The story revolves around an astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist and engineer, left behind on Mars about a week into their month long mission by his five other crew members when an emergency strikes, and the mission is aborted. What follows is the story of Watney surviving, NASA figures out he is still alive and the plans made to keep him alive and bring him home.
I have read other descriptions of the work as Castaway meets Apollo 13, except without Tom Hanks. While the Watney role is reportedly being played by Matt Damon in the Ridley Scott movie being produced, I kept seeing Mark Wahlberg in my mind's eye. Maybe it's because Wahlberg and Watney share the same first name and my imagination stinks. (I am sure Damon will be fine, but still Wahlberg would be a good fit.) I would add another science fiction work this book reminded me of, and that is Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" and "Around the Moon." Verne's work and Weir's work have travelers encounter and solve various problems in space travel, but more importantly, a story telling similarity. Both Verne and Weir give exhaustive explanations, often including
|Not playing Mark Watney|
The Mars part of the story is told through
My expectations going into this book were pretty high. I don't think they were quite met. Probably if I had listened to this book cold, I would have been very pleasantly surprised. Yet, having knowledge of the rave reviews beforehand I think the novel would have to be a Verne caliber book for those expectations to be met. Yet, I can see why it is so trumped by my friend and Ihnatko among others. Near the end of the book when Watney gets into yet another scrape . . . again it became a wee stale. That is a small quibble. Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys realistic non-fantasy science fiction. I look forward to seeing the movie with Damon in the lead that will hopefully get Wahlberg out of my head.