Sara's Reviews > The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir
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Actual Rating: 4.5 out of 5

After loving the film adaptation, I had a feeling I'd enjoy Andy Weir's novel as well - and in the end, "enjoy" was an understatement. :D

I think most everyone has heard of The Martian's premise by now, so I'll be brief. Mark Watney, an astronaut / botanist / mechanical engineer, is stranded on Mars after his crew is forced to evacuate while believing he's dead. Now, Mark must restore communications with NASA and use his skills and science knowledge to survive on the frigid, desert-like planet until he can rescued - which, of course, is a very big "If."

The Martian's greatest strength as a novel? Its narrative voice. Weir writes Mark's perspective through mission log entries, chronicling every mishap and victory in (so to speak) Mark's own words. It's almost as if Mark is speaking directly to the reader; and from his choice of words and the attitudes conveyed, it's clear this guy is smart, resourceful, relentlessly determined, and so, SO witty. Seriously. I lost track of how often Mark's sarcasm and random expletives and quips made me laugh out loud. He's also an accurate portrayal of how astronauts should operate in crisis situations. This article at (written by a former astronaut - link: sheds more light on how Mark's conduct reflects the mindset that astronauts are trained to have should they encounter disaster while in space. And while the commentary is solely on the Martian film, it's relevant to the book as well, because Mark behaves the same way in both mediums.

Apart from that, The Martian is somewhat omniscient, giving readers the big picture of the massive rescue effort via NASA and Mark's Earth-bound crewmates. The scientific descriptions get pretty in-depth (which caused non-engineer me to skim those paragraphs), but they're worded simply enough that most anyone would understand what's happening. Other descriptions such as setting and character appearance were almost non-existent. That may sound odd, but for The Martian it works because it allows readers to imagine those bits on their own. Otherwise, the additional details would have bogged down an already highly detailed story.

I could go on, but my point is that The Martian is an awesome novel, and the film is one of the most faithful adaptations I've ever seen. If you loved the book, go see the movie. And if you loved the movie, read the book. ;)
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Quotes Sara Liked

Andy Weir
“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”
Andy Weir, The Martian

Andy Weir
“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do.”
Andy Weir, The Martian

Reading Progress

September 22, 2015 – Shelved
September 22, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
January 23, 2016 – Started Reading
January 23, 2016 –
page 0
0.0% "*starts flailing and squealing even though she hasn't actually started reading it yet* XD"
January 24, 2016 –
page 12
2.76% "This book has the best three three opening lines I've ever read (and I don't mean that sarcastically - I honestly love it):\n \n "I'm pretty much f$%#ed. That's my considered option. F$%#ed."\n \n XD \n \n Apart from that, I'm not very far in right now, but it's as entertaining as I'd hoped it would be."
January 25, 2016 –
page 77
17.7% "I think it's interesting that there isn't a lot of description (setting or physical appearances) in this book. And not for a bad reason. It's like Weir allows you to picture the characters, their offices, and so on.\n \n Of course, I saw the movie before I read the book, so I'm cheating and recalling the people and places I saw then to "fill in the blanks." *lol*"
January 25, 2016 –
page 157
36.09% "Mark Watney's log entries are an awesome example of narrative "voice." You know this guy is smart, resourceful, optimistic, and funny as hell just from those sections of text. I love it. :D\n \n Also, this line made me laugh so hard, I bet my neighbors in our condo building heard me. Not because of the science half (it's scary), but the humor half: \n \n "If the RTG ever broke open, it would kill me to death."\n \n XD"
January 27, 2016 –
page 231
53.1% "Uh oh. Two really big problems happened. :S"
January 28, 2016 –
page 300
68.97% "I love this book so far. :D And since I saw the film first, I'm comparing the two versions as I read along... and the film is so true to the book, not just character-wise, but plot-wise, too. \n \n Man. I miss the movie. I need to see it again - after I finish reading the book, of course!"
January 29, 2016 –
page 365
83.91% "It's final rover-trek time! Cue the William Tell Overture! (I'm pretty sure Mark would appreciate that as its "theme song." XD )"
January 30, 2016 – Finished Reading
February 2, 2016 – Shelved as: all-time-favorites
February 2, 2016 – Shelved as: male-protagonists
February 2, 2016 – Shelved as: well-researched
February 2, 2016 – Shelved as: science-fiction
February 2, 2016 – Shelved as: funny-reads
February 2, 2016 – Shelved as: narrative-voice-love
February 2, 2016 – Shelved as: books-with-great-film-adaptations

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Rae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rae I've been wanting to read this for ages! Unfortunately, I saw the movie first, (I really wanted to read the book first, but then my family bought it and wanted to watch it so it was a rock and a hard place.) So glad you enjoyed it so much!

Sara I saw the movie first, too, mostly because it seemed like the kind of movie that would look amazing on the big screen. (And it did!) So I read this knowing everything that was going to happen... But that didn't spoil my enjoyment of it one bit. And apart from a couple events that were missing (I have a feeling it was due to time constraints, and I accept that), the movie is incredibly faithful to the plot and the characters - especially Mark Watney. ;)

So, if you enjoyed the movie, you'll love the book, too!

message 3: by Rae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rae *squees* That's great news! While watching the movie I imagined the book is phenomenal; probably a very interior one in terms of the main character, I bet? Considering all of his time spent alone. I agree; the movie itself was phenomenal. It truthfully made me even more excited to read the book, so I'll have to bump it up on my list a bit!

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