“No plan survives first contact with implementation.”
“Don't judge book by it's cover” is a well known expression. As The Martian has the best looking book cover I've ever come across though, I did set my hopes high — even before seeing all the rave reviews.
As it turns out, I was not disappointed and those reviews are 100% justified. Andy Weir's debut novel is clever, funny, fast-paced and gripping right to the very end.
It follows the story or Mark Watney, a botanist slash engineer who has been left on Mars by his crew after an accident during a storm left his status missing and presumed dead. His actual status?
I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab1 designed to last 31 days.
If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m fucked.
Refreshingly, the technical aspects of the story are thouroughly well researched too. From Chris Hadfield's review (Commander of the International Space Station):
It has the very rare combination of a good, original story, interestingly real characters and fascinating technical accuracy […]
Hollywood is working on a film adaptation of the book — scheduled to release this year — which I won't be watching. There's not a cat in hell's chance it can come anywhere close to the book. For the record, it's the first book I've ever finished, flipped over, and started again from the beginning.
Andy Weir, your debut novel is nothing short of spectacular. Thank you. ★★★★★
A Deep Space Habitat - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Space_Habitat ↩