genre: science fiction
Mark Watley is an astronaut and he's just been left behind on Mars.
And not on purpose.
The Martian is the story of his efforts to survive - his ingenuity and resourcefulness, his mistakes and the disasters that strike that he can't control. It's the story of the world that he's left behind and his crew that is still in space. It's about a desolate planet and what it takes for one human to survive and create a semblance of a life there.
It's pretty dang amazing.
Mark is like a wicked smart McGyver - and most of the book is his log entries told in first person so you really get good doses of his humor. There's also the politics of the space program and the ethics of what we as a nation are willing to give up to save the life of one person. The pacing is very good as is the switching between ground control and the spaceship and Mars - sometimes when we know things before Mark does it's super intense. It is science fiction at its finest, in my opinion - I BELIEVED it. There is a LOT of science talk here - and as much as I'm sure it could all be completely made up, it certainly didn't feel like it. And because of Mark's humor, the science wasn't overwhelming or off-putting either. His language - now, that was something else. He had a particularly foul mouth and although I'd started this as an audiobook I ended up reading it. The narrator is actually very good and the story itself is an awesome read aloud, I just prefer my swears to be on paper instead of in my ears and this one was a doosy on the swears.
I actually want to give this book five stars. I think it deserves it because it is an incredible survival story - like Tom Hanks in Castaway only you're stranded in a land that humans can't even breathe in. And every single thing that could ever be helpful to you has to arrive on a spaceship from actual YEARS away. The science is just completely entertaining and enthralling - where my brain gets stretched and then slowly understands (some of it :) It's got heart and humor and a story I was dying to finish. If you can handle lots of swears, I totally recommend it.