The Martian

Andy Weir
The Martian Cover

The Martian


This is my first serious book for the 2014 challenge. (No offence intended to Marissa Mayer's Cress, which is a great example of YA fiction, but does not have a lot of crossover appeal.) I loved The Martian from page 1. Andy Weir's book has gotten a lot of press. so the basic plot is well known--Mark Whatney is an astronaut who is left for dead on Mars. He must use all his problem-solving skills to survive and try to inform NASA that he's still alive.

While the book opens as a straight first-person narrative with the charming Mark recounting his daily struggles, the book later moves between Mark's first-person narration and third-person narration that shows the readers the actions of NASA employees and the members of Mark's mission as they learn of Mark's survival.

I will admit that I have only read the first book of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series; however, this book feels like the opposite of Red Mars to me, and I learned more about Mars than I did from Robinson's many info dumps. The Martian has likable characters, good pacing, and a manageable page length, none of which I found in Red Mars. In addition, while this book contains a good deal of "driving around Mars," just as in Red Mars, Weir finds a way to incorporate the geography without going overboard with descriptions of craters and arroyos as Robinson does. I talk about all that in my review here. I hope this book is nominated for as many awards as Red Mars and wins them all. Of course, I'm saying this before I've read any other 2014 books.