Tried to make it as unspoilery as possible, but naturally you can’t talk about a plot without actually discussing a plot.
As part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I want to read 50 books this year, and The Martian is number 1/50. Admittedly, it’s a weeny bit of a cheat, as I started reading it before Christmas, but it was sooooo looooooong (and I was filled with festive joy, spirit (of the alcohol variety) and binge-ing on Christmas films, so time to read was sparse…)
Anyway, I think this might have been part of the problem – I was averaging about 10% a day, which is slower than usual for me once I get my teeth in to a book…but it’s a bit of a difficult read if I’m honest.
ALL THE JARGON. And I mean ALL the jargon. Yeah, I know, it’s about a guy stuck on Mars (come on, that’s not really a spoiler) but from MAV to electrodes to de-hydrogenizing things, to explosions to repairing space suits…I was baffled. It’s a really interesting story, that I’m sure takes some scientific liberties (but I was so baffled by jargon that I couldn’t tell you what was possible and what wasn’t), but it’s all a weeny bit overwhelming.
The main character, Mark Watney, copes remarkably well in an extraordinary set of circumstances, though I guess a) NASA wouldn’t have chosen him for a space mission if he would fall apart at a minor blip and b) it would be a shit book.
Still, he has a better attitude to nearly dying several times than most – and is remarkably upbeat for someone left in complete solitude for over a year. He’s a funny guy, with a hatred of disco (best I tell you that one now, it’s not like he mentions it seventy times in the book).
The plot is also a little annoying, and it’s not the realism of it that’s a problem (as we’ve established, I haven’t got a clue how scientifically possible any of it is) but the “rinse and repeat” nature of it all. Watney is upbeat. Watney faces mortal peril. Watney combats mortal peril with his super duper smart stuff. Watney is upbeat. Oh no, Watney faces mortal peril again, but it’s OK, he’s going to fix it with his super duper smart stuff.
Yeah, got a bit bored of that.
By the end, it was a miracle to just finish the thing.
All in all, preferred the film – and my Goodreads rating was 3/5.