The Martian by Andy Weir
In The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney is abandoned by his crew and left for dead. He shouldn’t have survived the freak accident that appeared to kill him, and when he realizes it didn’t, he knows that his chances for long term survival are bleak. Despite having enough food to last a year, being the only inhabitant of Mars’s red desert presents numerous challenges to the unwilling Earthling immigrant. Nobody knows he’s there, and even if they did, it would take years to get a rescue ship to him.
The story is mostly told through Watney’s space log where we get an appreciation of his ingenuity and self-deprecating humor. The book brilliantly demonstrates humanity’s instinct to persevere in the face of impossible odds. Watney uses his engineering skills to continuously find ways to extend his lifespan, and his observational wit to keep him sane as Mars’s loneliest resident.
The book does a great job of mixing the tension of a sci-fi thriller with a constant stream of one-liners from Watncy. His ability to keep his sense of humor despite leap frogging from one life threatening emergency to the next makes him easy to identify with and pull for.
The Martian is a page turner, and one of the funniest science fiction books ever written. It’s a must read for all sci-fi fans, and also fans of survival stories and thrillers. It’s being made into a movie starring Matt Damon.