation marks. Marks logs, which were for NASA, had the maturity of a 13 year old boy and the punctuation of the text messages of a 15 year old girl.


message 22: by Burd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Burd I haven't seen such an inordinate amount of exclamation marks since I read the Hardy Boys Mysteries.


Laura Shields Great review, one that finally made sense to me. I hate hating a book that everyone loves (because I must be doing it to be cool right?) but I just cant get myself to like this book. Way too repetitive, characters are undeveloped, the protagonist acts like hes a 13 year old boy playing a game on his xbox, not an adult whose potentially going to die, is stranded on mars, and who all of humanity and loved ones thinks is dead. I felt like it was a good solid mix of a science text book and the dialect between tween xbox gamers.


message 24: by Amit (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amit A review I completely agree with. I was really finding it hard to review this book -- mainly because I liked it but something did not feel right. You have captured that perfectly. This made me add what I felt clearly (link, if interested). Thank you and good job!


Rachel Y nice review


Rachel Y and thank you for calling him out on that rape joke


message 27: by Greg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Greg Thomas, I agree, two star rating. I got the feeling that the author wrote as many things as possible that could go wrong and then wrote only to that list.


message 28: by Nat (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nat Exactly.


Nathan Ayers The Martian fails to show the human experience and that makes sense, it sometimes seems like Weir wrote the math/ science material and he let one of his children write the emotional material. I agree with you that it does get annoying with how he reacts to the situations, and you would expect the character to be a whole lot more serious/dramatic, but I agree with your review.


Jaden Kolbe I see where you are coming from about Watney's humor. But it's what makes him him. He is very energetic and funny. I don't think you should bash his sense of humor but I do respect your opinion on it.


message 31: by Mary (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mary Narkiewicz I agree.. I was so relieved when I finished it.. Too much science, too many repairs, ideas, too much Mars.. I see most people just adore the book, but I was not one of them.


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