The Martian is a science fiction novel set in the not-too-distant-future during the first steps of humanity’s journey towards the planet Mars. Mark Watney, the book’s main protagonist, is a botanist among the first astronauts to land on Mars, the ARES III crew. However, their mission is cut short as a massive sandstorm crashes down on their base. In an attempt to evacuate the planet, Mark Watney is whisked away in a horrific accident, forcing the ARES crew to leave him behind. Alone in the harshest places known to mankind, readers are introduced to a foreign world of peril and emptiness like the lone wanderer, Watney. Mark Watney, equipped with his snarky attitude and rockstar-like wit, must surpass many obstacles and work new ways to survive Mars’ unforgiving landscape and dwindling supplies while NASA and Watney’s own crew create a plan to get him back home.
Most of the book follows Watney on the Martian planet as he super-renovates his Martian habitat while we connect to him more personally in this trying time. The pacing is great as the characters are always presented with new challenges, both physically and mentally, while cracking some well-executed jokes. The novel’s characters are all enjoyable and relatable, although their characterization becomes stale as the story progresses.
The Martian is a love-letter to sci-fi readers as the story is packed with carefully-crafted writing while leaving a sombre note on the idea of humanity. In conclusion, Andy Weir’s The Martian is a great novel that gets readers excited about space travel and its future. Although at times the book’s quality gets blunt, it never fails to pick itself up with a fantastic and rewarding story. -Joshua G.