Mark Watney is an astronaut who finds himself rather unfortunately stranded, alone, on Mars – oops! The book takes us straight into the action, as we read Mark’s log which details the steps he takes to try and survive.
This book was chosen by my book group, and really is not something I would ever have chosen to read as sci-fi isn’t really my thing. And although I found myself liking this book from the very beginning, by page 40 I was ready to ditch it! There is a LOT of techy detail here, with Mark working out how much energy it will take to get from a to b, and how much water he needs to survive x number of days. This soon got really tedious and I did think if the book continued in that vein then I wouldn’t be able to take much more…!
But then the action switches back to earth and we are introduced to a host of new characters that attempt to work out how to rescue Mark. I found these parts of the book much more interesting and it gave the story a much needed new dimension. But then every time we flitted back to life on Mars with Mark, I found myself drifting off again.
I think the author attempted to lighten the techy aspects of the book by making Mark light-hearted and humorous. While this worked to some degree, I found the frequent “Yay! Go me!” comments a bit tedious – and also this side of his personality didn’t really fit with the incredibly clever solutions he found to his problems. The technical detail, while clever, just bored me and I found myself skipping chunks of text – and I didn’t feel I missed out on any of the story by doing so.
Although I have no way of knowing how factually correct or accurate this book is, I think the amount of research that must have gone into this book is impressive, and it was different to anything I had read before. I did enjoy some parts of the book but it really isn’t my kind of thing and I found the level of technical detail bored me to tears and I couldn’t wait for the book to finish! I feel guilty giving this too bad a rating as I don’t think I am the book’s target market, and it did have redeeming features. I definitely wouldn’t read this book again – but oddly I think I would check out the Ridley-Scott-directed film, starring Matt Damon as Mark, which is due out later this year just out of curiosity.