The Martian: A Novel

Hardcover | February 11, 2014

byAndy Weir

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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?

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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...

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.

other books by Andy Weir

Seul sur Mars
Seul sur Mars

Mass Market Paperback|Sep 18 2015

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The Martian
The Martian

Audio Book (CD)|Oct 28 2014

$19.68 online$29.99list price(save 34%)
Mars: Mars
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Kobo ebook|May 22 2014

$8.99 online$11.65list price(save 22%)
see all books by Andy Weir
Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.4 × 6.5 × 1.2 inPublished:February 11, 2014Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0804139024

ISBN - 13:9780804139021

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just okay. I bought this book because I wanted to ready the story before seeing the movie. The story line is incredibly descriptive and over-all amazing. I felt I could connect with the main character and easily visualize what was going on. Unfortunately though, there is a LOT of technical science jargon that goes on throughout the entire book. This ultimately had me a little bit bored near the end and I ended up not wanting to finish the book for the story, but just to get it over with and see how the book ended.
Date published: 2016-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Comedic science This book was amazing in all aspects. Not only do you get your scientific, knowledge seeking input, but continuously you get an in depth sarcastic and cometic touch to the world of science. In away it was educational, every step made you feel like you were learning and taking in information you can use if ever caught in a situation, such as being stranded on mars, but at the same time you found yourself admitting "pfft, I have no idea what anything is and would never be able to do this." It was easy to fallow, even with all the scientific talk, thanks to the comedic side which helped even the playing field to make it an overall enjoyable read. Never felt bored and always was excited to see what was about to happened next. An ongoing series of unfortunate events that kept you on your seat till the very end, routing for Watney every single sol on the way.
Date published: 2016-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Great book!!! This will pull on your emotional strings!!
Date published: 2016-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Favorite I saw the trailer for the movie The Martian, and I recognized the name so I bought the book before seeing the movie. I went to school for physics so I adored the book, but even someone who dosent like/understand science will love this book. Yes, its technical, but it absolutely explains and makes you appreciate space travel in reality. Mark Watney is so funny, i loved the dry humor and at the end of the book my heart was pounding as i was reading. Its one of my favorites, I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2016-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! This book is thrilling, emotional, and at some times quite hilarious. I enjoy how the book changes between narration from Mark Watney to conversations back on earth. Well written and I wish Andy Weir had more books like this to read!!
Date published: 2016-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great mixture of science and dry humour! * please note: I flipped back and forth between the paperback and the audio book * I became intrigued by The Martian when I first saw its cover design earlier this year. Although I thought the cover was beautiful, I know that I personally am not a big science fiction reader, so I decided against giving it a try. Fast forward a couple of months and I ended up finding a copy of the novel at a local thrift shop. For $4.99 I couldn’t say no, regardless of whether or not I thought I would enjoy it. Fast forward a little more and the trailer for the soon-to-be-released-film was dropped. It definitely peaked my interest in the story and I figured it was about time to dust off my copy and give it a read. The only problem was that I had a hard time getting through the more technical parts of the story. I decided to put it on hold as I read another book instead. As much as I couldn’t seem to get through The Martian, I hate starting books without finishing them. I read some reviews and a lot of people had the same issues as I did and instead suggested listening to it as an audio book. I figured now would be a good a time as ever to listen to my first audio book and thus I discovered Audible, but more on that later! The Martian tells an incredibly nerve wracking story about an astronaut named Mark Watney who is stranded on Mars…all alone. Just let that sink in for a minute. I don’t know about you, but I would have probably given up on life right then and there. Part of what makes The Martian so amazing is the fact that Mark Watney just does not give up. The odds are completely against this guy, yet he uses his extreme smarts to stay alive. The Martian is extremely well written. Andy Weir does a fantastic job of combining