The Martian

Andy Weir
The Martian Cover

The Martian


I never got around to reading Robinson Crusoe or The Smith Family Robinson. I never read The Blue Lagoon. In fact, The Martian by Andy Weir may be the first shipwreck book I have ever read, besides Lord of the Flies. Thankfully, this book was nothing like Lord of the Flies.

Many reviewers have complained about the science in this book, that it was too detailed, but I never got that impression while reading it. In fact, I found it to be a very human novel. Mark Watney is a completely likable if a tad unrealistic character. He is almost a caricature of the human spirit. Throughout the novel, he never wavered in his optimism and his confidence in his ability to overcome any crisis.

This novel reminded me of two movies from the 80's, "Red Dawn," the wonderful 1984 movie, not the horrible 2012 one, and "Invasion USA." Red Dawn and Invasion USA were blatant pro-American propaganda films. After seeing these films, I remember I was ready to take on all the "commies" and run through the street chanting "USA! USA! USA!" Give me a little break. I was around 10 at the time and the subtlety and nuances of America's geopolitical situations were still a few years away from me.

And that was the same feelings I had when I finished reading this novel. Oh I wasn't ready to kill "Commies" or dress myself in Old Glory and march through the streets, but I was ready to write my congressmen (as of the writing of this review Senators Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, and Representative Marsha Blackburn) and demand more money for Space Exploration and Manned Missions for Mars. Of course given my current representatives, I doubt I would have a receptive audience.

The Martian is complete propaganda for NASA and the International Space Agency. If Andy Weir is not on NASA's payroll he should be. But like all good propaganda, this book hits all the marks. The protagonist, Mark Watney embodies the spirit of exploration, a throwback to the days of the Western expansion of the United Sates and the exploration of the Indies and America's. In the face of danger and likely death, he laughs and carries on. You know the spirit of the intrepid explorer. And he has skills that would make MacGyver green with envy. I really enjoyed this book, even though it was an obvious attempt to move me to a specific point of view. All I will say is it was successful and I have been moved.

I'm writing my Congressmen right now.

4.5 of 5 stars