or, to some, Engineering Porn. There aren't many thrillers that use this much mostly plausible science and engineering. Like so many books, the ending, while appropriate, felt a bit rushed and less complete than the earlier shenanigans
R.C. Bray is perfect. More than any recent audiobook I can remember, he WAS the main character, Mark Watney, stranded on Mars yet cracking wise in the most dire of straits.
Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science
It is hard to review this book without giving it away. So here goes the slightly vague review.......This is near future, NASA-loving, science-driven fun. It is not deep or entirely unpredictable -- but it sure was a good time. Someone said MacGyver in space. True, if he had a doctorate in engineering and biology. I would guess the author thought about this for a long time before writing it.
In many books you think: "Oh, for Pete's Sake -- that's impossible." Not here -- the author shows you the math for solving every problem -- and there are a lot of very interesting problems. And as a side-bonus, you get a real up-close and personal travel experience on Mars.
The wry sense of humor is a little like Redshirts. Good narration too.
Loved the book. Anyone who is a fan of physics, chemistry, or just science in general will enjoy this. My only gripe is the last chapter ends too abruptly for me but I really enjoyed the book.
It’s different because the bad guys are the environment and the universe - not other humans. The hero Mark is an astronaut stranded on Mars.
What it is NOT:
It’s not depressing.
It’s not “woe is me all these bad things are happening to me. I’m afraid. I’m a victim.”
What it IS:
When a problem happens, Mark immediately goes into thinking, planning, and engineering mode, and takes action to fix it. His solutions are almost MacGiverish but not really, they are high science (whatever that is - I made that up). When he needs oxygen, he figures out how to get O2 molecules to hook up with some hydrogen molecules from somewhere else. Some of his solutions were too technical for me. But I was fine with that. The bottom line is it’s not a helpless victim feel. It’s a can do attitude. It’s suspenseful. There’s hope and anticipation. The ending is exciting and happy.
Other characters (on earth and on the spaceship Hermes) also made a good story. I liked the positive feel of different people/interests coming together to help.
R. C. Bray was excellent.
Narrative mode: 1st person Mark, 3rd person others.
Genre: Sci-Fi Suspense.
This is science fiction with an emphasis on the science and it often feels like you are experiencing the events as they would unfold on the evening news. Andy Weir and R. C. Bray team up in fine fashion to bring the character of astronaut Mark Watney to life in a very realistic way. Mark is an engineer, a botanist, and the junior member of the 6 person crew that forms the Ares 3 mission to Mars.
At the very start of the book Mark awakens to find that he has been left behind on Mars after the rest of the crew conducted an emergency evacuation with him presumed dead. Completely alone on the red planet, Mark must face the reality that the odds are severely stacked against him and he likely will be the first human being to die on Mars. He has a limited amount of food and water, no way to communicate his plight to NASA, and no hope of rescue as the next planned mission to Mars is years away.
However, it is not in Mark's nature to give up and he uses all of his scientific and engineering skills to slowly but surely extend his life expectancy. He dictates his decisions and progress in a series of log entries just in case anyone is ever able to recover it in the future. Some of the entries can be pretty dry and full of tedious calculations but the majority of them are witty and contain amusing observations. This very human side of Mark is what makes the book so good and you can't help but form a bond with him and root for him to find yet another solution to a seemingly insurmountable problem.
The book also presents a secondary view of events from the perspective of those back on earth. NASA does have satellites in orbit of Mars and they eventually do figure out that Watney is alive which takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. Watney’s plight becomes a global phenomenon and the biggest news story in the history of the world with NASA at the center of it.
For me this one falls at 4.5 stars overall simply because the details provided to support the science and the math can be a bit boring at times and will likely be a turnoff for certain listeners; however, I assure you that it is worth looking past that and getting to know Mark Watney - astronaut, botanist, and space pirate.
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The narration and main character make nerds and maths cool!
The beginning sets the vibe for the rest of the story and doesn't disappoint!
Without Bray's voice I could easily imagine the character as being some little maths geek who would give up the struggle for survival
I will looking for new books from this author and definitely will give any book narrated by Bray a priority
I am a layman who understood maybe 1/10 of the technical stuff in this book at best, yet I still enjoyed it. I was overwhelmingly impressed by the mechanics of the story, how each problem the protagonist faced on mars got solved. initially, I thought the frequent curse words detracted from the story, but it fits the character and the situation. If you're writing a journal and you think you're going to die, you're not going to say 'darn.' Aside from the story being quite outstanding, the narration is flawless.
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
Mark Watney* has a problem. Quite a big problem. He's stranded on the planet Mars (it's a long story) with a year's worth of supplies. No one on Earth knows he's alive and the planned return mission won't land for another five years. What's a guy to do? Well, most of his survival tactics seem to involve setting fire to his habitat...
Andy Weir self-published The Martian in 2012 and if there's any proof needed that self-published novels CAN be good, then this - emphatically - is it. The self-published ebook sold like hotcakes before it was picked up by a print publisher the following year and it's now in development as a big-name movie.
The story is good, solid, hard science fiction, a cross between any castaway story you care to name and any astronaut-in-peril story you care to name. There's a healthy dash of techno-thriller in the mix with plenty of MacGyveresque science to keep the nerds happy. To be honest, some of the technical descriptions left me standing but it's easy enough to step around these points and get on with the story.
The writing is strong, competent and easy to read. However, the delivery swaps between First Person (Watney's Mars Survival Journal) and Third (events back on earth. This jarred to begin with in more ways than one. In particular, Watney's personal account helps to build a strong and sympathetic character portrait, whereas the characters covered in the other sections seem to lack any real oomph, faceless bodies for the most part, whose only role is to move the plot forward. As the story moves forward this becomes less of a problem, but it never quite goes away and the book suffers for it.
But what the hell?! The plot is a real corker! While it's nothing new (stranded, struggle to survive, race against time), follows a very klinear and predictable course and the eventual outcome is hardly beyond doubt, Weir somehow manages to weave a classically unputdownable story that easily transcends the narrative problems and literary cliches. I loved it. It's been a long time since I've read deep into the night but, having started reading one evening in bed, I eventually had to force myself to go to bed at 2:30 the following morning and then squeeze in a couple more chapters before truddging - gritty-eyed - to work a few hours later**. Every other chapter seems to be a cliffhanger and the lead character is so engaging (and witty) that you're dragged (willingly) from page to page.
R. C. Bray was great with the delivery of the story.
You want me to take out both ear buds?
I've been having bad luck with books lately and am soooo glad I came across this one. I love the authors writing style. He is perfectly sarcastic at just the right time. He takes the whole survival thing to a new level by placing this poor shmuck on Mars and expanding on all the trials he must go through just to get outside. The narrator also performs very well and delivers the lines perfectly.
This is a great book and well worth the credit.
The only one I have listened to so far.
The main character was easily my favorite because of his humor and sarcasm even in the face of grim circumstances.
R.C. Bray did am amazing job. He was expressive, sarcastic, humorous, and did accents effortlessly. There were several times he was switching between Indian, Chinese, and southern accents in one conversation. Impressive, Sir!!
I did listen to this all in one sitting. I was enthralled.