The Martian: A Novel

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The Martian: A Novel

by Andy Weir

Crown Publishing Group | February 11, 2014 | Hardcover

The Martian: A Novel is rated 4.1429 out of 5 by 7.
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he''s sure he''ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won''t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn''t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.43 × 6.38 × 1.27 in

Published: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0804139024

ISBN - 13: 9780804139021

Found in: Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A human drama, science fiction adventure, and a sort of survival manifesto While I picked up the ARC of this several months ago, I almost didn't bother to give it a read. The "Apollo 13 meets Cast Away" tagline sounded interesting, but it also left me wondering just how Andy Weir was going to pull it off. After all, both of those movies succeeded largely based on the charisma of Tom Hanks (which can't exactly be captured on the page), and the true story element of Apollo 13 was responsible for much of that story's dramatic tension. A fellow reviewer tossed MacGyver into the tagline mix, however, and suddenly I was curious enough to give The Martian: A Novel a chance, Hey, what can I say . . . but I'm glad I did! This was an absolutely stellar read, one that is full of action, drama, humor, and real emotional engagement. It's a testament to Weir's storytelling that, going into the last ten pages, I honestly wasn't sure whether Mark Watney was really going to survive. The story wastes no time getting started, and the situation is almost as exceedingly dire as it is tragic. It's also a very lonely, claustrophobic start to the tale, with Mark the only character in a very small-scale drama. He's got a habitat, a rover, and a spacesuit. That's it. That's all. He can't even communicate with his ex-crewmates, much less anyone back home. He has a plan for sustaining himself by cultivating the potatoes NASA sent for Thanksgiving dinner, but it involves a lot of dirt, a lot of feces, a lot of urine, and some dangerous tampering with his life support systems. In the meantime, he has a USB stick full of disco tunes, a second full of 70s TV episodes, and a third full of murder mysteries. Just when you start to wonder how long Weir can maintain that kind of tension, we're finally transported back to Earth for the other half of the narrative. The world is in mourning for the lost astronaut, with Mark a fixture on just about every news program and talk show. When a SatCon search for his body instead turns up evidence of his survival, politics and emotion begin a battle that carries through right to the end. With all due respect to Mark's struggle - and this is one of the most fascinating survival stories you're likely to encounter - it's the Earthly drama that really sells the story, especially once it takes on a multinational dimension. ? How much do you tell the public, and how much can you really hide from them? ? Is it better to let his team think the've lost a crewmate, or to tell them they abandoned a man to his death? ? Do you plan for a sustenance mission, rescue mission, or retrieval? ? Most importantly, what is the life of one man worth, especially when the odds of survival are so astronomically stacked against him? There are some startling twists and setbacks to the story throughout, both on Mars and Earth, which keep the tension high and the reader guessing. There's also a lot of science and technical detail that I'm sure may try the patience of some readers, but which I found fascinating - even if I didn't always understand it. The journal style narration of Mark's story is important, in that it's his only form of communication for a very long time, and it's more realistic than if he were to set out to write his own story. Plus, that off-the-cuff, automatic permanent recording of his spoken thoughts allows for some moments of gallows humor that really help to humanize the astronaut and the scientist. If you are at all curious, then make the time for The Martian: A Novel. It's an amazing story that works as a human drama, science fiction adventure, and a sort of survival manifesto. Really, give it a read. You won't regret it. This is a read that is (if you'll excuse one last space pun) really out of this world.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "In space no one can hear you scream like a little girl" An excellent book that at numerous times I stayed up WAY too late reading. I loved the way that you couldn't predict where it was going. I also loved the explanation of science and chemistry in it - although it requires a little suspension of your disbelief to enjoy.
Date published: 2014-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Martian is A-Marz-ing!!! Wow. This novel blew me away! I was hesitant to pick it up, at first, afraid that I might not understand all the techno-babble, which I didn't. BUT, that's okay because the way Weir writes, it breaks it down in layman's terms, and if you still have issues understanding, you really can just skim these parts. Watney is a great character with a persevering sense of humour and a lot of smarts. When I first embarked on the journey of The Martian, I was a little concerned the whole novel would be told from Watney's POV, which I felt would get boring pretty quickly but, thankfully, in between Watney's diary entries, we get to hang out with the good people of NASA and find out when they are planning to save him. To sum up, this was actually a super-quick read and extremely enjoyable.
