The Martian

The Martian

Mysterious Book Report No 163

by John Dwaine McKenna

For the first in a long time, maybe ever, we’re reviewing two Si-Fi novels in a row.  It wasn’t planned that way, it was by coincidence only, there’s no shift in focus going on.  Our emphasis will always be on crime-fiction and mysteries with occasional forays into other, thriller-related areas, like now.

The Martian, (Crown Publishing/Random House, $24.00, 369 pages, ISBN 978-0-8041-3902-1) by Andy Weir, is a novel of desperate survival against impossible odds in the not-to-distant future, when one member of the third manned expedition to the planet Mars is marooned.

It happens by accident, during the first week the crew of six was on the surface of Mars . . . when they were hit with a freak, 175 KPH sandstorm and a forced evacuation, causing them to abort the mission without one of the crew.  The last time Mark Watney, the botonist and mechanical engineer had been seen, was at the height of the storm’s fury.  He had been impaled by an antenna from a destroyed satellite dish, which sent his bio-suit pressure to zero as he was blown off a steep hill before landing face-down at the bottom of a Martian gully with his space suit breached, reading zero life functions.  The mission commander, believing him dead and with her ship and crew in jeopardy, blasts off, leaving Watney on distant Mars, the first astronaut believed dead on another planet.  But miraculously, through a series of coincidences, Mark Watney awakens on day six, wounded . . . but still alive . . . utterly alone with not a chance in hell of rescue, or survival.  Watney however, has that ages-old human instinct for self-preservation.  He wants to live, and with determination and his unique skill set, he might just make it for a while . . . until the inevitability of science and arithmetic catch up with him.  In the meantime, he’s using all his engineering skills to stay alive and keeping a diary of his efforts as the clock inexorably counts down to doom.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat, cheering him on, as the congenial survivor tries to figure his way out of page after page of seemingly fatal situations with a mixture of advanced engineering skills and plain old common sense.

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The Martian

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