The Martian: A Novel

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The Martian: A Novel

by Andy Weir

Crown/Archetype | February 11, 2014 | Hardcover

The Martian: A Novel is rated 3.9333 out of 5 by 15.
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, 9.39 × 6.49 × 1.27 in

Published: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

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 5 out of 5 by from I could not put this down!! This book is amazing! It's the adventure of a lifetime without having to walk out your front door!
Date published: 2015-06-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book. It was great, it was funny but so "down to earth" (pun intended) with the writing. It was a story of hope and dispair and human spirit. 90% recommend.
Date published: 2015-06-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great summer read! To be honest, I haven’t read a novel in over 5 years. So it was by chance that I found this book my wife had purchased some time ago and had not gotten around to read, yet. Very enjoyable. Over the last two years, I have been noticing the number of survival-in-the-wild type shows that have popped up on television, such as “Dude, You’re Screwed”, “Naked and Afraid” and “Mountain Men”. Some of these shows, I hate to admit can be addictive, drawing quite blatantly on the “man vs. nature” narrative. This book just feeds my need for that sort of story completely. What would you do if you found yourself alone, abandoned by your crew on Mars? How would you use the materials at hand and your own knowledge to survive until someone could pick you up? This book is follows the ups and downs of a lost astronaut as he tries to find a way home. There are successes and set backs throughout the story which will leave you wanting to see what comes next and whether he will ever be rescued. Fantastic book for the summer.
Date published: 2015-06-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fun Read A little too technical at times, but enjoyable.
Date published: 2015-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST BOOK EVER! Not what I expected. There are many other books out there about mars, but all are about alien encounters. This book took it a step further which made it feel more real than science fiction. The science parts greatly added to my prior knowledge of space and matter. Loved every part and I would encourage everyone to read it.
Date published: 2015-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a great story I'm able to read about science, (yet I'm not a scientist, or work in a lab) and I was able to follow the story 99% of the time. When I didn't, it didn't matter. I actually read the last few pages instead of doing a last minute review for a work related exam- and I didn't regret doing so! Overall, this is a creative story, creative writing and Mark Watney's overall attitude make me cheer for the guy from page 1. I read it in 3 days. :) I'll read it again this summer.
Date published: 2015-03-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Martian The first thing you should know: If you are not a math or science geek, you will skim many sections of this book. The second thing you should know: If you are not familiar with 1970s TV, music or movies, you might miss out on some of the cultural references. The third thing you should know: In November 2015, you will be able to watch Matt Damon star in the movie version of this story. This is a good thing. I need to give you the back story behind why I came to read this book, because it is not the kind of book I would usually read. My son is a fussy reader. When he was about eight years old, I tried to encourage him to read all the kinds of books boys his age read: Geronimo Stilton, Hardy Boys. He said to me: "Why would I want to read about something that's not real?" Okay, so he's into non-fiction, I get that. Still I try. So this past Christmas I challenged two guys at the local bookstore: "Recommend a book that my son will not be able to put down," I said. "The Martian," they both replied. My son received his copy of the book for Christmas. When he sat down to read it in the lull of holiday break, his body language did not reassure me. He rolled his eyes some. He set it down regularly. "So, what do you think?" I asked. "He's so . . . so . . . stupid," he replied. Huh. Given that story is about an astronaut, I wasn't sure how that could be, and my husband was curious too, so he gave the book a try. As he was reading, I said, "So? What do you think?" "I'm not sure how he could say this guy is stupid," he replied. "The main character is a genius. I really like this book." So, I had to read it for myself. The deciding vote. The first thing I noticed was that Andy Weir really, really wants his geek audience members to know the mathematical and scientific plausibility of this story. Gobs and gobs of math and science fill the pages. I started skimming. There's a reason I'm not making my living laboratories. I said to my husband (no math whiz, himself), "Didn't you find it kind of math and science heavy?" "Oh, I just skimmed those parts, he said. Okay then. I carried on. At the ends of scenes or chapters, Weir throws in jokes about Three's Company, and disco and The Dukes of Hazzard and such things. My son, born in the late 1990s, would not know the finer points of the Chrissy or Cindy Three's Company debate, or that General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard was a car, so I could see how that humour would be lost on him. And I suspect that if my son were to participate in a mission to Mars, he is the type who would take the assignment very, very seriously, and he would not include boobies (•) (•) in his communications with NASA, so I guess that's why he drew the "He's so . . . so . . . stupid" conclusion. In the end, I laughed out loud at the jokes, especially the boobies, and I skimmed the gobs of math and science, and I liked the story. When Hollywood gets hold of this, they will synthesize the math and science into palatable bites, and they will light Matt Damon beautifully, and they will make one fun and interesting movie.
Date published: 2015-02-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Don't Shoot the Messenger! Wow! The first few pages I was actually hooked and couldn’t wait to read the entire book. However it quickly changed to nothing more than chemistry/botany lessons for the next several chapters and beyond, which soon became mind numbing. I really must start paying attention to the one and two star ratings because they were so accurate on this book and many had stopped reading within the first few chapters (lucky them). I carried on thinking there must be more to this book having received so much hype. Nope! I was going to give it 2 stars for effort and the actual story line was a good idea, but after laboring almost to the end it really is only a 1 star at best. Don’t waste your time or money on this one. If still considering buying be sure and read all the 1 and 2 stars ratings. I’ll be doing that from now on.
Date published: 2014-12-16
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

The Martian: A Novel

by Andy Weir

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.39 × 6.49 × 1.27 in

Published: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0804139024

ISBN - 13: 9780804139021

Read from the Book

Chapter 1LOG ENTRY: SOL 6I’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 command.I wonder if this log will be recovered before the rest of the crew die of old age. I presume they got back to Earth all right. Guys,
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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 has the narrative drive and power of a rocket launch. This is Apollo 13 times ten.”--Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Impact and Blasphemy “A book I just couldn’
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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?