technical, scientific and mathematical complexity with hilarious sarcasm and wit. Personally, I have always been more of a right-side-of-the-brain kind of person, which basically means I was always good at anything to do with The Arts and English, but I was terrible with subjects like Math and Science. While reading/listening to The Martian, I found that my mind kind of drifted when things got technical and believe me, there was A LOT of scientific speak within this novel that went right over my head. Honestly, it all could have been completely made up and I wouldn’t have known the difference. That’s how terrible I was with math and science and how well written this story is. Although there were moments that were hard for me to understand, they were balanced by the hilarious narration of our main character Mark Watney. Mark Watney is full of sarcasm and has a very cynical personality…which kind of reminds me of myself, making Mark Watney a very relatable character for me personally. There are so many quotable moments, which you can see throughout this post, that had me laughing both while reading and listening to this story. The majority of the comic relief comes from Watney, but we have a whole cast of characters ranging from Watney’s crew mates and a few NASA employees back down on Earth that have a few funny moments themselves. The Martian was a story that had me on the edge of my seat (quite literally) up until the very last page. If you can get past all of the science and math, The Martian is an amazingly well written and well thought out story that I highly recommend. If you’re finding it hard to get through, I suggest listening to the audio book as that option worked really well for me. The Martian is definitely for fans of science fiction and space…but maybe not for those who are fans of disco!
Date published: 2015-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome book There are two main things that made this very enjoyable to read. 1. Humour. I was laughing constantly. 2. I never felt the character did something "stupid" which is common in fictional survival stories.
Date published: 2015-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Enjoyable I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It has an interesting path to publication, and you can see the changes it went through as Weir slowly published it on his website. Just as I was getting bored of the Mark Watney show, the story back on earth was introduced and added a much needed dimension to the story that helped keep my interest up. I would highly recommend it. The movie adaptation was excellent as well.
Date published: 2015-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mars Loved this book....showed lots of imagination and easy to read even with all the math and science. Loved all the characters. Great combination of the book and the movie.
Date published: 2015-10-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable read Nice quick easy to read book. While it was a bit far fetched at times I still enjoyed this book. The main character is either the luckiest person alive or the unluckiest depending on how you want to look at it.
Date published: 2015-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mars Expedition, What Could Go Wrong I read a lot of books and a lot of different genres but not a lot of Science fiction. However if all science fiction novels were as engaging and enjoyable and accurate and believable as The Martian, that's all I'd ever spend my precious free time reading. Best time spent reading in a very long time.
Date published: 2015-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! Great book! Interesting, realistic, humorous, with plausible outcomes that are often not in the main character's favor. As is often the case, even better than the movie.
Date published: 2015-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GREAT BOOK. This was a fantastic book. One of the best I've read in a long time. Plenty of humor and scientific accuracy that made laugh and think out loud. So much better than the movie!
Date published: 2015-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent!!! Between the action and technical education there was that subtle humor that made me laugh out loud. Shows the great triumph of the human spirit to survive. I recommend this book to everyone.
Date published: 2015-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read. Good read. Not my usual choice in reading material but glad I gave it a go. Cant wait to watchthe movie and see if they are the same.
Date published: 2015-10-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Adventure for nerds I adored this book! I am a little bit of a nerd, so the science of the story was fascinating to me, but it is not so heavy-handed that a non-nerd would find it tedious or boring. I ignored work and sleep to finish it - I was in the "just one more chapter" zone throughout the book. By now anyone who owns a TV has seen the ads and knows Matt Damon stars in the movie (oh, and the picture of him on the book cover kind of gives it away too). I could hear his voice as Watney throughout the story, especially in the more humorous and snarky passages. I did not find this detracted from my enjoyment, but if you hate Matt Damon, just be warned. The only reason I did not give this 5 stars was the ending. Without giving anything away, I felt like it was a bit rushed, and sort of piled on the drama. I'm not sure how that could be avoided (given that this is a rescue story, after all), but I was just the smallest bit disappointed with the conclusion. With the exception of the last chapter this was 5 stars all the way. I would recommend you start this book on a rainy Friday when you know a) the weather isn't going to break for a few days and b) your chores are done. It will be worth it.
