As soon as I saw the trailer for the movie The Martian and saw it was based on a book, I immediately picked up the book. I was super excited because I had heard such great things about the book and the movie looked amazing.
I saw the movie after reading the book and, man, it was amazing! But this is one of the very few times I think I have ever said the movie was better than the book.
Don’t get me wrong, the book was good! Really good. How could a book about a human stranded on Mars not be? The astronaut, Mark Watney, brought tons of humor into his predicament after a freak accident during a mission to Mars left his crew thinking he was dead and leaving him behind. Being trapped on Mars with no way of telling anyone he is actually alive, Watney uses his keen ingenuity to keep himself alive until he figures out what comes next. The only downside I saw in the book was exactly why I think the humor was so important, because the humor was completely necessary to break up all the scientific talk.
“Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. ‘Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.'”
The whole time I was reading how he was getting out of these horrible situations by as, Mark says, “science-ing the shit out of this,” I was wondering if someone checked his work. If some scientist or an actual NASA scientist read it and figured out all his calculations were correct. (Later, I found out that the author, Andy Weir, was a software engineer who released pieces of the book on his own website, and constantly updated the book when readers pointed out miscalculations).
“I’m calling it the Watney Triangle because after what I’ve been through, shit on Mars should be named after me.”
Aside from his science-smarts, Mark Watney’s character reminds us the power of human spirit. With virtually no hope for communication to Earth and with only enough food and water to last him a limited number of days, Watney’s steadfastness never waivers. Although he accepts that it is very likely he will die, he pushes on, finds the humor in every situation and works diligently toward a solution.
“But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true.”
Seeing everyone come together to save him was pretty neat as well. The NASA scientists back on Earth have to make some tough situations and weigh the risks associated with every situation. The book was a nice reminder that people are willing to come together and go to great lengths to help someone else.
Overall, my advice on this one remains the same for most of my book reviews. Read the book first, but DO NOT miss out on the movie!
Happy reading, friends! And don’t forget, Matt Damon plays Mark Watney in the movie. *swoon*