“Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but i’m not dead, so it’s a win.”
You know, for a book that should be pretty horrifying (trapped on another planet, with little chance for survival and no way of communicating with Earth…) The Martian is HILARIOUS. Mark Watney is a fun character – he’s resilient, he’s insanely smart (I mean, duh. Astronaut.) and he has a dry sense of humor that translates so well on the page.
“I guess you could call it a “failure,” but I prefer the term “learning experience.””
One of my favorite things about The Martian is that it feels real. It feels…possible. Granted, I know basically nothing about the logistics of space travel. Or physics. Or…botany. But nothing in this felt so ridiculous that it couldn’t be maybe somewhat plausible. You can tell that Weir at least did a little bit of research (or he’s smart enough to make something completely ridiculous seem totally legit). I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot because I knew very little about this going in – so some parts were a complete surprise.
Now of course The Martian isn’t perfect. It can be a little repetitive at times. Watney doesn’t seem to exhibit any signs of trauma despite being alone on Mars and facing multiple, devastating setbacks. I’m not sure if that makes Watney inspiring, unrealistic or maybe an idiot. But if you throw those expectations out the window, you’ll get to enjoy an optimistic tale of survival in space against all odds.
One more criticism: there are a few uses of the term “ghetto” that pinged as problematic to me. Granted, this book is a few years old…but it’s not THAT old. It didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book, but it did pull me out of the reading experience for a second and make me roll my eyes.