Date published: 2015-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Martian A great read! Just the right mix of techno-speak and action to satisfy all types...nerd & non--nerd!
Date published: 2015-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Fantastic book, extremely engaging. Don't normally like science fiction, but this was one of the best I've read this year.
Date published: 2015-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Supa cool It is VERY COOL! Best book i have read! Also watched the movie! Some bad words which means i give it four stars!
Date published: 2015-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The martian It was a very good story and kept you wanting to keep reading. I thought the ending was a little weak. I would of liked to have read more of their return to earth, but overall it was a good story.
Date published: 2015-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Martian enjoy the time with Mark it is a five star read when I started the book was hard to but down because I knew the issues would never stop.
Date published: 2015-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A start to finish good read! This book was very hard to put down. My attention span isn't up to par but this book made it seem I've been reading books for a long, long time. Definitely worth the buy!
Date published: 2015-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Martian This is an excellent book. It is very readable and thought provoking! It reminds me of old adventure tales to far off lands. It captures the imagination and holds the reader's attention. I certainly recommend it!
Date published: 2015-10-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting I found the book interesting but it was a little like MacGyver on steroid, I will make my finial opinion until after I see the movie
Date published: 2015-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! A really good, fun read. Anyone interested in space exploration will have a ball with this. Sure, some of the engineering stuff gets tedious, but it adds to the overall experience. I think Andy Weir is going to have a hard time topping this one.
Date published: 2015-10-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Very good book but 1 or 2 REALLY dull parts but besides those couple chapters amazing book! Hope the movie is just as good
Date published: 2015-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Impossible to put down....be forewarned you'll lose a day and possibly some sleep. Can't wait to see the movie now.
Date published: 2015-10-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Martian I really enjoyed this book and I'm now ready to see the movie. I enjoy science fiction, but I am not strong in science itself, that being said, the science added to the story rather than took away from it.
Date published: 2015-10-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Contrary to popular beliefs. I was disappointed. The technical minutia is tedious. One disaster after another from start to finish. Some of the fixes he gets out of are more than unrealistic. The ending was unsatisfactory.
Date published: 2015-09-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from loved it! Well written and a very interesting book!
Date published: 2015-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Story of Strength in the Face of Adversity I very much enjoyed this book. I found it to be a great story about the strength of the human will and what we are capable of when united behind a common goal. I found it kept me interested the whole way through and on the edge of my seat wondering exactly how this would all turn out until the very last word. I feel this story gives a lot of good examples of the kind of people humanity should aspire to be like. For those worried about the science parts included in this I didn't find them really difficult to follow along with and if those parts really don't interest you I don't think it takes much away from the story to gloss over those parts. You really don't need to understand the science to understand what is happening or the risks involved. As an avid reader I'd say there were a few minor stumbling blocks but I would still highly recommend this book to others and it has found a place as one of my favourites.
Date published: 2015-09-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Excellent read.. yes very technical at times. I can see it being a bit too much for some.
Date published: 2015-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AWESOME COULDN'T STOP This is by far one of the best books I have read in a long time, finished it in day and I couldn't put it down, awesome, awesome read
Date published: 2015-08-05
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

