After hearing so much about this book, which has become a movie, it has taken me a while to get around to read it, and it has lived up to its hype. I quite enjoyed the book, it was a really captivating thriller. And it’s nice to see a science based book be successful. It’s not a perfect book, but it is one that is an easy read (I finished it off in two days and the pages flew past – a little different to some of the larger books I’ve been reading recently which while engaging, due to their bulk, feel like you make much slower progress).The first line captured me. I knew we were going to be in for a good ride once I read it. I was quite engrossed in the book, and din’t really want to put it down. I found the split perspectives to be done well, and made things more interesting. Coming to see NASA, and their perspective, including the annoying PR woman trying to do her job, was good.
I liked the detailed explanations and calculations of how much stuff he had to survive and how much potatoes he could grow and how much fuel he make, and so on. Some people have HATED that stuff, but I enjoyed reading through that. Yeah sure, it’s all made up numbers, but still I found my self interested in that. I liked the science, and it seemed reasonably sound, which is always good. It did become a little repetitive in the fact that there was always something that would go wrong, and then Watney has to solve it using some really rudimentary equipment and processes. Despite this, I still found myself enjoying reading about it, and seeing what creative solution he was going to come up with next.
And just reading about Mars was exciting, that kind of exploration is always going to be interesting, and is one of the few places left to be ‘explored’ by humans (at least in person). So overall, I was really happy with the book, it was exciting and enjoyable, and Watney was a good narrator. I think Weir captured his response to being stranded there alone really well. I thought it was quite realistic how he’d react, so I didn’t mind his cringeworthy jokes, that was just the character.
I’m also really impressed that it was originally self published, and has gone on to do incredibly well. I’m interested to see how the movie is, but it might be some time yet before I get to see it.