This might be a first for me…I actually saw the movie before I read the book, and I ended up reading the book because I enjoyed the movie so much!!! That probably seems normal for most people, but it felt really odd for me. I’m so used to the unwritten “you-can’t-watch-the-movie-until-you-read-the-book” rule I guess (#rebel).
Mark Watney’s crew shouldn’t be held responsible for leaving him on Mars. When the Ares 3 mission is forced to abort because of a 175 kph storm, and the communications antenna falls and impales you, piercing your body systems monitor on your suit so your heart rate appears to go flat, it’s a sad but safe bet to assume you’re dead. But Mark isn’t dead. With an insane amount of pluck and science-y know-how, he’ll do whatever it takes to get back home.
I so enjoyed The Martian, which is mostly made up of Mark’s logbook entries but also includes narrative from Ares 3 NASA team and Mark’s crewmates. For a fairly fat novel, the prose is conversational, so it was easy to read. On the other hand though, the entries were smattered with a bunch of extremely nerdy science explanations: fixing the water filter, rigging the mars rover, figuring out a way to grow plants on dead Martian dirt. I’ve heard that all the finagling could hypothetically work though…random cool trivia about the book.
The movie probably helped my speed through the book, because I could picture what scene in the movie went with what part of the book (the movie followed Weir’s novel pretty closely, if you were wondering!). If I didn’t have that visual to match it up, a lot of the more technical logbook entries probably would have gone over my head. The author’s/Mark’s voice is down to earth, so that helped too. The movie also helped me keep track of the different characters. Many of the minor characters I couldn’t differentiate until the end of the novel. I wanted to go back at the end and re-read some of the Ares 3 crew sections after I finally figured out the difference in personalities between Beck and Martinez!
However, what set this book apart as a favorite from my 2015 reading list was an overall vibe. Mars threw a lot on one man’s shoulders, albeit that the one man is a sassy, nerdy, optimistic botanist/mechanical engineer. But there was no trace of self-pity in the story! The tone was suspenseful without making you go insane; it had a good feel…
It’s hard to describe without comparing it to a movie from this year, Inside Out. The film has similar upbeat adventure elements, but instead of being about space, Inside Out chronicles cute animated emotions, inside of a brain. But wasn’t that movie S-T-R-E-S-S-F-U-L to watch?! Everything that could go wrong did. I can’t figure out exactly why Martian was inspiring but Inside Out was taxing, but it was. Weir created a hilarious (although a lot of language could have been deleted and it still be funny, just saying), smart, and well-paced novel.
I could probably ramble on a bunch more, but at the end of the day, The Martian entertained this happy reader.
And that’s what’s important when picking up a book to read for fun. (:
Recommended to: Nerds/science-lovers, people who enjoy a feasible yet inspiring book, anyone old enough to handle excessive language
Have a great week back from break (2016, we got this!!)