Carmen's Reviews > The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir
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did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, science-fiction, traditionally-published, he-says, american-author, published2012
Recommended for: Engineers

How can I say this to you? This is one of the most boring books I've ever had the displeasure of reading.

I was really looking forward to reading this book. Everyone was so enthusiastic about it. I was saving it for myself as a little treat.

By page 27 I knew I was in trouble.

Here's the book:

LOG ENTRY:
I'm fucked.

Oh, wait! I have an idea!

Science, science science. Then if I science science science, science.

Great! [Insert lame joke here].


Now imagine this repeating 1,000 times.

Watney's stranded on Mars - there's no one there for him to interact with. Also, he's apparently a person with no human feelings. Seriously. There's no doubt, worry, fear, anger or despair - even though he's stranded on a desolate wasteland and his death is imminent.

Weir doesn't even make an ATTEMPT to channel human emotions at any point in the novel. I don't know whether this is because he is a terrible author, struggles with lack of feeling himself, or, what I most suspect: that this is an extremely intelligent man's daydream about how someone could survive on Mars and NOT a novel. The book is like a science textbook with random lame jokes sprinkled on top. NO - more as if someone had asked Weir to write a thesis on how to survive on Mars, and yet allowed him to throw in as many "fucks" and lame jokes as he wanted. Whichever it is, it wasn't what I would consider a novel.

Then, you have Earth. What is going on there? We have multiple people on Earth. Perhaps these people will provide us with the dialogue and human emotion I'm craving.

Mmmmm-mmmmm, nope. This is how Earth goes:

PERSON A: Science science science.

PERSON B: Well, my theory is science science.

PERSON C: We'll have to do science science science.

PERSON A: Fuck you!

PERSON B and C: Working for the government sucks, ha ha ha.


That's it. That's the riveting emotion you get here. Not even a semblance of any human relationships or interactions that aren't based on scientific discussions.

I was attached to and cared about exactly zero people in this book. I didn't care if Watney lived or died. I didn't care if the people on Earth discovered he was alive or not. I didn't care. Nothing Weir wrote made me feel anything for anyone in this novel.

I'm willing to bet that Weir is a very intelligent man and a great software engineer. But he's NOT a great author. This book was horrible. I could have easily and happily DNFed at any point in this book. The only reason I made myself finish it was so that I could write this review and express my opinion as someone who had read the whole thing.

Tl;dr - Boring, bloodless and completely devoid of any humanity. A textbook with some jokes scattered here and there. I can completely understand why my engineering friends IRL are going apeshit for this book, however, it holds no appeal at all for me.

The movie, even if it sucks, will most likely be 10x better than this. There's no possible way it could be worse.

Famous last words, Carmen.

LOL We'll see.
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Reading Progress

February 28, 2014 – Shelved
September 29, 2015 – Started Reading
September 29, 2015 –
page 27
6.98% "Please tell me the whole book is not like this. I might not be able to get through it."
September 30, 2015 –
page 69
17.83% "I'm fucked.\n \n Oh, wait! I have an idea!\n \n Science, science science. Then if I science science science, science.\n \n Great! [Insert lame joke here].\n \n - Wash rinse repeat x1,000"
September 30, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 109 (109 new)


message 1: by BrokenTune (new)

BrokenTune Thank you for confirming my expectations of the book. I might still pick it up in the far-away future, but only if stranded in outer space with not much else to do.


Carmen LOL Well, I hope you are never stranded in outer space, BrokenTune! :D


Andy YES!!!!! I am not alone xxx


Carmen Yes! You are not alone! :)


Andy Its SOOOOO overrated its beyond believe, its almost reached hysteria levels.

You realise you'll be ostracised now :D


Carmen You realise you'll be ostracised now :D

Well, that's okay, hopefully I'll be equipped to deal with it. :D I've gotten slammed and trolled on so many reviews, what's one more? ;)

Its SOOOOO overrated its beyond believe, its almost reached hysteria levels.

Definitely one of the most overrated books of the decade.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) Carmen, I couldn't agree more with your review. This was a "Meh!" book from nearly the start and I completely ran out of gas trying to read it about midway. I'm just sorry I spent the money downloading it to my Kindle.


Carmen Christopher, you are in good company. I feel like a lot of people wasted their money on this. We can all commiserate together. :D


message 9: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Chaikin "I could have easily and happily DNFed at any point in this book. The only reason I made myself finish it was so that I could write this review and express my opinion as someone who had read the whole thing."

Funny. Nice criticism, and definitely not your book.

Do people really "troll" personal reviews here?


message 10: by Donna (new)

Donna I'm so sorry this book turned out to be a dud, especially after your losing streak with books lately. It's been on my list of books to read. I'm finally going to remove it. I like to feel something for the characters I read about, plus I don't like too much science in my science fiction, not at the expense of the story. Many other people have felt about it as you do, Carmen. I hope they read your review and let you know this.


