The Martian by Andy Weir

IMG_20150211_223744_853Mark Watney has just realized he’s been stranded on Mars after his crew members, believing he died during a wind the-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-2015storm, left him there.  Stuck on Mars with no way to contact anyone, Mark doesn’t let the bleak odds defeat him.  Mark’s not a pessimistic guy, he’s able to think quickly and his engineering and botanist knowledge are all fortunate features/skills to possess if there is any chance to make it off the red planet alive.

The Martian by Andy Weir is a surprisingly funny, witty, quick paced book.  The main character’s personality is key to his likability as well as the plausibility for the story itself.  The book starts out being told from Watney’s perspective and Weir does a good job of bringing in mission control’s role at the right time.  A book told solely from and about one character could get boring quickly, even if there is a good amount of humor and unexpected situations. Having the mission control side of the story come into play helped keep this book moving and added the extra bits of suspense.

The humor was a favorite part of this book for me.  Giving Mark a wicked sense of humor made for fun reading.  If the main character would have been serious, practical, and regimented, I don’t think it would have been successful.  To be stuck in such a hopeless situation I think you’d have to find a way to keep positive, why continue trying otherwise?  A few parts of the book got a bit too technical for my taste and I found myself skimming a few paragraphs every so often.  The last 100 pages moved very fast and was suspenseful even though I could tell how it would end.  Watney faces success and failure over and over again and finding out how/if he overcomes each circumstance made for an interesting story.

The end of the book featured some background on the author and his insight into his writing, which I thought was a great thing to include.  It provided an extra insight into the author and why he choose to write Mark Watney as he did.  The Martian is an entertaining book that is interesting and suspenseful and a very fun read.

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I don’t understand Space

My husband is watching something on the Science Channel about space and black holes and some other stuff.  I like watching these programs but when they start to talk about super novas and double sun novas (or whatever it was) I get all confused.  I just can’t wrap my head around space – we are on a planet that is in a solar system surrounded by other planets and our sun is a giant star.  Black holes are all around us, life could exist on other planets, and Pluto was downgraded a few years ago.   I can’t grasp it, wish I could, but don’t have the brain for it.

One of the best series on space I’ve ever seen is Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe hosted by Brian Cox.  Brian could explain the most complex things in the most simple way.  He has a clear love of science and made me love learning about it.  Even after watching these shows, I still don’t get space – how is it possible?  Someone, anyone – can you make it make sense for me?

Anyone else out there as mystified by space as I am?  Have you seen either the Wonders series and wish that your high school science instructor was as engaging as Brian Cox?  Live Long and Prosper!