Extra Content

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, if you’re reading this: It wasn’t your fault. You did what you had to do. In your position I would have done the same thing. I don’t blame you, and I’m glad you survived.I guess I should explain how Mars missions work, for any layman who may be reading this. We got to Earth orbit the normal way, through an ordinary ship to Hermes. All the Ares missions use Hermes to get to and from Mars. It’s really big and cost a lot so NASA built only one.Once we got to Hermes, four additional unmanned missions brought us fuel and supplies while we prepared for our trip. Once everything was a go, we set out for Mars. But not very fast. Gone are the days of heavy chemical fuel burns and trans-Mars injection orbits.Hermes is powered by ion engines. They throw argon out the back of the ship really fast to get a tiny amount of acceleration. The thing is, it doesn’t take much reactant mass, so a little argon (and a nuclear reactor to power things) let us accelerate constantly the whole way there. You’d be amazed at how fast you can get going with a tiny acceleration over a long time.I could regale you with tales of how we had great fun on the trip, but I won’t. I don’t feel like reliving it right now. Suffice it to say we got to Mars 124 days later without strangling each other.From there, we took the MDV (Mars descent vehicle) to the surface. The MDV is basically a big can with some light thrusters and parachutes attached. Its sole purpose is to get six humans from Mars orbit to the surface without killing any of them.And now we come to the real trick of Mars exploration: having all of our shit there in advance.A total of fourteen unmanned missions deposited everything we would need for surface operations. They tried their best to land all the supply vessels in the same general area, and did a reasonably good job. Supplies aren’t nearly so fragile as humans and can hit the ground really hard. But they tend to bounce around a lot.Naturally, they didn’t send us to Mars until they’d confirmed that all the supplies had made it to the surface and their containers weren’t breached. Start to finish, including supply missions, a Mars mission takes about three years. In fact, there were Ares 3 supplies en route to Mars while the Ares 2 crew were on their way home.The most important piece of the advance supplies, of course, was the MAV. The Mars ascent vehicle. That was how we would get back to Hermes after surface operations were complete. The MAV was soft-landed (as opposed to the balloon bounce-fest the other supplies had). Of course, it was in constant communication with Houston, and if there had been any problems with it, we would have passed by Mars and gone home without ever landing.The MAV is pretty cool. Turns out, through a neat set of chemical reactions with the Martian atmosphere, for every kilogram of hydrogen you bring to Mars, you can make thirteen kilograms of fuel. It’s a slow process, though. It takes twenty-four months to fill the tank. That’s why they sent it long before we got here.You can imagine how disappointed I was when I discovered the MAV was gone.It was a ridiculous sequence of events that led to me almost dying, and an even more ridiculous sequence that led to me surviving.The mission is designed to handle sandstorm gusts up to 150 kph. So Houston got understandably nervous when we got whacked with 175 kph winds. We all got in our flight space suits and huddled in the middle of the Hab, just in case it lost pressure. But the Hab wasn’t the problem.The MAV is a spaceship. It has a lot of delicate parts. It can put up with storms to a certain extent, but it can’t just get sandblasted forever. After an hour and a half of sustained wind, NASA gave the order to abort. Nobody wanted to stop a monthlong mission after only six days, but if the MAV took any more punishment, we’d all have gotten stranded down there.We had to go out in the storm to get from the Hab to the MAV. That was going to be risky, but what choice did we have?Everyone made it but me.Our main communications dish, which relayed signals from the Hab to Hermes, acted like a parachute, getting torn from its foundation and carried with the torrent. Along the way, it crashed through the reception antenna array. Then one of those long thin antennae slammed into me end-first. It tore through my suit like a bullet through butter, and I felt the worst pain of my life as it ripped open my side. I vaguely remember having the wind knocked out of me (pulled out of me, really) and my ears popping painfully as the pressure of my suit escaped.The last thing I remember was seeing Johanssen hopelessly reaching out toward me.I awoke to the oxygen alarm in my suit. A steady, obnoxious beeping that eventually roused me from a deep and profound desire to just fucking die.The storm had abated; I was facedown, almost totally buried in sand. As I groggily came to, I wondered why I wasn’t more dead.The antenna had enough force to punch through the suit and my side, but it had been stopped by my pelvis. So there was only one hole in the suit (and a hole in me, of course).I had been knocked back quite a ways and rolled down a steep hill. Somehow I landed facedown, which forced the antenna to a strongly oblique angle that put a lot of torque on the hole in the suit. It made a weak seal.Then, the copious blood from my wound trickled down toward the hole. As the blood reached the site of the breach, the water in it quickly evaporated from the airflow and low pressure, leaving a gunky residue behind. More blood came in behind it and was also reduced to gunk. Eventually, it sealed the gaps around the hole and reduced the leak to something the suit could counteract.The suit did its job admirably. Sensing the drop in pressure, it constantly flooded itself with air from my nitrogen tank to equalize. Once the leak became