Review, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Review of The Martian by Andy Weir

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

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3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

This was chosen as Sci-Fi Book of the Month for my Goodreads book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, back in August. I went into it expecting great things – so many positive reviews from friends, such high praise – and I’m sad to say that I was pretty disappointed.

The premise is terrifying. Mark Watney is now the only person on Mars, after a freak storm that led his crewmates to believe he was dead. The Martian is Watney’s account of survival in the bleak landscape of the Red Planet, told through a series of mission logs, interspersed with third person perspective chapters from NASA. Whilst his self-deprecating sense of humour and dry wit was brilliant, especially in the face of such peril, there were so many chapters where it just felt like lists and lists of what he was doing. Understandably, there’s not actually much to do on Mars, but still…

Whilst I was gripped by the story and rooting for Mark, who was a really likable guy, at times I felt a little bored. I felt that the pace and my enjoyment of the book picked up a lot more towards the end, however, and Andy Weir managed to conjure up many moments where things could go very, very wrong, and I was on the edge of my seat hoping that Mark would be okay.

I can see why the book has such high praise. It’s a unique account and Mark is amazingly brave, considering that he is pretty much staring death right in the face at all times. But I’m sad to say that overall, it just didn’t work for me.

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13 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Month 2014: Review of The Martian by Andy Weir”

  1. I’ve had this book on my radar since it came out, but still I refrained from reading it because I was afraid that the only POV offered by the situation might be limiting, since the premise looked more suited to a short story or a novella rather than a full-fledged novel.

    From your reviews it seems that my misgivings were founded… Still, it might prove to be an interesting read, one of these days.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. aw, that’s too bad that it didn’t work out for you. i’ve read a lot of praise of this one, but never actually bought a copy. Maybe I’ll try it from the library first?

  3. I read this book last year, and while I enjoyed it for the most part I agree that there were a number of parts that dragged on due to the technical stuff as well as it feeling like there were a bunch of lists every few chapters. Still a pretty interesting concept story wise though.

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