The Martian, by Andy Weir (2011, 2014)

Genre: Science Fiction
Interest Level: Adult
The MartianIf you pick up only one sci-fi this year, let it be this one. Absolutely gripping and laugh-out-loud funny at the same time, it’s Cast Away meets MacGyver, but in space. Mark Watney is part of a team of astronauts on Mars. On Sol 6, a fierce windstorm sends the crew scrambling back to the ascent vehicle, but not before a communications rod breaks away and pierces Mark’s spacesuit. The suit is breached and bloodied; the biomonitor indicates no sign of life. The dust and wind make it impossible for his mates to find him. The crew captain makes the right call and orders the launch to safety. When Watney regains consciousness he is alone on the Red Planet, and promptly drops the f-bomb. It’s an awesome, sciency survival tale right from the start. I love how Weir explains all the science as he logs his attempts to solve the problems of oxygen, water, food, heat, re-establishing communication with Earth, and more. He is a mechanical engineer and a botanist, but thinks chemistry is a bitch – a sentiment made all the more real when he nearly blows himself up for forgetting some of that science. He discovers a distaste for disco and 70s sitcoms when that’s all he can find for entertainment. His writing is sharp and intensely personal, in a way that makes you laugh. Here’s how he describes the training for the lengthy Mars mission: It got a little cramped. And by “a little cramped” I mean “we wanted to kill each other.”
I guarantee this will be a movie script by next year if it isn’t already optioned. Originally released as an e-book, this is Weir’s first novel. He just quit his job to write full-time and I am waiting impatiently for the next one. Honestly folks, put this one on your list now. You can thank me later. One of the best adventure stories I’ve read, ever.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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