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Written by Andy Weir
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Cover Price: $15.00
Let’s get the opinion stuff out of the way: The Martian, the book upon which the recent movie starring Matt Damon is based, is pretty fantastic. The premise, like most science-fiction, doesn’t initially come across as compelling. There’s an astronaut named Mark Watney who, through chance and misfortune, was left for dead on Mars by his team. He’s got to find a way to let humanity know he’s still around, and he’s got to figure out how to survive for as long as possible, hoping all the way that NASA can figure out a way to get him back home.
Rather than yet another science fiction blockbuster epic, Andy Weir‘s novel eschews the grandiose space empire stuff in favor of focus and intimacy. In that respect, The Martian is a minor work with major scope. The author achieves this in some interesting ways. There’s a focus on the “how” things get done. Put another way, Weir’s protagonist, Mark, delivers the action of the story to the reader with both high-level strategic sci-fi love (“I have to generate food”) and then drills down into the tactics of how that’s achieved (“I’ve created 192 square meters of farmland and have 600 liters of water for the potatoes I’m about to plant, which should last me 200 Sols beyond my NASA rations”).
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