Sunday, 11 October 2015

Book Review - The Martian by Andy Weir | ★★★★★

Mark Watney is an astronaut participating in the third manned journey to Mars along with five other people. The mission is planned to take 31 days on Mars´ surface, to observe the planet and make experiments, such as testing the ability of growing plants, etc. 

On day six, the Ares 3 crew gets caught in a massive storm and NASA gives the order to abort the mission. Unfortunately, Watney gets hit by flying debris during evacuation and is presumed dead by the rest of the crew. 

With very extremely big amounts of luck, he survives but has to way to tell anyone, because the communication system to get in contact with Earth or his crew, who is on it´s way home already, was destroyed during the storm.

He quickly gets count of all his resources, which include a habitat, rations for six for 50 days, 300 liters of water, an oxygenator, which produces oxygen from carbon dioxide and two rovers. The next scheduled Mars mission is four years away, and Watney has only 300 days to live. 
“Each crewman had their own laptop. So I have six at my disposal. Rather, I had six. I now have five. I thought a laptop would be fine outside. It’s just electronics, right? It’ll keep warm enough to operate in the short term, and it doesn’t need air for anything. It died instantly. The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.” 
Either he finds a way to increase the amount of food, restore communication with earth (What´s the point in surviving if nobody knows you did?) and then create a plan to travel 3200 km to the place where the next Mars mission will take place or, if all hopes in surviving are lost, he overdoses himself with all the morphine stored in the Hab. 
“It’s a strange feeling. Everywhere I go, I’m the first. Step outside the rover? First guy ever to be there! Climb a hill? First guy to climb that hill! Kick a rock? That rock hadn’t moved in a million years! I’m the first guy to drive long-distance on Mars. The first guy to spend more than thirty-one sols on Mars. The first guy to grow crops on Mars. First, first, first!” 
I couldn´t stop reading this book. I was extremely fascinated by the character of Mark Watney. In all his misery, he never lost his humour. That was only one reason of many that made you believe in and care about the hero within the first two pages, so you worry about him and can’t bring yourself to put the book down. I did put it down to go to sleep, but ten minutes after I put the light out, I had to turn it on again, to continue reading. I stopped eventually, when it was 4 a.m. and I had finished the book.
“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped.” 
“I can't wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!”  
The time line of the story was easy to follow, even though it juggles between actions on Mars, Earth and Hermes, the craft where the rest of Watney´s crew are travelling back to earth.

The story never gets boring. There is always something new that Watney tries to do in order to survive, some neck-breaking stunts or some easy repairing work that doesn´t come out as planned. The pressure to survive never eases and you rarely find yourself NOT thinking about this book!
“If ruining the only religious icon I have leaves me vulnerable to Martian vampires, I'll have to risk it.”
It has clearly earned five stars, it is just amazing. I recommend this book to everyone! Nothing more to say other than show you one more hilarious quote from the book :)
(But seriously...go read won´t regret it!)
“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.” 
LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”