Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
2014 – Fiction – Science Fiction
The Story: Mark Watney is a crew member on a manned mission to Mars. When a ferocious storm necessitates the mission’s end just 6 days in, Mark is left behind after his crew sees him whipped away and struck by debris. However, Mark is alive and now must figure out how to survive on the harsh landscape of Mars until help arrives.
The Opening Line: I’m pretty much fucked.
Thoughts: This was one of the hit books of 2014, so I went in with a ton of hype and anticipation. Luckily, the book held up under pressure, and I ended up loving it. As an engineer and botanist, Mark used a lot of tech speak that I had trouble understanding and following, but I think that probably gives the book more authenticity and and accuracy. When I reached a passage like that, I would try my best, reach the end, and think “I didn’t understand that at all…but yay! He survived another day!” Overall, the book was a quick, engrossing read that I highly recommend.
Fellowship of the Worms Questions
1. Does anybody else have a bit of a crush on Mark Watney after reading this?
Meh, not really. I mean, the guy is super smart and resourceful and has a sense of humor. He’s also really resilient. But I can’t say he made my heart race or anything. I think I would have to see him in a more normal, non-survival setting to get more of a feel for his actual personality.
2. Do you think the crew was right in leaving Watney behind?
Yeah, I do. All signs pointed to him being dead. They saw him get struck and disappear, then his vital signs indicated that he was dead. I think to stay and search would have endangered the rest of them. Unfortunate for Mark, obviously, but I definitely think they made the right choice. And they knew going into this career that it could be dangerous, they knew what they were signing up for. I did love how the commander struggled with her choice for the rest of the book though – I felt like that really showed her humanity.
3. Do you think it’s realistic that Mark could have kept his sense of humor throughout his ordeal?
Definitely. People tend to cope with trauma in a variety of ways (psych major coming out here!), and humor is a common method of coping. Isolated and facing almost certain death, Mark could just as easily given up and killed himself. Instead, he made life bearable by surviving and by laughing.
4. Matt Damon is going to be playing Mark Watney in the upcoming movie version of The Martian. How do you feel about the casting decision?
I don’t watch a whole lot of movies, but I guess Matt Damon is okay. He’s that guy from the Bourne movies, right? Honestly, though, this question is way outta my league. I don’t even know if I’ll see the movie yet.
5. How many times did you think Mark was really, truly, going to bite it?
Like, every page…he would have some successes, and then a disaster would come along and screw everything up. Honestly, even with his qualifications and crew member roles, I don’t know how he was so resourceful. It’s just a good thing it wasn’t me up there. My math is atrocious so I would probably calculate something wrong the first day. Seriously, though, it was kind of a stressful book.
Great questions, Katie! As always, it’s been so fun reading along and seeing what everyone else thought!