The Martian by Andy Weir was a book that bubbled up on a few recommendation lists I follow, and I couldn't push it to the back of the list. This one was begging to be read next...I'm so happy I pushed it forward. The Martian is funny, witty, well written, suspenseful, nerdy, and much more. Even if you are a casual science fiction fan, you must get this book and read it.
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 while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long 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 isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
From Author's Website
There is so much good about this book, I won't have time to include everything here. The character, Mark Watney, is a MacGuyver-meets-Chuck-Noland-on-Mars...but more than MacGuyver and Noland, he's sarcastic and throughout the entire experience keeps a healthy humor about his situation. It endears Watney so much to the reader that the whole time you pull for him and want to hear what crazy random thought he has today. From considering himself a space pirate to frustration over his lack of female contact, the whole time you want to hear what Watney does/plans next.
But he's not the only character. The other people are well done as well. From the thoughtful Mars director, to the military mission commander, and even the shy SATCOM analyst, the characters are all entertaining.
The Martian is very well written...very well. It reads more like a non-fiction account, but with enough suspense and thrills that the reader is completely hooked. It was one of those books that I hated to put down. If I could have just selected time—non-stop—to go start-to-finish, I would have.
Again, even if you are a passing science fiction fan, read this book. The Martian is a great, great book. It sets the bar high for the rest of the year. Not sure anything I have planned will beat it, but I'm willing to try.