The crew of the Ares 3 mission have been on the surface of Mars for 6 days when they are forced to abort the mission and evacuate the planet due to an intense dust storm. When astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead, the crew has no choice but to abandon him on the planet. But Mark is not dead and awakes to find himself alone on a planet millions of miles from Earth. With the next Mars mission not scheduled to land on the planet for 4 years and no way to contact NASA, Mark must find a way to survive in a habitat designed only to last for 31 days until he can be rescued.
I have been wanting to read this book ever since I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie and I’ve been on the library waitlist for months. I was getting a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to read the book before the movie came out next month, but luckily the book became available last week.
I read this book all in one day and could not put it down. I found the book captivating and it completely held my interest.
Most of the story is told through Mark’s daily logs where he describes his experiences with growing food on Mars and his ideas for surviving until the next mission to Mars occurs. The logs are written in diary form, which I thought was an interesting writing tactic. You’re reading Mark’s logs so you don’t know until the end of the book if he survives or not. Mark is super dorky and he makes a whole slew of bad puns and basically geeks out over science (although I know nothing about science so it’s possible what he is geeking out over is super innovative and cool).
To be honest, I only understood about 70% of this book. There’s a lot of science and math and technical stuff that I did not understand. I mean, I read the words but I didn’t really comprehend what they meant and a lot of things went over my head. For instance, Mark’s water supply is limited so he decides to make water. There are these long descriptions about how he has to make CO2 and then the oxygen machine will turn that into O2 and then he has to burn hydrazine (which I don’t even know what that is) and somehow water is made, but I have no clue how it happened. I just trusted that it did.
Mark Watney is the ultimate geeky scientist. Some parts of this book were really intense and I found myself trying to read as fast as I could to find out what happened. But even though all the sciency stuff went over my head, I still enjoyed this book a lot.
And although science is not my thing, I did learn that duct tape fixes everything.