The Martian by Andy Weir

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If you’re one of the ten people who didn’t see the movie, The Martian is a book about an astronaut who gets accidentally abandoned on Mars and his efforts to make his way home. In this perfect blend of Cast Away and Interstellar, Mark Watney (portrayed in the movie by Matt Damon) must survive adversity after an explosion strands him on the red planet. The story of his survival on Mars is told to the audience through daily logs. It feels as if Watney is talking directly to the reader. The Martian truly illustrates how anything is possible, no matter how terrible the odds, and that humanity’s greatest virtues is its ability to overcome.

The Martian is the first interesting science textbook I’ve ever read. I know that it’s technically not a textbook, but it pretty much is, just written in the first person and with a story. Andy Weir literally explained every single piece of the science in the book in detail. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, it just probably goes over the head of anyone not extremely interested in Science. I think I learned more Science from reading this book than I have in school for the past three years.

The book The Martian doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. In fact, it was almost cheated by the movie. Not that the movie was bad, actually it was really good and followed the book really well. The issue is that, because the movie was so popular and so good, a much larger group of people just watched the movie and forgot it was even based on a book. Even I saw the movie first, so the book felt more like a movie novelization. That said, it is still 100% worth reading, and I highly recommend.

-Evan G, 8th Grade

The Martian is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive.

The Martian Movie Review

martian_filmThe Martian is a sci-fi drama film directed and produced by Ridley Scott. It stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney and features other familiar faces like Jeff Daniels and Sean Bean. The movie takes place some time in the near future, when human technology has improved so that outer space travel to Mars has been achieved. Mark Watney and the other members of his crew are on an expedition on Mars when a storm hits and the team is forced to evacuate, accidentally leaving Watney behind.

What transpires for the whole movie is Watney trying to survive and NASA trying to contact him. The movie jumps back and forth between the two settings at various times. Obviously with a situation like this, tension runs high throughout the film, and indeed there are several thrilling moments. However, the high points of the film for me are the intimate, thoughtful moments that show the psychological and emotional stress Watney and NASA go through during this crisis.

It’s these quiet and well presented moments that make this movie so memorable and special. You truly grow to care about Watney and feel invested in his struggle. Matt Damon does a phenomenal job at bringing Mark Watney to life from the novel, with some of the best acting of his career. The Martian also has a very unexpected aspect: comedy. Mark Watney himself has a very good sense of humor, further increasing his likability. He is very optimistic and upbeat about each situation. It also helps that there are other great comedy actors such as Michael Peña and Donald Glover.

Overall, I found The Martian to be a really great movie. It wasn’t a huge spectacle or had the action of Interstellar or Gravity, but rather focuses on smaller moments, whether emotional or comedic, to drive its appeal. It does these very well, and I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys drama/thrillers, or science fiction films.

-Ahmed H.

The Martian by Andy Weir

themartian_aweirThe Martian, by Andy Weir, is about to become a major motion picture. So, it’s time to look at the brilliant book behind it. This science-fiction novel is the tale of Mark Watney, a resourceful and humorous astronaut on a manned mission to Mars. When a dust storm whips up ferocious winds, a broken antennae flies through the air and impales him, separating Watney from the rest of his crew. When the storm clears, all that remains is Watney and the barren planet. The rest of his crew managed to evacuate the planet, but the entire world presumes Watney to be dead. By some sheer miracle, Watney survives. The rest of the book follows Watney as he ensures his survival until NASA can send a rescue mission. His story is told through his own logs, kept in case some space traveler in the future finds it.

The most appealing aspect of The Martian as a science-fiction novel is its realism. Instead of bringing in aliens or complete bogus technology to fill in the holes, Weir writes using real science and engineering. As a botanist and mechanical engineer, our protagonist relies on his wits to keep himself alive. Through careful planning, Watney uses the available materials to create food and water. He calculates how long each of his resources will last, and how he can replenish them. As a result, much of the book is filled with complicated science-related jargon, but all of it is scientifically accurate. He overcomes real challenges with real solutions.

Mark Watney’s distinct character also contributes to the book. He is both confident and careful, and analyzes problems with careful logic. He is also extremely humorous and vulgar, cracking jokes whenever he can. This lightens the mood of a harrowing survival tale. Watney lets us sympathize with his plight without sounding corny or scripted. All of his reactions to events are extremely realistic. Readers should take notice that Watney does swear a lot throughout the story. The F-word appears in the very first sentence.
The Martian is an excellent science-fiction novel that meshes excitement with realism. Readers with a love of technology will especially enjoy this book. The movie comes out in October, so you can read the novel before seeing the film.

-Philip X.

The Martian is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library and Overdrive