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The Martian
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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > May 2015 - The Martian

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message 1: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments Discuss The Martian here.


message 2: by Kat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kat (katzombie) | 2478 comments I'm the first to post - very unusual ;)

I read The Martian last year, and I must say it's not my normal kind of read - I like science fiction but there was a lot of detail in this book - which normally would have me snoozing within three pages, but it was strangely compelling.

I also went in expecting that I would get really fed up with one main character, but I actually really enjoyed it.

Just goes to show you shouldn't necessarily judge a book by the synopsis!


message 3: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments That's good to hear. I'm going to start this after my current read.


message 4: by Cherie (last edited May 05, 2015 12:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cherie (crobins0) | 20275 comments I listened to The Martian just a little while ago and thought it was a great story. None of the scientific stuff bothered me at all. (view spoiler) I am not 100% sure how plausible it all was, but it was a good story, never-the-less.


Suzanne | 1136 comments I'm 100 pages into The Martian. I love the premise of the book, but thought having just dialog would bother me. I find I don't mind it so much, but mainly because the character Mark is so humorous. Either the author does a convincing job that he knows a lot about science or else he is a good BS artist! (view spoiler)


message 6: by Liz (last edited May 06, 2015 10:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz   (lizvegas) | 504 comments I'm about 100 pages in, as well. It's pretty safe to say that if I was alone on Mars, I'd be a goner!

How is this guy so resourceful? He's like a space MacGyver! (view spoiler)


Suzanne | 1136 comments LOL Liz! You aren't kidding when you called Mark resourceful! I am 200 pages now (can't seem to put the book down) and despite the lack of description, there are times when the author gets an image across anyway. A good example is (view spoiler)


message 8: by Liz (last edited May 06, 2015 12:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz   (lizvegas) | 504 comments His commentaries are great, Suzanne! My favorite so far is (view spoiler)


Suzanne | 1136 comments Liz wrote: "His commentaries are great, Suzanne! My favorite so far is [spoilers removed]" I loved that one, too!


message 10: by Lynda (new) - added it

Lynda | 836 comments I was looking forward to reading this this month, but the wait list at the library is HUGE. I'd buy it, but I'm in the middle of tracking down an out of print book for another bookclub. We'll have to see how much that one will end up costing me.


Teanka I read this book half a year ago. I think this novel was wonderfully paced. I kept wondering what problems Mark would have to solve next and I never got bored at all, there was so much going on right till the very last page. I also enjoyed the secondary characters providing the reader with different points of view.

The other great aspect of this novel is that it is a simulation of something that actually seems to be in humanity's grasp. Ever since the Pathfinder mission I kept wondering when would we send the manned ships to Mars. As such, it might be interesting to read also for people not very well acquainted with the sf genre.

It is also well researched and probable. (view spoiler)


message 12: by Suzanne (last edited May 09, 2015 05:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Suzanne | 1136 comments I finished the book yesterday. I agree with Teanka - the pacing was excellent and I was never bored. Even if I didn't understand all the technical jargon, by using blog posts, the author kept the details short enough to keep my interest, while at the same time giving enough information to give me a modicum of understanding. And of course, I loved the character of Mark Watney. His sarcasm and wit added the necessary comic relief to an incredibly tense situation. Great book!


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments I'm starting this one today. Let's see how do I like it since I'm not a science fiction reader. Last time I read something of this genre I was 9 or 10 years old. But this book caught my attention. I'm willing to give it a try.


jaxnsmom | 8271 comments I read the book earlier this year and gave it 5 stars. Mark is a combination of MacGyver and Jack O'Neill - does that mean he's Richard Dean Anderson? ☺ I listened to the book and R.C. Bray did a great job of getting across Mark's intelligence and sarcastic wit. And the way the technical info was presented made it fascinating - I could picture how it worked. My biggest problem was that I listened to the book at work, and I couldn't stop and write down any of the great lines.


