I can't imagine anything more suited to be an audiobook, and R.C. Bray does an amazing job of narration. Much of the book consists of excerpts from the astronaut's audio log There is no pretense of carefully constructed prose; rather it reflects someone who is keeping up morale by talking to himself with quirky gallows humor.
By now, everybody knows the story: stranded on Mars, no communication, figure out how to survive. Two things drive the book. First is the fun of watching the protagonist Mark Whatney solve one puzzle after another, with varying degrees of success.
Second is Wahtney's ironic humor in the face of certain death, narrow escape from death, hope of avoiding death, and a general high probability of death.
Both are reflected in my favorite quote from the book:"As usual I’m working with stuff that was deliberately designed not to burn, but no amount of careful design by NASA can get around a determined arsonist with a tank of pure oxygen."
The Martian has been compared to various books and movies, notably Robinson Crusoe, Castaway, Apollo 13, Gravity, and of course the the cult classic Robinson Crusoe on Mars. The book that it most reminded me of is Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff. Those of us who are of a certain age will remember how funny the stories of real-life astronauts' pranks and reactions to ridiculous scenarios were.
Warning: lots of swearing.
Interesting premise, and it's nice to read a novel with characters I mostly like for a change. Unfortunately, there are too many "main" characters, all with intersecting but essentially separate plot lines, so that they are given more of a short-story characterization than a fully formed novel persona.
One of the things that kept me listening was the use of Shakespeare's plays as a backdrop. As an old Trekkie from the 60s, I was amused by the Star Trek references. The Station Eleven story was a teaser; by the end, I was finding it a bit tedious.
One gripe: the "prophet" character was a cardboard cutout, strictly cliche. His motivation was completely unconvincing -- "he's just crazy" is insufficient. I find it sad that the only depiction of religion of any kind in the entire novel is so warped. At least one community in the midwest would undoubtedly have spotted this guy as a heretic and refused to put up with him; and I would expect a variety of religions to have survived. The author would have done better to show a more realistic picture of religion or to leave it out altogether. There could have been any number of other ways to set up similar situations.
The narration by Kirstin Potter was excellent. I appreciate that she didn't over-dramatize it. There was enough inflection to distinguish characters when necessary, but I like that she gave a straightforward reading without melodrama.
Intended to give a short introduction to a complex subject, along with immediately applicable first steps to changing behavior, the book hits its mark. Pychel steps aside from scholarly writing in the interest of getting to the points of interest to the self-identified procrastinator. He does not offer a quick fix but rather suggests specific ways to change life-long habits. He is encouraging without promising overnight miracles.
The author/narrator has a pleasant voice; this being his own work, he knows where to emphasize and where to pause.
I'm a life-long Janite, with a strong appreciation for the absurd, and I really expected to be amused. Alas, not.The joke is a good one and could have made a really funny short story, but there's not enough here to make a good book.
The narration is okay, except when an emerging zombie speaks, at which point it becomes very annoying.
Two stars for being clever, but I can't recommend it.
Absolutely! This is not a read-to-find-out-what-happens book -- it's charm is in the telling. The people are fascinating, better than fictional characters, the technical detail is interesting, and the narrator is perfect.
George Pocock, the shell builder. Pocock was an enigmatic artist, the character in the book I would most like to have known.
Herman's voice is smooth and even. His timing is spot-on, and his intonation is just lively enough to avoid monotony, without overpowering the content.
Yes, though it's a little too long for that.
High. Really high. 4 12 stars. Really really close to a 5.
This is what Harry Turtledove was trying to do in Worldwar: In the Balance (which I tried to listen to but got bored with and ditched) -- global warfare, strange alliances, it takes an alien threat to unite humanity. The interview format, the multiplicity of voices, makes Z a better book, in my opinion.
Oh, my, how can I choose? The diver. The guy with the dog. The astronaut. The most poignant -- the South African. Major kudos to Max Brooks for his job as the interviewser.
Forget good vs. evil -- it's life vs. death!
I'm not a zombie fan. I'm not a military sci-fi fan. I doubt if I'd like reading this book. BUT: this is a completely mesmerizing "listen". I came really close to doing it in a single day. I've read a lot of complaints that this is "abridged". Under normal circumstances, I won't even look at anything that's not unabridged, but I didn't feel like there were any continuity problems, and the length is exactly right.
maybe, if it was really cheap
flesh it out -- it has a clever premise, but the jumps are too sudden. I kept thinking it was a badly abridged version. The extended family premise was pretty much wasted: they set up these potentially interesting relationships then did nothing with them.
Dual-narration either works or it doesn't. This doesn't. The voices didn't complement each other. Plus, the Italian accents were excruciatingly awful -- sounded like a poor rendition of Romany gypsies. My Sicilian relatives would run screaming from the room.
I wouldn't have cut, I'd have added!
Okay, it wasn't totally awful, just nowhere near as good as it could have been. The ending obviously sets up a sequel -- I wouldn't mind seeing the authors try again.
This is a book to be HEARD. Very much at issue in this novel is the relationship between content and method of delivery. The narrator uses his voice to great advantage, just the right nuances -- sometimes he appears to be going over the top, but then you realize that the effect is spot on.
In an odd way, MP24HB reminds me of The Night Circus -- there is the same sense of alternate reality layered onto "real" reality. Mr Penumbr'a is shorter and less serious, the setting is very different, and the "magic" here is in the technology.
Oh, yes. In fact, I almost did.
This would make a good book club selection -- a nice length, easy to follow, light-hearted, but offering some interesting discussion points. In the thousands of years of human history, print hasn't been around all that long. Is it really a tragedy that many are turning to digital and audio sources for "reading" material? Is it ultimately an either/or situation? What would you do for immortality? What's a friend? A mentor? For that matter, what is a book?
Not perfect -- the epilogue is superfluous -- but a very nice debut.
At least one character I didn't thoroughly dislike.
Write something else entirely.
I guess Margo wasn't too bad.
The diary thing just doesn't work. It is a gimmick, clever but ultimately annoying.
Everyone is twisted. Even when they are being self-promoting, the two main characters come off as people I would not want to be around. The parents are worse.
I found this book to be manipulative and depressing.
So the story is okay -- I think. I had a hard time getting past how awful the narration is. Why, oh why, oh why, would you get a Valley Girl to read a New Orleans story? (FYI, "New Orleans" has 2 syllables, not 3.) I can excuse anyone from "outside" for not knowing how to procounce "Tchoupitoulas" (it's "chop-uh-two-liss", by the way), but "crawfish"? Excuse me. No matter how you spell it, it's "craw-rhymes-with-claw", not "cray-rhymes-with-clay".
Other than that, nice little story, some fairly decent local color. Main character is a little too goody-goody, the sidekick is a little tedius, but the snotty society dame is fun, and I really do know an 80-something woman named "Baby".
Won't listen to another Laura Childs unless they change narrators.
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