On a manned mission to Mars, a team of astronauts get caught in a dust storm. Then all hell breaks loose and they lose one of their team members, Mark Watney.
But Watney lives through the storm and has to use his wits to survive on the red planet until the next manned mission arrives.
The story is told through first person via blogs chronicling Watney’s survival experience and a third person perspective for everyone else.
Watney’s adventure on the red planet is pure fun. His ingenuity is a mixture of Doctor Who and MacGyver with the attitude to match it. He’s also the comic relief, sprinkling his blog entries with jabs at his crew members and commentary on his absurd situation.
Another aspect that separates The Martian from other science fiction stories is Andy Weir’s incorporation of real scientific explanations for Watneys survival and catastrophes. This makes the story feel more authentic.
That being said, I wouldn’t use “The Martian” as a survival guide.
As I mentioned above, the story goes back and forth between first and third person. The third person point of view focuses on NASA when they learn Watney survived the dust storm and are trying to figure out how to deal with the situation.
Going back and forth between narration style can bite an author in the ass, but Weir pulls it off with short chapters and simplistic writing.
All of these factors combine into a truly entertaining and fun story. A compliment I haven’t been able to say since I read a wonderful historical fiction a while back.
The Martian is scheduled to become a movie, starring Matt Damon, but do yourself a favor and pick this gem up before you watch the movie.