The Martian

I finished The Martian last night. I’m a fairly fast reader, but I usually read several things at once, so it takes a while to finish things. Not this time. I started the book last Sunday, read two thirds that day, another 75 pages on Monday night, and because of schedule issues, finished it last night. In short, I really love this book. I tweeted after finished it, “Holy fucking shit is that a good book and I may have teared up a bit at the end.”

Right from the very first line, the book drew me in. I’m going to admit a few things that probably make me predisposed to like it though. I am a space geek, I go star gazing and wonder about what’s beyond this planet a lot. And space travel, I find it fascinating. So the idea of someone being stuck on Mars, well, it intrigues me.

But, that being said, I loved this book more for the main character and tone of writing than anything else. It is hilarious. The character of Mark Watney is one that I grew to love and cheer on as he tries to survive. And that’s what made the book so great to me. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending got me emotional, which is honestly rare for a book these days.

And, if the book weren’t great enough, the story of how Andy Weir wrote it is also fantastic. He released it for free as a serial on his website first, then did a Kindle book since it was in demand, but sold it for the cheapest price, and then in one week sold the movie rights and print rights. I’m a bit dubious about the movie, but I will admit, the first trailer makes it look good, we’ll see what happens.

My one and only quote (and if you watch the trailer, it’s in that as well):

Part of it might be what I represent: progress, science, and the interplanetary future we’ve dreamed of for centuries. But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true.
If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in ever culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do. And because of that, I had billions of people on my side.