Speculative Fiction Book Review Blogger
My reading horizons consist of Paranormal, Paranormal, and more Paranormal. So, when another reviewer fervently recommended this SciFi audiobook to me, I was skeptical. However, past experience has taught me not to ignore my fellow bloggers, and that served me well once again because THE MARTIAN was outstanding! This genre isn’t my forte, and Math was always my weakest subject in school, but pair them with Andy Weir’s writing & R.C. Bray’s narration, and soon you too will be endorsing this title with zeal.
This story is told via a series of log entries from Mark Watney’s POV, with intermittent JPL/NASA, Hermes, etc narratives. It was funny, dire, hopeful, scientific, and so much more. The protagonist makes good use of his mechanical engineering & botanist background which lead to a lot of technical jargon that even laymen like me could appreciate. The hero’s fight for survival was one that every human can relate to, and his ability to laugh in the face of adversity was oftentimes the difference between life & death.
You’d think that a novel that’s restricted to a habitat, a rover, and a deserted planet as locales, and one character all by his lonesome would get tedious in the long run, but if you’re Weir that’s all you need. Mark Watney made this book for me with his sarcastic sense of humour, and MacGyver-like ingenuity. His last name really should have been Murphy because anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment. From magic duct tape, to pondering the accurateness of Aquaman, to solving terminal velocity à la Iron Man; you will fall in love with Watney.
I can’t say with utmost certainty, but I’m 99.9% positive that the calculations would have bored me to tears if it weren’t for R.C. Bray’s enthusiastic performance. The protagonist celebrates victories with yays, and setbacks with boos, and those emotions came through loud and clear in Bray’s tone. Saving Mark eventually became a world-wide effort, and as a result, the narrator had to cycle through tons of accents including Hindu, German & Chinese, and he aced them all. Unless you’re a whiz, I’d recommend listening over reading to most.
THE MARTIAN was passed on to me, and now it’s my turn to do the same for you. You’re welcome.
The story starts with an impossible to survive situation which contrary to all expectations the hero of the story survives. Now here's where the really amazing part comes into play; everything in the entire story is based upon reality. Nothing is contrived. Nothing is left to good luck or contrived circumstances. The author simply utilizes the likely NASA's good planning and sheer brilliance on his own part to show how a sufficiently resourceful man could survive being marooned on Mars. This is the amazing thing to me so I'll say it again - nothing is contrived. The author makes use of an entirely plausible set of conditions and thinks up ways that the individual challenges involved in surviving the conditions of Mars are met and dealt with. Unlike any other book I've ever read that dealt with a similar plot line this one had zero, I repeat, zero, none, nada, a complete and total lack of questionable assumptions, plot twists or unexplained 'magic happens here' events to make a problem just go away. Instead, the author brilliantly first poses and then disposes of one problem after another in a fashion that is completely and totally logical and plausible. I am in awe of the sheer brilliance of the story.
I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!
Admittedly, The Martian was on and off my Wish List so many times!! I'd hear great things about it, then read the premise and think "not for me". It crossed my radar again recently, and I happened to see almost 4000 reviews with an average of 4+ stars--I took a chance.
And I loved it!! The story was great, original, and very well written. And the narration was perfect. I am truly not a science person, and the physics and chemistry were still going over my head a bit, but that aspect of the story was written well enough that I totally got the gist of what was going on, even if I couldn't pass a test on it by the end :)
I am very glad I chose to listen to this book. It could have been boring and scientific, but was in fact entertaining and fun. I highly recommend to all--
This is hands down 5 star book.
This is an amazing book. Book captures the attention of the reader from the start and it does not let go till the end.
It is a survival story of an astronaut (Mark) who is accidentally abandoned at Mars. It starts it seems hopeless that as a reader I didn't see any hope for a person to survive any long period of time on Mars. But, as book progresses, Mark breaks down his needs and resources that would keep him alive. Book is written/narrated in such a fashion that I felt that I was with Mark on the desolate planet.
Author did a great job of describing the technical / environmental challenges Mark faced, and then the explanation of how these challenges were solved by Mark with his technical knowledge along with his ingenuity and courage. I really enjoyed how Mark figured out the storm’s direction: ) (trying not to give away too much)
Sense of humor is great as well. Mark’s comments about 70’s music to DND’s magic spell are outright funny to hilarious
More than anything, book describes what makes us human. Mark sets an inspirational example of human will to live and not giving up against tremendous odds. There is plenty of narrative about how humanity came together to help him get off the planet. What stand out is that being stranded on Mars was that Mark was not afraid of death, but rather dying alone.
I was cheering for Mark throughout the book, and I highly recommend this to seasoned listeners to new sci fi readers. Narration is tremendous as well.
This book should've been awful and dull. It's full of hard science and a guy alone on Mars. But I couldn't drag myself away from it. It's funny and engrossing and fascinating and thrilling. I took long lunch breaks because I didn't want to stop listening. I was nearly cheering out loud at certain points.
Can't wait for the movie!
Say something about yourself!
I loved this audible recording. I listened to it twice (I've never done that before) and bought the hard copy for my family. I've recommended it to 20 people in person. Totally out of my genre, too!
ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance
If it weren't for Watneys F bombs, this would be a good family book..the excitement of the story builds slowly as Watney Macguyver's his way to survival after being left for dead in an emergency.
As the daughter of an aerospace engineer I wish my dad could have listened to this story..the science is excellent and the problem solving Watney and the JPL folk go thru to rescue him.
One of the best audio books I've heard on Audible. I seldom rate any book 5stars..it takes a pretty good novel for me to award 5 stars This well narrated story rates 10 stars IMHO
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
A rare foray into fiction for me, and one I didn’t at all regret. In the not-too-distant future, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded alone on Mars when his fellow astronauts abandon him, believing that he had died in a Martian hurricane.
Our hero Mark is a pretty resourceful character, and he keeps on thinking of new ways to survive, cooking up ingenious solutions when repeatedly confronted by seemingly hopeless setbacks and tribulations. He manages to find a way to communicate with NASA, who then spend a sum of money that would have comfortably wiped out global poverty in trying to save this one man. But it seems like the right thing to do, in this space version of Saving Private Ryan.
Is the book just a teensy-weensy bit farfetched? Well, maybe, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable and an absolute page-turner from start to finish. Give it a go.
Wow - just finished The Martian! I feel like I've been to Mars. Out of the hundreds of audio books I have listened to, this is absolutely in my Top 10. Even Top 5. The whole book just resonated with me. Every day I could not wait to see what new calamity and solution our hero would come up with. But it was done so realistically that it could have been non-fiction. And Andy Weir gave the main character such a snarky sense of humor that it was laugh-out-loud funny in many places.
I think this book will be especially wonderful if you are interested in science and engineering, but I don't think it is mandatory. As others have stated, just being able to enjoy MacGyver is probably good enough (though this is far, far higher quality that anything MacGyver ever did).
I expect I will be listening to it again very soon!
By the time humans finally do set foot on Mars, The Martian should be considered a sci-fi classic. The fiction is interesting, and the science behind the plot lines seems solid.
I hesitated to purchase The Martian because I was concerned about reading/listening to a lengthy series of journal entries. Much of the novel IS written as a series of log posts, but Andy Weir has used ingenious plot devices to ensure that is not a problem. The novel remains interesting throughout. In fact, I almost hated for it to end; the last part of the book felt rushed and, I felt, could have been filled out more fully. This is a thoroughly entertaining novel.
The narration was adequate. R.C. Bray's accents were good. However, the use of an 'effeminate' voice for one of the female characters was unfortunate and caused me to deduct one star in my rating.
Oh, and duct tape!