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Summary and book reviews of The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian

by Andy Weir

The Martian
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2014, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Book Summary

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills - and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit - he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

8 tips for surviving on Mars

So you want to live on Mars. Perhaps it's the rugged terrain, beautiful scenery, or vast natural landscape that appeals to you. Or maybe you're just a lunatic who wants to survive in a lifeless barren wasteland. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you should know:

1: You're going to need a pressure vessel.
Mars's atmospheric pressure is less than one percent of Earth's. So basically, it's nothing. Being on the surface of Mars is almost the same as being in deep space. You better bring a nice, sturdy container to hold air in. By the way, this will be your home forever. So try to make it as big as you can.

2: You're going to need oxygen.
You probably plan to breathe during your stay, so you'll need to have something in that pressure vessel. Fortunately, you can get this from Mars itself. The atmosphere is very thin, but it is present and it's almost entirely carbon dioxide. There are lots of ways...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
A castaway story for the new millennium, The Martian presents a fresh take on the classic man-vs-nature battle for survival by setting it on the surface of Mars—a planet completely hostile to sustaining human life. Yet debut novelist and self-proclaimed space nerd Andy Weir manages to make every moment of astronaut Mark Watney's outer-space ordeal painstakingly realistic and believable.

After Mark Watney is injured, separated from his crew in a sandstorm, and left for dead, alone on the red planet and cut off from any communication, his first priority is tending to his injury and making it through the first day—or sol. Soon he realizes he must do more than survive the day—he must plan long-term if he is to ...
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    Indie Booksellers’ Choice Awards
    2015

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The Martian really is a great deal of fun. I personally thought it was such a hoot that I ended up buying three copies to give to friends – something I seldom do. Readers looking for a fast, entertaining novel that will nourish their inner space geek will definitely want to pick up a copy.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Full Review Members Only (702 words).

Media Reviews

Entertainment Weekly

An impressively geeky debut…the technical details keep the story relentlessly precise and the suspense ramped up. And really, how can anyone not root for a regular dude to prove the U-S-A still has the Right Stuff?

The Wall Street Journal

Brilliant…a celebration of human ingenuity [and] the purest example of real-science sci-fi for many years…Utterly compelling.

Booklist

Riveting...a tightly constructed and completely believable story of a man's ingenuity and strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. An excellent first novel…Weir laces the technical details with enough keen wit to satisfy hard science fiction fan and general reader alike [and] keeps the story escalating to a riveting conclusion.

Kirkus Reviews

Sharp, funny and thrilling, with just the right amount of geekery…Weir displays a virtuosic ability to write about highly technical situations without leaving readers far behind. The result is a story that is as plausible as it is compelling.

Library Journal

Starred Review. By placing a nail-biting life-and-death situation on Mars and adding a snarky and wise-cracking nerdy hero, Weir has created the perfect mix of action and space adventure.

Author Blurb Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Commander of the International Space Station and author of An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
A book I just couldn’t put down! It has the very rare combination of a good, original story, interestingly real characters and fascinating technical accuracy…reads like “MacGyver” meets “Mysterious Island.”

Author Blurb Larry Niven, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Ringworld series and Lucifer’s Hammer
Gripping…shapes up like Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe as written by someone brighter.

Reader Reviews

Anne C.

Survival of the Creative
I first read this book on my Kindle and immediately recommended it to my husband and son, who are an engineer and a scientist respectively. I have always loved science fiction, especially what is now called "hard science fiction," as ...   Read More

AmyG

AWESOME
I read The Martian quite awhile ago, as a free Kindle book, and I was simultaneously riveted and blown away by this book. The story is so unique, the POV is really readable, the science is "interesting" and the whole package is ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Mars, the Red Planet

Picture of Mars as taken by Hubble Space Telescope Andy Weir's The Martian is set on the red planet, the fourth from the sun, which has been part of human consciousness since people first started observing the night sky. Its distinctive red color sets it apart from the other celestial objects. The oldest known star map, found in the tomb of 18th dynasty Egyptian architect Senenmut (who lived around 1400 BC), includes a depiction of Mars. It's mentioned in Egyptian writing even earlier. Chinese astronomers documented its position and orbit before the founding of the Zhou Dynasty in 1045 BCE. Galileo was the first person to observe the planet through a telescope – doing so in the early 17th century.

The planet we now call Mars has had many names over the centuries. The Egyptians ...

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