Read March 2016
Okay, I loved this book. I made time for it before bed every night. So know that this isn't a true book review, per se.
I have eclectic taste when it comes to books. For me, it's all about the author's voice and competence, and the characters of the story. Subject matter has no real bearing, and I love to feel like I'm learning new things as I read for fun. So The Martian was perfect on all those levels. I was a bit wary going in, because I knew it was going to be a very technical novel, and I have only a rudimentary grasp of space travel and exploration. All those worries were expelled the moment the story starts, and we meet Mark, our intrepid Martian explorer, thought dead and left stranded on the Red Planet when his crew aborted the mission and went back to the ship. Mark lives a year and a half on Mars, constantly encountering problems and having to engineer solutions. The narrative is comprised of his log entries, and the occasional flash back to Earth, as they try to devise a way to bring him home.
First off, Mark is an adorable dork, and he injects a quirky humor into everything. Though the story is dangerous, and suspenseful, Mark's voice takes the it from a place of nail-biting melodrama to one that is entertaining, appropriately nerve-rattling, and always interesting to read.
I'll paraphrase it for you:
Me: "This is obviously a clog. How about I take it apart and check the internal tubing?"
NASA(after five hours of deliberation): "No. You'll fuck it up and die."
So I took it apart.
Me: "I took it apart, found the problem, and fixed it."
You know what!? Fuck this! Fuck this airlock, fuck that Hab, and fuck this whole planet!
Things aren't as bad as they seem. I'm still fucked, mind you. Just not as deeply.
Fun fact: This is exactly how the Apollo 1 crew died. Wish me luck!
It seemed to work well. The seal looked strong and the resin was rock-hard. I did, however, glue my hand to the helmet.
Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped.
As with most of life's problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation.
I tested the brackets by hitting them with rocks. This kind of sophistication is what we interplanetary scientists are known for.
I highlighted the heck out of this book on my Kindle. Can't recommend it enough if you like scifi and space. And I also recommend it to people who are curious and just plain like to read. Five stars from me. Loved it.