Leigh Charlton, News Editor
“LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.” -Andy Weir, The Martian
Those are the thoughts you have when you’re stranded, alone, on a planet millions of miles from human civilization, like Mark Watney from The Martian by Andy Weir.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, The Martian has been one of the hottest science-fiction novels, and more recently, movies, of the past few years. The book centers around a mission to Mars taking place a few years into the future. Six astronauts make the journey together, but when a freak storm forces them to evacuate, only five make it off the Red Planet. Botanist Mark Watney was struck down during the emergency evacuation, presumed dead, and abandoned. When he regains consciousness, he finds himself completely alone on a planet millions of miles from Earth. Thus begins the epic journey to bring him home while he struggles to survive alone on Mars.
The book is narrated from several different perspectives- in the third person at NASA and onboard the space shuttle, and in the first person by Watney on Mars. It effectively combines science and gallows humor in what I think is one of the funniest books I have ever read. Some people may find it boring, because it does include some descriptions of the chemistry and other processes he used to survive. I think that the general consensus is that areas of the book were too “science-y.” However, The Martian is ultimately comprised of a brilliant and creative plot, in-depth research, and a cynical, relatable humor.