Absolutely wonderful! Great, tense writing, flawless narration and spotless production - what more could you ask for? It's not literature, but it is one of those truly visceral books that made me smile, laugh and wince at every calamity that befalls our poor, yet brilliant, hero. Read it!
I am not a sci-fi reader really, and I bought this because of the other reviews and wow. It is so well written and so well narrated that it must rank as one of the best books I have ever listened to. It does not feel like sci-fi at all, so do not be put off by that, if you like intelligent struggle in adversity, dry humour and 'living' a book then give it a try. It was extra welcome to come across this gem as I'd just struggled through a very disappointing listen, and this book will remain with me a long time I think. It should be made into a film, although that may not be necessary as it is like watching a film when you listen. Totally great - I do not have even one tiny criticism, give it a try.
"A thrilling and funny listen"
This is an excellent science fiction thriller, which steadily works to build up your empathy with the main character, aided by some laugh out loud commentary.
I usually prefer the more fantastical end of the genre (IMB's Culture novels for example), but the totally believable scenario and the use of mathematics to describe Watney's trials and tribulations are conveyed extremely well by the author.
The narrator does a great job of delivering the humour and helping to make the mathematics at the heart of Watney's plight accessible.
I very much look forward to future books from the author.
"The Best Hard SF Adventure I've read (or heard)"
Apollo13 RobinsonCrusoe Macgyver
Of course the protagonist Watney has to be everyone's favourite as 90% of the story is about him. I loved his smart-ass sense of humour and the way he explained why he was doing something without making it sound like a physics or chemistry lecture. However almost al the supporting characters were so well fleshed out and it is obvious the protagonist will be everyone's favourite character, the question should be who was your favourite supporting character? There I would have a tough time as Weir really put a lot of depth into the other characters but Kapoor would probably edge out to the top, with a special mention for Lewis for her 70s fascination which allowed Watney to comment on episodes of 70s TV shows I grew up with.
I enjoyed all of Bray's characters, he did fantastic voices for everyone and I felt like I was watching a movie with my eyes closed half the time. He got Watney's smart-ass style spot on but again all the supporting characters right down to the bit parts were perfectly executed. I'll be looking for other books read by him.
Absolutely a "can't hit pause" book. I took it with me everywhere in order to finish it more quickly.
This is the first substantial audiobook I've listened to right to the end and Bray's reading of it really made the book for me. I'll buy the kindle book now and read it myself but I'm going to be hearing Bray's voices in my head all along. If you have never listened to an audiobook before and you like stories of space travel and overcoming adversity then you can't go wrong with this book.
This is one of the weirdest books I've listened to so far. The story is told mostly by logs from the main character Mark, but also by a narrator. I thought the logs would turn out a bit boring and too technical, but quite the contrary. Mark is really cool and funny, and the techy talk just makes it very believable. The author must know a tad bit of science...
Anyway the book turned out to be REALLY cool. I laughed a lot and smiled through the last three chapters.
Highly recommended, enjoy!
This is a book that actually credits the reader with a little intelligence - which makes a really nice change from the majority of Sci-Fi I've read lately. Theres some technical discussion - if you're the type of person who likes the Discovery channel it's nothing too challenging - but it's important to the story line, its not there just for 'bulk'. The story makes sense, there's no gaping plot holes and I found the main character to be likeable and believable.
I'd compare this to early Larry Niven stuff like Ringworld or Neutron Star - he's another author that knows how much actual science to put into sci-fi
Bray manages to bring a separate voice to each character, and in general he does it well. His German and Chinese are a bit ropey, but nothing that spoils the book. He's clear, concise, and puts just the right amount of......'animation' into his reading.
Tom Hanks - This Time He's Cast Further Away.
The name of one of the vehicles in the book just made me think of 'Top Gear' every time it was mentioned. If you've seen the TV episode with the home made electric car, I'm sure you'll pick it up !
"Mars like you were there"
Probably #1. Seriously, loved this book. It's smart, full of humour, paced and doesn't need a big antagonist to build up suspense (who needs one when you have a whole planet trying to kill your hero?)...
Because the premise is treated realistically, the situations Mark Watney finds himself in are all very original and memorable, but the initial survival plan, the airlock incident and the last recovery come to mind.
Mark Watney, the main character. R.C. Bray brings to life his wits, his humour, his resourcefulness with talent.
I could have "binge-listened" it easily, but the very nature of the book, Watney making plans and adjusting them when things go wrong, work better with listening to it in episodes.
"good old fasioned scifi"
The Martian was a great book. A proper hard-core science fiction book with lots of good science and none of the emotional fluff that litters far too much other science fiction. The main character does seem to be the most unlucky guy in the world and makes the best of this bad luck and keeps the humour up. The narration was very good and clear.
"Gripping, fascinating, and quite hilarious!"
It plays out like a Hollywood blockbuster, delivered in such a compelling way with the mix of log entries from Watney's perspective and the narration of life back on Earth.
I was fascinated by the complex details and chemistry of Watney's fight to survive, which far from being boring and technical, made the extreme measures he takes much more believable.
But the best bit is the humour! Combined with Bray's perfect delivery, Mark Watney is the funniest man on...well, Mars. But you get my drift.
The only reason I've withheld one star is that it lacked a little depth. Ok, so we're told Watney is a funny guy, but faced with being the only man on the planet, and never seeing Earth again, perhaps a little more introspection may have made him a more rounded character. Does Mark Watney have a family back on Earth? Does he even have friends? Or parents? He never mentions his life on Earth at all, which given how often he contemplates never getting off Mars, you'd think he might. A little "Z for Zachariah", "I am Legend" contemplation might have provided some realistic depth, but I guess staring death in the face isn't so funny.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and was sorry, but satisfied, when I reached the end.
"Warning: there are no Martians in this book"
Lets get that out of the way first. There are no Martians in this book.
What it is, is a hypothetical manual on what could go wrong and how to survive when it does, on Mars, if you ever happen to be stranded there.
Mark is a likeable character, self motivated, inventive and courageous, however he could as well be a paper cut out.
For a guy stranded on uninhabitable planet, with little chance of survival and plenty that could go wrong, his undying self motivation is one ... of a robot.
What exactly keeps him motivated to live, I don't know. Because you see, Mark has no real ties to earth. There is no wife/girlfriend, children, not even a close friend of real family ties that would be the reason for him to get up every day and face incredible dangers and fuel his MacGiver like inventiveness.
The writers attempt to pre empty this question, with a few sentences of Mark's psychological pro filing as an optimist and a joker, hardly cuts it.
Some mention this is a book is for geeks and engineers, but I don't know about that.
I am married to an engineer and have a super geek for a brother and I can tell you, when they talk, they don't sound like juveniles pretending to be super intelligent adults working for NASA.
That, in my opinion was on of the weaker points of this book. The diagoues seriously lacked wit and were more like the pre programmed conversation you hear in a Si-fi computer game in a 13 year old's bedroom.
Good effort for a self published author, but I would have liked this story to be little bit more about Marks personal journey: loneliness, despair, self reflection, maybe spiritual or religious reflections in face of imminent danger?
I would like Mark to have a bit of personality and depth, to keep the story more emotional and engaging. I lost interest in his life about 1/2 of the way.