The Martian by Andy Weir : A Book Review

martianThe best-seller and awarded the Goodreads  Choice 2014 Winner   and   which is said to have done well  at the box office since  October 02, 2015  is indeed  WORTH READING. I  repeat it is WORTH READING.

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.)


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