Book Review – The Martian – Andy Weir



  •    Book: The Martian
  •    Author: Andy Weir
  •    Genre: Science Fiction
  •    Year of Release: 2011
  •    Read 369-page paperback edition in May 2015.

Book Description:

Mark Watney was very proud and excited to be one of the first people to walk on Mars.  However, when an accident six days into the mission forces the rest of the crew to evacuate the planet, a misunderstanding causes them to believe Mark dead, and they leave him on the surface.  However, he is very much alive, and now is stranded on the planet, with little resources, no communication to the ship and earth, and very small hope of staying alive for long.  Mark must use his wits, ingenuity, and skills to stay alive and figure out how to get earth’s attention and somehow get home.

Book Review:

Andy Weir’s debut science fiction novel was absolutely fantastic!

First off, Weir did a fantastic job with his characterization of Mark Watney.  Watney, as the principle character in the novel, was alone on Mars and therefore not able to interact with other humans on the story.  This could have made for some challenging scenes, but Weir’s use of mission logs to have Watney narrate some of what was happening was a great decision.  In addition, the use of humour in Watney’s character was very believable and added to the enjoyment of the novel.  It really humanized the main character, trapped in this barren world but able to have some laughs while stranded.

Furthermore, Watney’s descriptions of Mars itself as a planet were fairly present and consistent throughout.  His ability to describe the red planet, the dunes and sand, the rocky terrain in places, the craters, the moons Phobos and Deimos overhead, were all nicely done.  Weir doesn’t spend too much time describing the scenery of the place, but when he takes that time of showcasing the scenery, through Watney’s observations and eyes, it is always enjoyable.

One note to make, which slightly detracted my personal enjoyment of the novel, was the heavy dose of science in the novel.  Weir’s background is in technical fields, and thus it makes sense he did heavy research into the subject matter and the science behind things.  Although some people really enjoy this, and it makes sense for this to be termed a hard sci-fi novel, it was heavy on science in parts, and sometimes caused me as the reader to get a little lost in what was going on, and what the point of a certain section was, because too much time was spent setting up.  This is a personal complain of course, and a small one, in the grand scheme of this excellent, fast-paced novel.

Overall, this was an excellent debut novel, and although it was a bit tech-heavy at times, it was one of the best science fiction novels of recent years!

Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars.