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Weird Review: The Martian (Book)

Martian
★ ★ ★ (Solid)
Publish Date: 2011
Author: Andy Weir

“The Martian” opens with magnetic force. Thrown into a catastrophic situation, the reader is immediately enveloped in this first-person account of an astronaut stranded on Mars. Admittedly, “The Martian” weaves a wildly entertaining premise. The main character, botanist and engineer Mark Watney, proves his indestructible optimism and intellect over the course of the novel — as do the supporting team of NASA staff — which makes “The Martian” an uplifting read.

So why am I not raving over this book?

I understand why hard sci-fi fans are drooling over “The Martian,” but frankly, I was less than enthralled by the meticulous detail Weir uses to frame each catastrophe and triumph. In my opinion, the problem-solution plot formula caused the book’s tension to fall slack.

With each new twist, I found myself rolling my eyes, “Oh boy, Watney is encountering yet another problem, and now I’m supposed to be giddy about how he gets out of it THIS time.”

 

*yawn*

I felt like I was in the middle of a paper and dice game where Watney was the only character. Sure, he was a likable guy, goofy even, but I found him largely unrealistic. Perhaps if Weir had given Watney more psychological depth, the story could have reclaimed its tension and delivered a heart-pounding sci-fi novel from cover to cover.

NOTE: I feel a little guilty in admitting that I didn’t LOVE this book, as though I’m betraying my people somehow. But truth be told, I was disappointed in this one, and even though I’m stoked at Weir’s treatment of space exploration, I thought he barely scratched the surface in exploring human character.

 

 

Blizzy Blair

Blair Casey is an amateur hiker, perpetual note scribbler and news junkie. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with her husband and two cats.

  • DL Keur

    A good review. I happen to agree with you. I couldn’t make it through the book because of the things you mention.