Book Review: The Martian

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

369 pages of incredible. Really, I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s a book that’s very easy to sum up: on the third mission to Mars, an astronaut gets left behind. His crew assumes he’s died, and they have to leave in a crisis. But he didn’t die.

And now he’s alone on the planet, with almost no chance of ever getting back to Earth.

Think of it as Apollo 13 on Mars.

I’d heard a lot of good things about the book, but I really wasn’t prepared for just how engrossing a read it would be. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so wrapped up in a plot–so into it that I was actually feeling nervous for the character. That’s hard to pull off at the speed of reading, and Weir did it wonderfully.

I do have to throw in a disclaimer for some readers–there’s R-rated language in the book. Let’s face it: if most people were left for dead on a barren planet, they probably wouldn’t say “Golly gee willickers.” The main character doesn’t, either. But if that’s not a deal breaker for you, then I strongly encourage you to give this book a shot.

Honestly, I’d give it 6 stars if I could. It’s that good. Realistic science fiction that’s approachable and understandable. The conflicts are believable (to this non-scientist reader, at least), as are the ways they are resolved.

Can you tell I liked this book?

Even more impressive to me is the fact that it was self-published. I’ll be honest: I rarely meet a self-published book worth going further than 5 chapters in. Weir put it up on his website in serialized form, then sold the ebook on Amazon for $1, until he’d sold 35,000 copies, at which point print publishing perked up. Nice to see a success story once in a while.

Any which way you slice it, the book’s very well done. Any of you already read it? I’d love to hear what you had to say.

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