Review and Compare Thursday: The Martian by Andy Weir

The Book

Stand-alone to date
Goodreads Blurb:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one 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 nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

Grounded in real, present-day science from the first page to the last, yet propelled by a brilliantly ingenious plot that surprises the reader again and again, The Martian is a truly remarkable thriller: an impossible-to-put-down suspense novel that manages to read like a real-life survival tale.”

I’ve decided to write more list-based reviews because of the feedback but also because it helps me be so much more organized with my thoughts!  So without further ado, let’s get into it!
1.  The reality.  This isn’t something that’s unique to this book (it’s pretty common in science fiction) but I loved how real this situation was.  If you’ve been following the news in the past decade, you’ll know that the NASA space program was cancelled while different companies compete for money granted to the company that can propose a doable method for commercial space travel.  We have been looking at Mars for quite some time as a potential human mission.  With that said, this book is set a bit in the future in the midst of the Mars missions.  The author went to such lengths to make sure that everything was explained with real world physics and chemistry.  The amount of work that went into this book must have been astronomical!
2.  The characters.  I really loved all of the characters but the MC especially.  His humor was the perfect thing to buoy up the story and keep it from getting too dark.  It made me laugh and kept me reading along with the suspense.  All of the other characters are very nicely developed as well and are very 3-dimensional.
3.  The science.  I’ve already brushed on this but I want to talk about more in depth.  I really liked the amount of science that was included.  It kept it very real and made it feel as though this had actually already happened.  It also held the plot accountable and made sure that nothing that was against the rules of physics and chemistry could happen (to my knowledge, of course).
4.  The spatial aspects and building scenes.  I do wish that the author would have included sketches or something of the sort to show visually what everything looked like.  This requires a lot of imagination and sometimes I just couldn’t picture everything.  This may seem like a small thing but it’s the only reason why this book is 4 stars.  Yes, it’s a small issue to begin with but it cascades over the rest of the book and soon I was just glazing over those parts.
5.  The overarching plotline and the journey back home.  I really loved how the plot was developed.  It’s perfectly paced and the different steps that had to take place to get Mark home are great and are very realistic.
The Final Verdict:
Overall, this book is so realistic and so cool and suspenseful.  I really loved the characters (especially the humor!) as well as the science that was included extensively.  However, I do wish there had been sketches or something of the sort included so I could visualize everything better.
4 stars

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

“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.” 
LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”

“Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.” 

“I guess you could call it a “failure”, but I prefer the term “learning experience”.”

“I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. First, get some hot water, then add nothin’.” 

“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.”

The Movie

Stand-alone to date
IMDB Blurb:
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.”
I loved this movie so so much!  I have to say, it’t definitely on par with Interstellar for me.  Let’s start off the list of greatness!

1.  The casting.  The casting for this movie was excellent.  I especially loved Matt Damon as Mark Watney.  He perfectly pulled off the wry, almost boyish humor as well as the more serious scenes.  He also embodied the ‘botany genius’!  The majority of the movie focuses on him, but the rest of the cast had wonderful supporting roles that fit the story quite well.

2.  The deviations from the book.  Now, I didn’t go and count and take special note of every time that the movie deviated from the book.  The movie did deviate a bit but it wasn’t in a bad way.  I think they did a great job adapting this story so it was fit for film.

3.  Differences between viewing and reading.  I did like this story more on screen simply because it was much easier to visualize the different building activities that were going on (because, you know, you see a movie).  So I did like the movie a lot more than the book.

Other than those bullets, I loved everything that was in the book that they also included in the movie.  The directors, producers, actors, and everyone else involved did a great job staying true to the book while also adapting it to film.

The Final Verdict:
The Martian is the perfect suspenseful and equally humorous movie that stays true to the book in all ways that count.
5 stars

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