manageable, it only had to trickle new air in slowly to relieve the air lost.After a while, the CO2 (carbon dioxide) absorbers in the suit were expended. That’s really the limiting factor to life support. Not the amount of oxygen you bring with you, but the amount of CO2 you can remove. In the Hab, I have the oxygenator, a large piece of equipment that breaks apart CO2 to give the oxygen back. But the space suits have to be portable, so they use a simple chemical absorption process with expendable filters. I’d been asleep long enough that my filters were useless.The suit saw this problem and moved into an emergency mode the engineers call “bloodletting.” Having no way to separate out the CO2, the suit deliberately vented air to the Martian atmosphere, then backfilled with nitrogen. Between the breach and the bloodletting, it quickly ran out of nitrogen. All it had left was my oxygen tank.So it did the only thing it could to keep me alive. It started backfilling with pure oxygen. I now risked dying from oxygen toxicity, as the excessively high amount of oxygen threatened to burn up my nervous system, lungs, and eyes. An ironic death for someone with a leaky space suit: too much oxygen.Every step of the way would have had beeping alarms, alerts, and warnings. But it was the high-oxygen warning that woke me.The sheer volume of training for a space mission is astounding. I’d spent a week back on Earth practicing emergency space suit drills. I knew what to do.Carefully reaching to the side of my helmet, I got the breach kit. It’s nothing more than a funnel with a valve at the small end and an unbelievably sticky resin on the wide end. The idea is you have the valve open and stick the wide end over a hole. The air can escape through the valve, so it doesn’t interfere with the resin making a good seal. Then you close the valve, and you’ve sealed the breach.The tricky part was getting the antenna out of the way. I pulled it out as fast as I could, wincing as the sudden pressure drop dizzied me and made the wound in my side scream in agony.I got the breach kit over the hole and sealed it. It held. The suit backfilled the missing air with yet more oxygen. Checking my arm readouts, I saw the suit was now at 85 percent oxygen. For reference, Earth’s atmosphere is about 21 percent. I’d be okay, so long as I didn’t spend too much time like that.I stumbled up the hill back toward the Hab. As I crested the rise, I saw something that made me very happy and something that made me very sad: The Hab was intact (yay!) and the MAV was gone (boo!).Right that moment I knew I was screwed. But I didn’t want to just die out on the surface. I limped back to the Hab and fumbled my way into an airlock. As soon as it equalized, I threw off my helmet.Once inside the Hab, I doffed the suit and got my first good look at the injury. It would need stitches. Fortunately, all of us had been trained in basic medical procedures, and the Hab had excellent medical supplies. A quick shot of local anesthetic, irrigate the wound, nine stitches, and I was done. I’d be taking antibiotics for a couple of weeks, but other than that I’d be fine.I knew it was hopeless, but I tried firing up the communications array. No signal, of course. The primary satellite dish had broken off, remember? And it took the reception antennae with it. The Hab had secondary and tertiary communications systems, but they were both just for talking to the MAV, which would use its much more powerful systems to relay to Hermes. Thing is, that only works if the MAV is still around.I had no way to talk to Hermes. In time, I could locate the dish out on the surface, but it would take weeks for me to rig up any repairs, and that would be too late. In an abort, Hermes would leave orbit within twenty-four hours. The orbital dynamics made the trip safer and shorter the earlier you left, so why wait?Checking out my suit, I saw the antenna had plowed through my bio-monitor computer. When on an EVA, all the crew’s suits are networked so we can see each other’s status. The rest of the crew would have seen the pressure in my suit drop to nearly zero, followed immediately by my bio-signs going flat. Add to that watching me tumble down a hill with a spear through me in the middle of a sandstorm . . . yeah. They thought I was dead. How could they not?They may have even had a brief discussion about recovering my body, but regulations are clear. In the event a crewman dies on Mars, he stays on Mars. Leaving his body behind reduces weight for the MAV on the trip back. That means more disposable fuel and a larger margin of error for the return thrust. No point in giving that up for sentimentality.So that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one days.If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.So yeah. I’m fucked.Chapter 2LOG ENTRY: SOL 7Okay, I’ve had a good night’s sleep, and things don’t seem as hopeless as they did yesterday.Today I took stock of supplies and did a quick EVA to check up on the external equipment. Here’s my situation:The surface mission was supposed to be thirty-one days. For redundancy, the supply probes had enough food to last the whole crew fifty-six days. That way if one or two probes had problems, we’d still have enough food to complete the mission.We were six days in when all hell broke loose, so that leaves enough food to feed six people for fifty days. I’m just one guy, so it’ll last me three hundred days. And that’s if I don’t ration it. So I’ve got a fair bit of time.I’m pretty flush on EVA suits, too. Each crew member had two space suits: a flight spacesuit to wear during descent and ascent, and the much bulkier and more robust EVA suit to wear when doing surface operations. My flight spacesuit has a hole in it, and of course the crew was wearing the other five when they returned to Hermes. But all six EVA suits are still here and in perfect condition.