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 30, 2015 06:15AM) (new)

Thanks for your review Carmen. I am sorry the booked sucked! Now I am glad I held off on reading it, as I likely would not like it very much either. I might still see the movie though because, hey, Matt Damon. He could recite the phone book and make it sound interesting. ;)


Kandice I'm bummed you didn't like it, but am so excited to see the movie Friday. Even though we disagree I always love your reviews and this was no exception!


 Charlie - A Reading Machine That's a shame but honestly what did you expect from a book about a man stranded on Mars? Some romance?


Markus Ah, what an interesting review, Carmen. I must admit I love dissenting opinions about mega-hyped books.


Carmen Daniel wrote: ""I could have easily and happily DNFed at any point in this book. The only reason I made myself finish it was so that I could write this review and express my opinion as someone who had read the wh..."

Yes, you should see some of the comments I get when I don't like a popular romance novel, Daniel. o.O

Thank you so much! :)


Carmen Donna wrote: "I'm so sorry this book turned out to be a dud, especially after your losing streak with books lately. It's been on my list of books to read. I'm finally going to remove it. I like to feel something..."

I just really didn't know what to expect, Donna. On one hand, some people loved it, raved about it, and posted funny updates from it. On the other hand, there were a core of people who were saying it wasn't that great.

I was sure I'd fall into the "love it" camp. I wanted so badly to like it. o.O

Yeah, definitely didn't break my streak.

I might go see the film.


Carmen Lisa Ann wrote: "Thanks for your review Carmen. I am sorry the booked sucked! Now I am glad I held off on reading it, as I likely would not like it very much either. I might still see the movie though because, hey,..."

I like Matt Damon, not sure about the phone book, though. :) ;) :D I can only truly say that about men whose voice makes me tremble: like Vin Diesel, Ving Rhames, or Liam Neeson! ;) :) :D My favorite Matt Damon films are the Bourne films. :) So good!

If we do end up seeing the film, we can dish about it! :D

I was "saving" this book and it ended up terrible, so I can't really recommend you pick it up. The film will probably be ten times better.


message 18: by Caroline (new)

Caroline I didn't read your review yet, Carmen, but I saw Daniel's comment in my feed and wanted to add that yes, Daniel, the trolling can be really bad, which is why I have the comments feature on my reviews turned off to non-friends. :/


Carmen Kandice wrote: "I'm bummed you didn't like it, but am so excited to see the movie Friday. Even though we disagree I always love your reviews and this was no exception!"

Oh, are you seeing the film, Kandice!? How exciting! I hope it's good!

Thanks for being so sweet, I'll have to check out your review! :)


Carmen Desislava wrote: "I understand you, Carmen. I also have struggles with this book. This would have made an excellent short story in my opinion. It was a good story but the writing put me off (full of technical jargon..."

Yes, those are exactly my feelings, Desislava. We agree! And you're right, this probably would have been a better short story.


Carmen Charlie - A Reading Machine wrote: "That's a shame but honestly what did you expect from a book about a man stranded on Mars? Some romance?"

I expected some human feelings. He was just sarcastic and cheerful the whole time, even though he was in a really tough situation. There was absolutely no emotion or even real "fiction" in this. It was as if a person had asked Weir to write a thesis on how to survive on Mars, and yet allowed him to throw in as many "fucks" and lame jokes as he wanted.


Carmen Markus wrote: "Ah, what an interesting review, Carmen. I must admit I love dissenting opinions about mega-hyped books."

Aw, thank you, Markus! :) :D


Carmen Caroline wrote: "I didn't read your review yet, Carmen, but I saw Daniel's comment in my feed and wanted to add that yes, Daniel, the trolling can be really bad, which is why I have the comments feature on my revie..."

I'll look forward to talking with you about the book after you read it, Caroline! :)

And yeah, trolls. No fun. :(


Franco  Santos Great review, Carmen. I agree with a lot of what you say.


Kelly (and the Book Boar) OMG this review is great! (Note to trolls: Most people can LOOOOOVE a book and still manage to also loooooove reviews containing an opposing viewpoint.)

I agree about Mark being like "RoboWatney" - I work with TONS of super smart people who have zero personality like that. So creepy and I always want to check to see where they plug in to the computer ; )


Carmen Franco wrote: "Great review, Carmen. I agree with a lot of what you say."

Thank you so much, Franco!


Carmen Kelly (and the Book Boar) wrote: "OMG this review is great! (Note to trolls: Most people can LOOOOOVE a book and still manage to also loooooove reviews containing an opposing viewpoint.)

