Mark Watney’s team watched him die on the surface of Mars. A metal spike sliced into his chest during a dust storm, and the other astronauts were forced to leave him before their vehicle flipped over and they would all be stranded on Mars forever.
In reality, though, Mark wasn’t dead. When he regained consciousness later, he was the lone human being on the uninhabitable surface of Mars. He only had enough food to last a short while, and he had no way to contact Earth. Back home, they were holding a memorial service for him while he was using his wildly resourceful brain to figure out how to use the Thanksgiving Day dinner potatoes to grow a crop in the sterile Mars dust.
On Earth, NASA personnel scramble through layers of bureaucracy, hungry media types, urgent deadlines, and fear of failure. Meanwhile on Mars, Watney battles to find oxygen, conserve water, ration food, and endure the endless disco music and ‘70s television left behind by a colleague. His adventures are by turns engrossing, amusing, and terrifying. Mark’s good humor and amazing powers of invention make this survival tale warmly human.
Although I am probably not the target audience for this novel (*cough*guys*cough*), the humor and MacGyver-esque elements make it much more accessible than most space-type science fiction stories. Did I hear that the movie rights had already been sold? If not, they’re missing a great opportunity for a blockbuster film. But, oh, the math! There is so much math, especially in the beginning, that I tended to skim those parts. However, if you are a NASA nerd, this book is for you. I happen to know one, so I put the book right into his hands.
Disclaimer: I read a library copy of this book. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.