A Review of The Martian by Andy Weir
Wow, I’m glad that’s over. I can’t for the life of me figure out why everyone loves this book. That certainly wasn’t how all this started. When I was finally able to pick this up, I anxiously awaited one of the coolest survivor stories ever penned. I expected a more lighthearted, sci-fi version of The Road by Cormac McCarthy (I don’t know why, I just did). I was way, way off.
Don’t get me wrong, this certainly had the potential to be that awesome survivor story, but so many things got in the way. Where do I even begin?
Let’s start with our main man, Mark Watney. I wanted to like Watney as much as seemingly every other reader has, but I just wished he would shut. up. Not the best attitude to have for a narrator. You’ll probably like Watney if you enjoy The Big Bang Theory, but I happen to think it’s one of the worst shows on television. His humor is the kind where you try and change your groan to a half-hearted laugh. It’s so over the top that it doesn’t feel like anyone like this could possibly exist in real life, but maybe I don’t hang out with enough astrophysicists.
I am also very, very glad I don’t hang out with astrophysicists after pages and pages of unnecessary explanation of whatever hack job he’s doing to some necessary-for-survival machinery. Seriously, unless all this sciencey space talk gives you as big of a nerd-boner as it clearly does for our author, you’ll want to skim about half of this book. That’s what I did towards the end when I finally accepted that this was all over my head and there was really no need to learn all the specifics anyways. Weir could have cut out about 60 pages by doing away with all this and would have left much more room for a little more, you know, plot.
It may have also helped if Weir took some of that zeal and applied it to his character building. They were some of the flattest characters I’ve ever come across. I didn’t care for or about any of them. Also, I don’t think there was a single physical description of any of the lot, apart from the Commander being older and Johannsen being little. I know it’s not necessary to have a ton of physical description (we have our imaginations!) but it was still weird.
I wanted to put this book down so many times, but managed to stick it out. I was happiest when it was over. I’ll call it “okay” because the premise is cool and I enjoyed the part in the middle where there was actually some interaction between Watney and the rest of humanity. And that sweet cover.