"Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.
It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission 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 get 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. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"
This book had been on my radar since around when it was released in February of this year because it had some great buzz going for it. Then the audiobook edition was nominated for an Audie Award and I just had to listen to the whole thing after I heard the sample.
R.C. Bray was a perfect choice as the narrator. The overall tone of Watney's log entries can get pretty sarcastic despite the desperate circumstances, and Bray conveyed that tone brilliantly. He also demonstrated some fantastic range, really bringing out the drama in Watney's story as it came up, and distinguishing the voices of the side characters well.
The events in this story are strung together with humor and wit - I never thought I'd be laughing so often in moments of suspense - and I think that getting Watney's perspective in the form of log entries (like books that read like diaries) made it even more suspenseful. Of course, the log entries alternate with Earth-based narrative, which only really served to increase the level of suspense even more.
The last big thing I should mention is I listened to this book after having read Commander Chris Hadfield's
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth (discussed in Book Club). Having learned about life outside Earth and the science involved as a result of my experiences reading his book, watching his videos, and all that good stuff, I feel that I appreciated the credibility of this book more than I would have otherwise. It's clear that the author did his research and wrote a story about things that can't happen (yet) in the context of current technology.
I can't recommend this book for kids, but I think teens and adults alike would love this, even if they aren't big science fiction readers. Granted, some younger readers may not get some references to older sitcoms mentioned in the story, but it wouldn't make a difference in their overall enjoyment. I think it's really just there to date its readers (ahh!).
If you're subscribed to Audible, check it out there (read: join by using my banner earlier in this post), or buy it in print at your preferred bookshop.
Buy The Martian by Andy Weir in Hardcover for the low price of 15.36.