The Martian, now a Hollywood blockbuster starring Matt Damon, is in fact the début novel of author Andy Weir – and what a novel it is.
Unlike your average thriller, most of the action in The Martian takes place, surprise surprise, on Mars. After a storm, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead by his colleagues and left stranded on Mars. He is running out of food and water, but most importantly he has no way of contacting either Earth or his Commander. Instead, Watney must learn to survive, or at the very least log his remaining time alive and alone in the hopes that someday someone might read them.
Now if this doesn’t sound like something that would be up your street, I urge you to reconsider – The Martian is nothing short of amazing. Not only does Weir assume that the reader is intelligent, he also doesn’t shy away from the incredibly technical and scientific aspects of the book. The level of research and detail that has gone into the novel certainly pays off in making the whole scenario believable. Weir’s skilful writing keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, and at no point does it feel out of it’s depth or on the verge of losing the reader in the complexity of the science.
For a daring thriller, The Martian is also refreshingly funny. Watney’s character is interesting, resilient, witty and down to Earth (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun). He hates disco and 70s reruns, but when you’re a million miles or so from Earth, little things can make up for a lot.
So, unless you’re also stranded a million miles away from a bookshop, go out and fetch a copy of The Martian. You will not be disappointed!