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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The Martian by Andy Weir

 The Martian

Author: Andy Weir (American, 1972- )
Originally published: 2011
Page count: 369

Dates read:
2023 book goal progress: 1 out of 23

January Mindful Readers' Family Bookclub 
Read my other book reviews for my 2023 goals HERE.

Description on back of book:
Six days ago astronaut Mark Watney became on of the first people to walk on Mars. Now he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars with no way to signal to Earth that he's still alive. Even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue arrive.

Armed with nothing but his ingenuity, engineering skills, botany skills - and a gallows sense of humor, which proves to be his greatest strength - Mark embarks on a quest to stay alive.

First sentences:
"I'm pretty much fucked. That's my considered opinion. Fucked. Six days into what should be the greatest month of my life, and it's turned into a nightmare."

Favorite quotes:
(All are from the logs of Mark while he is stranded on Mars.)

"Hell yeah, I'm a botanist! Fear my botany powers!"

"Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape, like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can't improve on duct tape."

"If ruining the only religious icon I have leaves me vulnerable to Martian vampires, I'll have to risk it."

"Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped."

"I got bounced around a lot, but I'm a well-honed machine in times of crisis. As soon as the rover toppled, I curled into a ball and cowered. That's the kind of action hero I am. It worked, too. 'Cause I'm not hurt."

CAWPILE Rating: Overall - 6.9/10 - ⭐⭐⭐/5
Characters      - 9
Atmosphere   - 8
Writing Style - 9
Plot                - 4
Intrigue          - 6
Logic             - 5
Enjoyment     - 7
What is a CAWPILE Rating?

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It did get a little redundant: 

Shit! I'm stuck on Mars. I'm going to die.
I figured it out. I'm fine.
Shit! Something broke. I'm going to die.
No worries. I fixed it. I'm going to live.
and so forth from the beginning of the book to the end.

The book gets much better when NASA is introduced and you have some actual dialogue. The dialogue (which is just text/emails back and forth) between Mark, the man stuck on Mars, and NASA are some of my favorite parts of the story. I love Mark's humor and positivity throughout his ordeal. Did I cry in the end? ...yes.

Side note: Though I read the book before watching the movie, I knew Matt Damon played Mark, the main character, so I read most of the book with his voice in my head. 

Book to movie review:
Overall the movie was a pretty true representation of the book - until the very end. It is, obviously, a shortened version of the book, so you lose some details and some of my favorite, humorous dialogue/interactions. The end is changed significantly on 2 points, which makes the movie very Hollywoodified. It was a good movie but, despite the book being a bit slow, I would still say the book is better.

Now I'm off to read another book... but since a review should be more about the author of the book than about the writer of the blog, I will let Andy Weir have the last words:

"I thought a laptop would be fine outside. It's just electronics, right? It'll keep warm enough to operate in the short term, and it doesn't need air for anything.

It died instantly. The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the 'L' in 'LCD' stands for 'liquid.' I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I'll post a consumer review.

'Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.' "


  1. I have watched the movie some years ago, and have bought the book with Matt Damon on the cover :D. But now I wonder whether I will enjoy the reading more than the movie. I'm just afraid of being disappointed, I guess.

    1. There's definitely some very humorous dialogue, but it's a pretty slow moving story.