Date published: 2014-08-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Abandonment and Survival On Mars "The Martian" by Andy Weir is an intoxicating science fiction thriller that unfolds after Mark Watney thought to be dead, is left behind on the sandy wasteland of Mars by his crewmates. Stranded, wounded, a breach in his space suit, Mark begins an epic struggle for survival against the forces of nature that try to kill him. Drawing on his resourcefulness, dogged determination and engineering expertise, he faces each challenge as it comes; from the scarcity of food and water to a communication link with Earth, all with a positive hope that he'll be rescued. Like Robinson Crusoe, Mark challenges the hostility and loneliness of his environment, confronting death and the overwhelming odds against his survival. Intertwined with the intriguing main plot narrated in the first person are two subplots; one dealing with the Hermes crew, the other the NASA team as they both labour to support and save the lone Martian. All three threads of the story are emotionally -charged. I liked Mark Watney's exuberance when he overcomes a challenge like the preparation of his potato crop and his high spirits when he gets a message from Earth for the first time using the Pathfinder and his rover. Even tragic failures like explosion of the Mars bound supply ship gives the reader a shudder of despair along with NASA's flight director and his team. Yet for all the desperation, politics, heartache and fear that ripples through the pages of this story, there's also optimism, compassion, hope, and a wry sense of humor in Mark's plight. This is a novel that combines a unique plot with fascinating characters and technical precision. The characters are well-developed and realistic. Mark Watney is a fine example of endurance, cleverness, determination and innovation in a man who refuses to give up and die. Of the brave, loyal and multi-skilled Hermes crew Commander Lewis is a dedicated leader, loyal to her team; Major Rick Martinez a composed and meticulous pilot; Beth Johannsen a practical and independent science geek; Alex Vogel an optimistic and confident chemist, and Dr. Chris Beck a strong-minded and resolute EVA specialist and the spaceship's resident medical doctor. Of the NASA team, Mitch Henderson is the rebel flight director who's disliked for his arrogance and resistance to secrecy. He's dedicated, hardworking and steady like Venket Kapoor who's also a diplomatic communicator. All these characters and more add drama, energy and passionate resolve to this tension-packed thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last. I had heard a lot of positive comments about "The Martian" before I read it. Now I unanimously concur and highly recommend this intense and riveting science fiction thriller.
Date published: 2014-05-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Out of This World! Mark Watney is accidentally stranded on Mars and as he struggles to survive using his intelligence and ingenuity, it’s one part MacGyver and one part Cast Away. The story flows between daily life on Mars and the operations of NASA down on earth. The danger of being left behind in this barren wasteland is very real and the wit and wisdom of Mark Watney keep the pages turning. Some of the explanations get a bit technical but overall you’re rooting for this down-to-earth astronaut to make it home safely.
Date published: 2014-05-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fun page turner that sometimes gets bogged down in the technology Compelling premise that proves to be a very engaging, quick read. The lead character is fun, his attempts at humor are hit and miss, and the story sometimes spends too much time explaining in great detail what is going on. That said, it lends an element of reality to the story as I believe it quite technically accurate. All in all, a worthwhile read.
Date published: 2014-03-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surviving Mars Space exploration is all the rage these days. From Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and his new book, to the blockbuster hit Gravity, there seems to be a burgeoning fascination once again in what lies beyond us. "The Martian," then, debuts at a perfect time to capitalize on this. Andy Weir has written a solid survival thriller, filled with hair-raising adventure, wry humour, and complex but digestible math and science. He presents the train of thought of stranded astronaut, Mark Watney, very logically such that the reader can keep up with the seemingly wacky numbers and implausible plans, and when it might come across too overwhelming, Watney assures readers to "just trust me." And trust him you will, because you will be so taken by his intelligence and resourcefulness that you'll gladly place your life in his hands if you were to be stuck on the red planet with him. That speaks volumes to how relatable and creditable Weir has made his protagonist out to be, through the undoubtedly countless research and his own knowledge of interest as a "lifelong space nerd." The writing style and structure is commendable. Providing various viewpoints from different places and time, "The Martian" is written in the first- and third-person narratives. It alternates from Watney's logs on Mars to the Houston control room to boardrooms and shuttle rec rooms. A holistic picture is thus painted of a life of an astronaut, especially in a time of crisis. Furthermore, Weir describes the unfamiliar terrain and treacherous conditions of Mars vividly, and captures brilliantly the resolve and at times resignations, the elation and frustrations, and the stinging solitude. So much so, I was clutching on to the book with white knuckles sitting at the edge of my seat, heaving sighs and covered in goosebumps most of the time. Movie adaptations of books are contentious, but for the most part, I welcome them because it adds another layer of enjoyment. "The Martian" has Hollywood blockbuster movie written all over it. I kept thinking how cinematic each scene was while reading it; it even read like a screenplay. This is one movie adaptation I would like to see, and when I do, I can proudly say, "I read the book first."
Date published: 2014-01-15

