Mark Watney is a botanist astronaut at NASA. He is part of their third expedition to Mars – one that goes badly wrong – leaving him dead on the planet, and his former crew mates heading back to Earth. Except, he is not dead. He’s just alone, out of communication, and in a hell of a bind. How does he survive long enough to be around for the arrival of the next planned mission? And how does he tell Earth he is ready and waiting to be rescued?
In short, this book is a blast. It’s got a great situation, a central character with a sense of humor, and an ability to solve puzzles that will impress you. There’s a lot of science, some arithmetic, and a huge sense of wonder packaged into the story. Think Robinson Crusoe meets the New Scientist.
There may be times when the explanations seem like too much. But full credit to the author who does not shy away from giving chapter and verse about how to solve each challenge. Some solutions however…ah, we’ll leave it at that.
The politics and the Earth side part of the tale are done well. The parts that are skated over are not essential tyhe story, and I think the author did a great job of maintaining focus on telling the tale, while informing but not boring his readers.
If you have any interest in science, or space exploration, grab this book quick. It’s fun, smart, and sharply observed. Not your average science fiction tale.