‘The Martian’ is a brillaint, insightful read

The Martian is a brillaint, insightful read

What originally was a six-person crew, 30-day assignment is now a one-man, several-year survival mission. After a dust storm on Mars forces Mark Watney to be stranded from his crew, for being thought dead, he commences a scientific quest to survive. And as always, space doesn’t cooperate.

It’s a miracle that the astronaut is even alive, let alone surviving long enough on Mars, which is believed to be inhabitable, to be able to get back home to Earth.

The story is told through Watney’s journal log entries, that he starts just for the sake of recording his doings. The next mission to Mars won’t happen for another four years and Watney has to figure out how to survive until then.

“The Martian” is a story is full of heart.

One would think that consequential death would call for depressing times but instead, readers are met with humor. Watney isn’t oblivious to the fact that every decision he makes may cost him his life. He actually uses that detail as a punchline from time to time. In fact, Watney’s motto goes along the lines of “my situation sucks, but I need to deal with it.”

The transitions of his log entries and his cultural references just make you want to bark out laughing. Watney is one of the most entertaining protagonists I’ve ever encountered. He’s sarcastic, and sassy. I mean, what’s not to love?

Rather than letting his fate be decided for him, he puts himself to work in order to not die. As the botanist and the engineer, Watney has to remember all of his skills and knowledge of chemistry, entropy, and of course, astronomy to remain alive.

The story is intense and gut wrenching. On a planet that’s barely been traversed on, anything can go wrong. Watney is constantly faced with life-threatening situations that he has to overcome through application of science and his sensational wit. It’s absolutely gripping. As clichè as it sounds, I had trouble putting the book down.

Andy Weir goes in emotional depth, introducing this contemporary side of astronauts and NASA that is heartfelt.

Science is usually my least favorite topic — that I vehemently dread, but reading it through Watney’s point of view was enjoyable. I actually looked forward to the log entries because Watney’s record of thoughts broke down his experimenting which allowed for more a distinct image.8

The great supporting characters embellishes the novel. There’s more than one point of view being shared, the people who are not on Mars (or working to get Watney back) and the log entries). “The Martian” smoothly switches off from first person to third person. It adds a great load of depth and suspense to the already insightful story.

What I love about this book is how realistic it is. Not only are the science and technical details superb, but the characters are so relatable. They’re selfish, they curse, they make mistakes and despite some of them being minor characters, their personalities are vivid and inventive. Weir really emphasizes the fact that the geniuses behind the work are ordinary people doing their jobs. Actual people live through these experiences. It’s an admirable aspect that works exceptionally well.

Ironically, I find it bit amusing that the main antagonist is the Red Planet itself.

It’s subtly brilliant how Weir has the reader internally rooting for Watney by the end of the book. If you decide to read this, expect to get hooked. It without a doubt, satisfies all audiences.

It’s going to be pretty difficult to find another book that will come close to impressing me after reading to this new favorite.