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments I read around 30 pages and loved it. I like the humor, the amazing creativity of Mark, and how he never gives up. All the technical stuff is being really interesting. I don't understand every single thing he explains, but it's being easy to follow by now.
After these 30 pages my daughter "stole" the book from me and I couldn't read it anymore. Se read like 3/4 of the book yesterday, so I think it's safe to say she likes it. :)
I'll have my book back today when she's at school.
I really would like my son read it too, so I'll show it to him. I'm risking to be robbed again, though...


Liz   (lizvegas) | 504 comments I finished last night. All in all, I found the book engrossing and fast paced. My eyes did glaze over a bit during some of the technical stuff because I just couldn't picture what was going on. I found myself wanting to get back to the action!
Great unexpected book, though. 4 stars.


message 17: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments That's great that your daughter is reading it too Sandra. How old is she? I hope you manage to squeeze in some more reading of it before anyone else knabs it from you ;-)


message 18: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments I'm just starting this now.


message 19: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments I'm liking the way the guy speaks. Very easy to read. Some technical stuff but I think it's explained in an accessible way. I've not felt confused as yet. Not sure how I'd have coped in his situation. Scary.


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments My daughter is 16. She finished the book and loved it. That's good. My son (13 yo) is giving it a try. We are sharing it pretty well. :)


Liz   (lizvegas) | 504 comments That's super fun, Sandra!


message 22: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments Just reached chapter 6 (view spoiler)


message 23: by Sandra (last edited May 12, 2015 06:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Read spoiler only at the end of chapter 6!

@Sarah (view spoiler)

I don't know why I was imagining Mars' view grey! Ridiculous, I know. At some point I realized that everything should look red. I have a more colorful experience of the book now. :)

I'm in chapter 7, Sol:68.


message 24: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments I think you must be slightly further ahead than me Sandra as (view spoiler) That spoiler is probably best left until the end of chapter 6 for others reading through (my spoiler and Sandra's).


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments I'M SORRY, SARAH!!!! I thought you were at the end of chapter 6. I'll edit my comment now.
Sorry again...


message 26: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments No worries Sandra. Normally, I wait to post until I've reached the end of the chapter but for some reason on this occasion, I decided to jump in when I'd literally only read a few words of that chapter. No biggie.

Really, from the start, I could see that this story could go one of two ways - either he is rescued or he dies on Mars. So the reading part is us finding out which of these happens. I like Mark so I'm hoping he's rescued but I'm not getting too attached as more and more authors nowadays kill off main characters.


message 27: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments Finished chapter 6 and chwpter 7 now (view spoiler)

This is the quite a fast read.


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Just finished chapter 15

(view spoiler)

I never thought this book would make me feel so emotional at some parts...


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Just finished chapter 16

(view spoiler)

What a page turner! But I have some work to do now...


message 30: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 50047 comments Don't you hate when work gets in the way?


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Janice wrote: "Don't you hate when work gets in the way?"

Absolutely hate it!


message 32: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 50047 comments Speaking of which, it's now 1:01... time to go back to work!


message 33: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments Can't stop reading :-)


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Sarah wrote: "Can't stop reading :-)"

I know what you mean, Sarah! It only gets better!


message 35: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments Just starting chapter 13. When I get home I'll read the spoilers up to then and make some comments.


Bobby (bobbej) This is as good as it gets in Sci-Fi. I could NOT put this one down! The tension as NASA on Earth tries to save a stranded astronaut on Mars is edge-of-the-seat reading at its best. Don't plan anything else for awhile when you open this one!!


message 37: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 50047 comments Hi Bobby! Welcome to our group.


Bobby (bobbej) Janice wrote: "Hi Bobby! Welcome to our group."

Thanks Janice...have you seen any of the clips from the movie yet?


message 39: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 50047 comments No, I haven't seen any clips yet. I will definitely go see it when it's released.

What did you think of the technical aspects of the book? Did you find them detracting?


message 40: by Sandra (last edited May 18, 2015 06:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Hi Bobby, and welcome. (I took a look at your profile. Of course you are not crazy for having 6 kids. I have 8 and I'm completely sane!:) )

I was watching at this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMfuL...

