Can I just say…wow.
I read Andy Weir’s The Martian in one sitting. It was that engaging, I just couldn’t put it down. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock the past few months, and haven’t seen the trailer for the new movie adaption of this book starring Matt Damon, the story is pretty simple:
Mark Watney is part of the Ares 3 mission, doing experiments on the surface of Mars, when the astronauts are ordered to evacuate due to dangerous winds approaching their base. As the crew race to their shuttle, Mark is hit by a flying piece of unsecured equipment. The bio-monitor in his space-suit shows no life signs, and the rest of the crew make the difficult choice to leave the body behind and save themselves. Hours later, Mark wakes up alone on an inhospitable planet, facing the prospect of surviving for four years with only the supplies that have been abandoned with him, until the next scheduled mission to Mars arrives.
I’ll be honest, there’s a lot of science in this, and sometimes the explanations of the things that Mark does to survive were a bit technical. On the other hand, the story was so compelling that I kept on reading, because I was so invested in finding out how he could possibly survive.
This is realistic science fiction. There are no aliens, no time machines… we are a long, long way from Doctor Who here. That said, it was fascinating and I’d definitely recommend it – just make sure you clear the rest of your day before you start (and don’t be surprised if you close the book and find it’s morning already like I did!)