I agree about Mark being like "RoboWatney"..."


LOL Thank you so much, Kelly! I will be checking out your review shortly! <3


message 28: by Joe (last edited Sep 30, 2015 01:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe Valdez Your review is exactly what I expected a self-published science fiction novel by software engineer to be: wonky, glib, derivative. I found it to be the opposite and gave it five stars on Goodreads. I love being in the minority when it comes to trends and was prepared to hate The Martian as much as you, Carmen, but didn't.

I found Watney to be quite human. He was as despaired and frustrated at times as any castaway I've seen portrayed would be; look at any passage of the novel where he's cursing. I also found the science to roll off my back. If anything, Watney's "journal" is dumbed down; a real astronaut's log wouldn't be this user friendly.

I'd encourage readers to try the first few pages and if the book doesn't grab you, dump it. I was very unexpectedly caught up in the narrative. Weir did his homework in regards to both the science and the drama. Including two women in the crew was both accurate to what a Mars mission will probably do and gave their relationship a dynamic I liked.


Carmen It seems as if we were complete opposites on this one, Joseph. I expected to love it, ended up hating it. You expected to hate it, ended up loving it.

I just couldn't find any redeeming features here.

Are you going to see the film, Joseph?


message 30: by Terence (new)

Terence Your review is very much what I imagined this book would be like. One of those popular books that are just not written for me.

Good review.


Carmen Thank you so much, Terence. :)


message 32: by Chris (new)

Chris Didn't they find water on Mars, so doesn't make the book really sci-fi?


Becky LOL... Even though I loved this book lots and lots, I couldn't help but love your review. :D


message 34: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ (last edited Sep 30, 2015 02:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ I actually liked all that nerdy science stuff.

description

But I support your very well-written review even if our opinions of the book differ. ;)


Carmen Chris wrote: "Didn't they find water on Mars, so doesn't make the book really sci-fi?"

Did they find water on Mars IRL? LOL I was so excited about that! The book, not so much. LOL


Carmen Becky wrote: "LOL... Even though I loved this book lots and lots, I couldn't help but love your review. :D"

Thank you, Becky, for being so sweet and understanding! :) I really wanted to like it, please believe me.


Carmen Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽ wrote: "I actually liked all that nerdy science stuff.



But I support of your very well-written review even if our opinions of the book differ. ;)"


It's not even that I hate science as that I was desperately looking for some sort of emotional connection - ANY kind of emotional connection - with any character at all and couldn't find one. I'm a psychology / languages person and so the total lack of emotions and feeling and relationships and even basic human psychology was leaving me bereft. :(

I love that gif by the way! You're so cool!


message 38: by Cher (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cher Dear Carmen,
You are brilliant and I love you.
Sincerely,
Proud Team Carmen Member


Carmen Oh! *blush* Thank you, Cher! :) <3


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Carmen wrote: "I love that gif by the way! You're so cool!"

Haha - thanks! I already used it a month or so ago in my review of The Invisible Man, but it was just begging to be reused in your review thread. I was humming "She blinded me with science" to myself while I went and hunted down the gif again. Big 80s flashback. :D


Carmen LOVE that song. :)


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Aww, I wished you could have liked it :)


Cecily A very entertaining review - and all true. Yet somehow I really enjoyed the book.


Carmen Melissa wrote: "Aww, I wished you could have liked it :)"

I know! I'm sorry. :(


Carmen Cecily wrote: "A very entertaining review - and all true. Yet somehow I really enjoyed the book."

And I'm so happy that you did, Cecily! :)


message 46: by Traveller (new) - added it

Traveller I've only just started, but I can't help wondering : isn't science fiction supposed to be about science? ...I mean, would it still have been science fiction if it wasn't about science? Just a thought. :)


Cecily I think you're channeling Margaret Atwood ("speculative fiction"), Trav. ;)


message 48: by Carmen (last edited Sep 30, 2015 03:30PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Carmen Traveller wrote: "I've only just started, but I can't help wondering : isn't science fiction supposed to be about science? ...I mean, would it still have been science fiction if it wasn't about science? Just a th..."

Aren't novels supposed to elicit an emotion? Any emotion? Just a thought. :)

Nah, I love science. Pair that with some actual character development, or, I don't know, an emotion, and we're good to go. But I wanted to read a novel, not someone's thesis. :D


Carmen Cecily wrote: "I think you're channeling Margaret Atwood ("speculative fiction"), Trav. ;)"

I read Atwood over a decade ago and can't really remember a single thing about her books. o.O *is ashamed*


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Carmen wrote: "Melissa wrote: "Aww, I wished you could have liked it :)"

I know! I'm sorry. :("


It's all good, we can't all like the same things :D


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