First self-published in 2011. Republished in 2014 by Crown Publishing Group.
Andy Weir’s debut novel encapsulates a renewed hope for mankind’s future in space. So much so, that by the time the future sons and daughters of many of you here read this novel, it is not so great a leap to believe that the themes and concepts of The Martian will be as common knowledge as our expeditions to the moon.
Masterfully presented, The Martian is a surprisingly realistic story set in a close future, in which humanity has successfully undertaken return expeditions to Mars. It follows the survival efforts of cheeky botanist/engineer Mark Watney who is left for dead on the red planet after an unexpected storm interrupts the Ares 3 mission. The crew are forced to return to Earth, having lost all communication with Watney. Our protagonist is faced with the haunting reality that he may just become the first person to live and die on Mars. Fortunately, Watney is just the right mix of nerd and wit. It is nothing short of captivating to share in Watney’s plight and witness the characteristically bold and unorthodox gall that saves him from multiple near death situations. Watney creatively takes advantage of his knowledge of plants and chemistry to grow the first ever potato crops on Mars; he manages to produce water and power from a vast understanding of physics and thermodynamics; and he traverses the desert terrain with nothing but an astute grasp of astronomy and the orbital path of Mars’ largest moon, Phobos.
The Martian is an admirably depicted story. It is the fuel of dreams. It is the inspiration for the next generation of space travellers. And it is a consoling interplanetary future in which I want to live.
Purchase The Martian from the Book Depository.
Cover art sourced from Crown Publishing Group.