Posts Tagged ‘books’

“The Martian” by Andy Weir

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

TheMartian I picked up a copy of “The Martian” to read on the train while I was travelling to France. Having started reading it, I found myself utterly riveted and hardly able to put it down until I finished the book.  The subject matter is intense, personal and up close – this is the story of an individual’s experiences as opposed to a more conventional story with a range of characters. That said, there is a good selection of additional characters to add context to the main protagonist.

The writing style is refreshing – there are several different narrative styles and tenses used throughout which sustain the rhythm well. One of my favourite aspects is the liberal use of dry humour and funny asides which are all very much in keeping with the protagonist as a character. By the time you get to the end of the book you feel as if you have been on the journey with him, and you share a strange sense of intimacy; strange because unlike many conventional books there is little visible backstory to the characters. I think this would have resulted in weaker characters in many books, but this flaw is conspicuous by its absence here.

Science Fiction has earned a well-deserved reputation for predicting future technologies. This book may well prove to do the same, but cleverly it blurs the line between what technology we have today versus what technology lies ahead. As someone reasonably well versed in physics myself, I was delighted to get to the end without noticing a single ‘fundamental error’ in the technology described, nor was I able to clearly identify the delineation between science fact and science fiction. Furthermore the author (who is the son of a particle physicist) exhibits an obvious comfort with a variety of sciences which makes for some satisfyingly clever solutions to some very tricky scenarios.

This is a great, great book and I heartily recommend it to anyone. Apparently there is a film in the works for late 2015. I shall certainly want to see it, although I suspect the book will be better than the film (aren’t they always?). If the film gets anywhere close to the quality of the book, however, it will be an exceptionally good watch.