– More About This Product –

The Martian: A Novel

by Andy Weir

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.43 × 6.38 × 1.27 in

Published: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0804139024

ISBN - 13: 9780804139021

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 LOG ENTRY: SOL 6 I’m pretty much fucked. That’s my considered opinion. Fucked. Six days into what should be the greatest two months of my life, and it’s turned into a nightmare. I don’t even know who’ll read this. I guess someone will find it eventually. Maybe a hundred years from now. For the record . . . I didn’t die on Sol 6. Certainly the rest of the crew thought I did, and I can’t blame them. Maybe there’ll be a day of national mourning for me, and my Wikipedia page will say, “Mark Watney is the only human being to have died on Mars.” And it’ll be right, probably. ’Cause I’ll surely die here. Just not on Sol 6 when everyone thinks I did. Let’s see . . . where do I begin? The Ares Program. Mankind reaching out to Mars to send people to another planet for the very first time and expand the horizons of humanity blah, blah, blah. The Ares 1 crew did their thing and came back heroes. They got the parades and fame and love of the world. Ares 2 did the same thing, in a different location on Mars. They got a firm handshake and a hot cup of coffee when they got home. Ares 3. Well, that was my mission. Okay, not mine per se. Commander Lewis was in charge. I was just one of her crew. Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” of the mission if I were the only remaining person. What do you know? I’m in co
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From the Publisher

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he''s sure he''ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won''t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn''t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

About the Author

ANDY WEIR was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.

Editorial Reviews

“ Brilliant …a celebration of human ingenuity [and] the purest example of real-science sci-fi for many years…Utterly compelling.”-- Wall Street Journal “ Terrific stuff, a crackling good read  that devotees of space travel will devour like candy…succeeds on several levels and for a variety of reasons, not least of which is its surprising plausibility.”— USA Today   “ An impressively geeky debut …the technical details keep the story relentlessly precise and the suspense ramped up. And really, how can anyone not root for a regular dude to prove the U-S-A still has the Right Stuff?” -- Entertainment Weekly “ Gripping…[features] a hero who can solve almost every problem while still being hilarious. It’s hard not to be swept up in [Weir’s] vision and root for every one of these characters. Grade: A .”— AVClub.com  “ Andy Weir delivers with The Martian ...a   story for readers who enjoy thrillers, science fiction, non-fiction, or flat-out adventure [and] an authentic portrayal of the future of space travel.” --Associated Press " A gripping tale of survival in space [that] harkens back to the early days of science fiction by masters such as Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke."-- San Jose Mercury News “ One of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time. It feels so real it could almost be nonfiction, and yet it ha
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Bookclub Guide

US

1. How did The Martian challenge your expectations of what the novel would be? What did you find most surprising about it?

2. What makes us root for a character to live in a survival story? In what ways do you identify with Mark? How does the author get you to care about him?

3. Do you believe the crew did the right thing in abandoning the search for Mark? Was there an alternative choice?

4. Did you find the science and technology behind Mark’s problem-solving accessible? How did that information add to the realism of the story?

5. What are some of the ways the author established his credibility with scientific detail? Which of Mark’s solutions did you find most amazing and yet believable?

6. What is your visual picture of the surface of Mars, based on the descriptions in the book? Have you seen photographs of the planet?

7. Who knew potatoes, duct tape, and seventies reruns were the key to space survival? How does each of these items represent aspects of Mark’s character that help him survive?

8. How is Mark’s sense of humor as much a survival skill as his knowledge of botany? Do you have a favorite funny line of his?

9. To what extent does Mark’s log serve as his companion? Do you think it’s implicit in the narrative that maintaining a log keeps him sane?

10. The author provides almost no back story regarding Mark’s life on Earth. Why do you think he made this choice? What do you imagine Mark’s past life was like?

11. There’s no mention of Mark having a romantic relationship on Earth. Do you think that makes it easier or harder to endure his isolation? How would the story be different if he was in love with someone back home?

12. Were there points in the novel when you became convinced Mark couldn’t survive? What were they, and what made those situations seem so dire?

13. The first time the narrative switched from Mark’s log entries to third-person authorial narrative back on Earth, were you surprised? How does alternating between Mark’s point of view and the situation on Earth enhance the story?

14. Did you believe the commitment of those on Earth to rescuing one astronaut? What convinced you most?

15. To what extent do you think guilt played a part in the crew’s choice to go back to Mark? To what extent loyalty? How would you explain the difference?

16. How does the author handle the passage of time in the book? Did he transition smoothly from a day-to-day account to a span of one and a half years? How does he use the passage of time to build suspense?

17. Unlike other castaways, Mark can approximately predict the timing of his potential rescue. How does that knowledge help him? How could it work against him?

18. When Mark leaves the Hab and ventures out in the rover, did you feel a loss of security for him? In addition to time, the author uses distance to build suspense. Discuss how.

19. Where would you place The Martian in the canon of classic space exploration films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apollo 13, and Gravity? What does it have in common with these stories? How is it different?

20. A survival story has to resonate on a universal level to be effective, whether it’s set on a desert island or another planet. How important are challenges in keeping life vital? To what extent are our everyday lives about problem-solving and maintaining hope?

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