Bookclub Guide

A castaway story for the new millennium, The Martian presents a fresh take on the classic man-vs-nature battle for survival by setting it on the surface of Mars—a planet completely hostile to sustaining human life. Yet debut novelist and self-proclaimed space nerd Andy Weir manages to make every moment of astronaut Mark Watney’s outer-space ordeal painstakingly realistic and believable.After Mark Watney is injured, separated from his crew in a sandstorm, and left for dead, alone on the red planet and cut off from any communication, his first priority is tending to his injury and making it through the first day—or sol. Soon he realizes he must do more than survive the day—he must plan long-term if he is to live for years until the next mission is due to arrive.At its heart, The Martian is a tale of survival of the geekiest. Mark’s scientific ingenuity, his radically inventive botanical solution to starvation, his ability to address seemingly insurmountable problems with rationality and practicality, his sanity-saving sense of humor, and his understated bravery becomes a moving testament to the human spirit. When the ground team at NASA and his crew discover he is alive, their commitment to rescuing one man against all odds likewise speaks to humanity’s deeply rooted sense of connection.Ultimately, The Martian transcends its undeniable nerdy thrills of how to survive on Mars to celebrate human resilience. We hope the following questions will make your reading group’s experience truly out of this world.US

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’t put down! It has the very rare combination of a good, original story, interestingly real characters and fascinating technical accuracy…reads like “MacGyver” meets “Mysterious Island.”--Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Commander of the International Space Station and author of An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth "The best book I've read in ages. Clear your schedule before you crack the seal. This story will take your breath away faster than a hull breech. Smart, funny, and white-knuckle intense, The Martian is everything you want from a novel."--Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of Wool “The Martian kicked my ass! Weir has crafted a relentlessly entertaining and inventive survival thriller, a MacGyver-trapped-on-Mars tale that feels just as real and harrowing as the true story of Apollo 13.”—Ernest Cline, New York Times bestselling author of Ready Player One “Gripping…shapes up like Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe as written by someone brighter.”--Larry Niven, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Ringworld series and Lucifer’s Hammer“Humankind is only as strong as the challenges it faces, and The Martian pits human ingenuity (laced with more humor than you’d expect) against the greatest endeavor of our time — survival on Mars. A great read with an inspiring attention to technical detail and surprising emotional depth. Loved it!"--Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse“The tension simply never lets up, from the first page to the last, and at no point does the believability falter for even a second. You can't shake the feeling that this could all really happen.”—Patrick Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Breach and Ghost Country  "Strong, resilent, and gutsy. It's Robinson Crusoe on Mars, 21st century style.  Set aside a chunk of free time when you start this one.  You're going to need it because you won't want to put it down."—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The King’s Deception and The Columbus Affair   “An excellent first novel…Weir laces the technical details with enough keen wit to satisfy hard science fiction fan and general reader alike [and] keeps the story escalating to a riveting conclusion.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred)"Riveting...a tightly constructed and completely believable story of a man's ingenuity and strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds."--Booklist“Sharp, funny and thrilling, with just the right amount of geekery…Weir displays a virtuosic ability to write about highly technical situations without leaving readers far behind. The result is a story that is as plausible as it is compelling.”—Kirkus "Weir combines the heart-stopping with the humorous in this brilliant debut novel...by placing a nail-biting life-and-death situation on Mars and adding a snarky and wise-cracking nerdy hero, Weir has created the perfect mix of action and space adventure."--Library Journal (starred)   “A perfect novel in almost every way, The Martian may already have my vote for best book of 2014.”—Crimespree Magazine “A page-turning thriller…this survival tale with a high-tech twist will pull you right in.”—Suspense Magazine