During the first 12 minutes Weir just reads the first chapter, but after that he explains how the technical stuff works, and how it would be possible in real life.
I thought you all could find it interesting.

ETA: He not only talks about the technical part of the books. He talks about Mark's personality, how the book was born as chapters posted in his blog, his favorite readings, how he likes the cover, etc. Although he looks a little shy and scary at the beginning, I found the author really funny and very honest.


Bobby (bobbej) Janice, had some trouble visualizing some of the technical aspects but the explanations were so plausible I just went with it.

Thanks Sandra, I'm on the road right now but look forward to checking your interview upon my return. Thanks for posting.


message 42: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments Welcome Bobby!

Thanks for the link Sandra - I will watch it when I've finished reading the book.

I have been really enjoying the book. It has had a lot of hype so I was a little worried about how I'd like it. I think it's, so far, been well worth it's hype. It is fantastic.

What I really like is that the people featured are not the number one / best in their field. Mark was like the 10th astronaut or something like that, not lead, not in charge, chosen partly for his personality etc. Then Mindy who just watches satellite monitors all day everyday. I guess it's underdog heroes.

I'm in chapter 13. (view spoiler)


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments I finished it yesterday, and rated it 5 stars. It was a great read. I'm so happy I gave it a try. I loved the main character, Mark, so funny and SO resourceful. The story is very engaging. It didn't bother me at all the technical stuff. Of course I didn't understand every single thing, but it was clear enough to follow the situations.

Sarah, Weir says in the video that the technology is accurate. All the things he explains exist, or are known. Of course everything is used in a more efficient manner, that's why some things, like go to Mars, are possible, but he is not making up anything really.

He admits he had only one big concession (I don't think this is a spoiler really, but not sure if you want to know before of the end of the book) (view spoiler)

This is a spoiler to read after you finished chapter 22:(view spoiler)


message 44: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments I finished the book last night. I really enjoyed it. Liked it more than I expected. It was well written and I was rooting for Mark all the way. I have given it 4 stars as I wasn't sure about the plausibility of some of the things that occurred. I'm sure all the science is possible but still. Yes there were some mishaps along the way but I felt like everything went pretty smoothly with no despair. I'd have been a wreck. I know I shouldn't judge based on my piss poor standards. I know we didn't get daily updates so I guess those days could have been desperate plus Mark was a jovial, sarcastic, take the mick kind of guy and maybe humour was how he dealt with the situation. I will definitely keep my eye out for future books by this author. Intrigued on how a movie version would be.


message 45: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah | 18198 comments @Teanka - no dates are mentioned for the Ares mission so i don't know whether this was set in our time or not too distant future. Sols are mentioned to show how long Mark has been on Mars for and that there are 4 years between each Ares mission but that's it.


Teanka I'm also waiting for the movie. I hope it's as good as the book is (it should be). Yes, I suppose the novel takes place in a very near future. Probably there were no exact dates on purpose, this way it won't age too quickly.


Susan Barlow I would never have chosen this book to read myself because I like the little green men style of sf. I thoroughly enjoyed it though, but I skimmed over some of the technical stuff. It didn't worry me whether or not the technical aspects were feasible, it's a novel after all. Probably the least feasible aspect of the story was the ease with which Mark coped with every situation. Still I guess that's why he had the right personality to be an astronaut.

The thing I love about Goodreads groups is that it does encourage me to read books I normally wouldn't try. Sometimes I like them and sometimes I don't but it's great to try something different.


message 48: by Debra (last edited May 25, 2015 02:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Debra (debra_t) | 6542 comments Started off well, but wasn't really holding my attention. I'm sure it will get better. Not giving up.

Yep, I would certainly be taking that morphine and going for a nice long sleep! Botany is not my forte... at least vegetables aren't.


Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Hold on, Debra! I worth it!

Debra, I agree about how good is to move out of you comfort zone some times. I'd probably read only my beloved historical fictions all the time. I hadn't read sci fic and fantasy in decades, but YLTO made me read both genres this year!


Debra (debra_t) | 6542 comments Things are going much better and faster now. I love the humor. Mark has just established communication with NASA. Things are looking up!


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