If you have not read it yet and have been curious about why it is such a big talk in the Goodreads universe, I would like you to bear in mind first some reminders before you prep it- but not necessarily that you take them; I know you would still give it a try at any cost out of idle curiosity.
You should be ready that reading it requires a paucity of MATH and other branches of science such as CHEMISTRY, ASTRONOMY, ENGINEERING, PHYSICS , BOTANY, to name a few unless you majored in one of them. Otherwise, you might end up in a moment of epistaxis and cerebral hemorrhage. In other words, the novel is strewn with technical words. Therefore, make sure that you have internet connection at your disposal to Google some words beyond your imagination. In doing so can help you understand the story more clearly.
The concept of the story is very new to me, for it may be my second Sci-Fi. The last one was the Contact by Carl Sagan. I had enjoyed it at first since I was not completely familiar with all stuff in the universe. However, I lost my interest in its book cover edition; I was very choosy then. (Uh-oh! Beggars cannot be choosers.) Then, I could no longer get around to it.
An astronaut is stranded on Mars when it just happens that he is not able to leave it with his other crews in the midst of the sandstorm. In order to survive the red planet, he will use his vast knowledge of Botany and Engineering as well as his wide training and experience in Astronomy. Each day is perilous for Mark as if he walks with a tight rope.
Admittedly, I was close to demoting it to 3 stars ( Not that bad. I still liked it ) for the three reasons:
- I did not like the writing style, let alone its prose. It is brusque in context despite the fact that it is pregnant with jargon. ( But I know there is nothing wrong with brusque language ; it could still be an art. Probably, it is not my cup of tea. I am more used to classic writings just the like of award-winning writers’. You know what I meant to say. ^^) Nevertheless, in the end, I realized that Andy Weir’s intention is to voice what a devastating life of an astronaut stuck on such barren and dreary planet is like . ( If I am not mistaken!)
- Although I enjoyed the parts in the beginning, of how Mark Wanty sorts his dilemma out, the longer he describes his some problems , the more I find them a pain in the ass. In short, they were taxing me too.
- The plot of the story is banal and typical of other there-should-be-on-the-rescue-scenes science fictions.
On the other hand, I can’t forbear from lavishing praise on it:
- Indeed, it is spell-binding. Every page is so enthralling that I could no longer recognize the people around me, that I was not aware of them, of my environment at all. (laughs)
- I liked its ending. It does not need to show that Mark Wanty will have a tear-jerking hero’s welcome as soon as he is back on Earth. The last breath-taking scene of how he gets aboard and his final journal are enough to bring a thousand words. Weir might have been aware that readers are already familiar with that schematic denouement.
- I learned a whole lot about science. In fact, I feel like studying Astronomy. (blushing) I am now very interested in studying the heavenly bodies. All the things about Cosmo, NASA, space exploration, thingamabob. Wow! What an interesting field!
- The theme is very purely scientific. It focuses just on Mars probe. As far as we know, Mars has been the favorite hobbyhorse among scientists in the hypothesis that whether there is a high chance to live on this planet or not.
- It is very scientifically detailed. Obviously, Andy Weir researched about Mars and NASA thoroughly, especially the problems on Mars Mark Wanty has to sort out such as on how to produce water and oxygen , plant , repair the machines , blah blah blah . Wow, I was impressed. Kudos to him! ^_^
- Despite its typically there-should-be-on-the-rescue-scenes story, the epistolary writing riddled with technical words did the justice. So, I can’t say that there is nothing new to it. Rather, I highly recommend it to everyone, notably to students who have been taught the Creationism.
Upon reading it, I would like to conclude that:
- The book awkwardly suggests that China has hidden ambition to compete with the USA in the field of space exploration. The good thing is that China has not given Andy Weir a brunt of criticism nor even declared him persona non grata yet. Perhaps Weir also suggests that China has the capacity to keep up with the modern technology despite the world’s stereotype about made-in-China products.
- The book suggests the perpetual debate among theists and atheists whether God exists or not.
- The book suggests that sometimes NASA or science itself has limitations; scientific analyses could be invalid, but nothing is impossible.
- The book suggests that we, the world, at any cost, is raring to spend billions of dollars on space exploration. (Paradoxically, there is a widespread famine in some parts of the world.)
- The book suggests that we could be optimistic in a dire situation. ( I doubt it. ) Probably yes, since we have the survival instinct. But gee, if I were Mark Watney, probably no! since I am not that as genius as he is.( laughs)
- The book suggests that we should use our “common sense” as well as need to be knowledgeable about science at all times if the need rises.
- The book suggests that a human being has a basic instinct to help one another out as what Mark Watney exemplifies at the end of the book :
“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 every 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.”
Well, no doubt it has received positive feedback, so the British magazine site ,The Guardian , should put it on the new pedestal of 1001 Best Novels of All Time.
Since I am done with it, I am all systems go for its movie adaptation, especially the actor who leads the role of Mark Watney is one of my favorite Hollywood actors, Matt Damon. 13 13 13 ^_^
Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it.)