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The Martian, by Andy Weir

This review is from staff at Bath Central Library.

Six astronauts working on Mars are suddenly hit by a massive storm causing them to evacuate the planet, unfortunately during this storm one of the six, Mark Watney gets left behind.

Now he is stranded on Mars alone with every other human thinking he’s dead and no way to tell them otherwise. Mark must overcome the odds (and huge engineering and survival challenges) to make it back home alive.

I loved this book. I was lucky in that I first read it before seeing the film (starring Matt Damon, 2015) which meant that I came to it with no clear pictures in my head of how life on Mars would look. The story is funny and compelling with just enough science to make it sound totally plausible but not so much that it made me put it down and wander off to find snacks.

Mark’s story is narrated by the character himself in a diary entry format which give lots of great insight to problem solving and how he manages his situations, something I feel the movie lacked and which is why I think it makes the book better than the film.

I found that it made me think about Mars and the huge task of reaching such a distant planet and also just the very real rigours of space exploration in a way I hadn’t before.

Once I had finished reading the book I downloaded an audio-book edition which I have to say is brilliant and if anything this actually works better as an audio-book than in any other format. If you have the chance I would highly recommend listening to it.

I have re-listened to The Martian several times and it’s a firm favourite. With so many us feeling isolated and lonely its somehow comforting to hear this story of one man’s determination…Plus at least we aren’t having to grow potatoes in our own…. (If you listen to the book, you’ll know how this ends!)

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