So, in trying to avoid the inevitable
Robinson Crusoe in Space line
I have to say that I havent read a
book quite like The Martian for a long time, if ever. Nobody
writes this kind of hard realistic solar system based science fiction any more. Partly
because a book about an astronaut stuck on Mars and full of maths and physics should be
really awfully boring, but its not.
Theres constant suspense of the
whats-going-to-go-wrong-next? variety, and
how-is-he-going-to-fix-this? Theres a great deal of irreverent humour,
quite a lot of it directed at NASA. And a surprisingly light touch with the writing style
that works very well for most readers.
Perhaps the weakest part of the story is the set-up, the how of getting a
lone astronaut left behind on Mars, but the scenario seems reasonable enough for me. The
fact that its the crew member with just the right combination of skills and
personality to survive is authorial serendipity.
The rest of it? Well, you have to assume that Weir has done the math
right, or that at least somebody has
Because to go and check would take you away
from the story, and you want to keep reading. Mind you, I expect some people will.
This is a truly exceptional novel, and especially coming right after the
success of Gravity, I anticipate well be reviewing the movie in a
year or so
only as long as they stick to the book, the science wont be nearly
as broken as it was in Gravity. We can only hope that The Martian
gets read by the masses, because it deserves to be, and more importantly, this is the kind
of novel that can get people interested in real space. And put you off potatoes for