The Martian

‘THE MARTIAN’


JUMP TO SECTION:

OPENING LINE:

Disco sucks!


PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive – and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills – and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit – he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”
©2012 Andy Weir (P)2013 Podium Publishing


THE PLOT:

Mark Watney is stranded on Mars. His crew presumed him dead as they left the planet just 6 days into a 31 day mission. Through circumstances that can best be described as miraculous, Watney survived the accident and now must figure out how he will survive on Mars and how he will communicate with Earth.
What will he eat? How is the water supply? What about air? What can he do with the equipment he possesses? All of these are big questions that the reader will discover the answers to as Watney figures them out for himself. The biggest question of all is: What will go wrong next?
‘The Martian’ chronicles the story of Watney’s life on the Red Planet. As the story continues to unfold, it switches back and forth between Watney’s log entries and happenings on Earth and in outer space with the goal to retrieve Watney and bring him safely back to Earth.
One of the key aspects of the plot is that it never feels absurd. Everything that unfolds does so in a completely believable manner. There is a lot of science fact in this work of science fiction.
Even though the story switches point of view throughout, it remains a singular plot. Weir did not feel as though he needed to add a lot of extra elements like romantic subplots or other stories, and he made the right decision. The story is strong throughout and there was no need to stray from it. Everything that happened, from conflicts at NASA, negotiations with China and with Watney’s crew, all worked to serve the larger plot.
Things unfold at a fast pace and it doesn’t drag at any point from beginning to end. I never found myself thinking that a certain section of the story was unnecessary and I was certainly never bored or disengaged. That is saying quite a lot for a story that does not feature a conventional antagonist. The closest thing ‘The Martian’ has to an antagonist is the Red Planet itself.


THE AUTHOR:

Andy Weir did a good job of crafting a character that you want to root for at all times. I think Watney’s sense of humor, which is displayed often throughout the logs, is a big part of that. When you have to spend a lot of time with one character by himself, it helps that the character is funny.
Weir has crafted an excellent story with a lot of twists and turns that you can’t wait to follow. He does a good job of mixing successes and failures to the point that you always have a sense of danger and the next outcome is not a certain one.


THE NARRATION:

R. C. Bray did a tremendous job with the narration of ‘The Martian’. The acting was spot on at all times and never over done. He was able to use a full complement of accents and different pitches to a give a distinct voice to each character. It was also well paced. I listened for nearly 11 hours, and in many ways it felt like 11 minutes it went by so quickly.


THE PRODUCTION:

The quality of the audio track is as great as the quality of the narration. There is some music to open and close the track, but otherwise it is free of music and sound effects.
The narration sounds clean with no noticeable glitches or changes in volume levels that I could detect. Chapter stops were in appropriate places.


CONCLUSION:

‘The Martian’ is funny, intense, suspenseful and even poignant at times. Most important of all is that it is pure satisfaction. Once I started listening, I did not even want to stop for a break. Everything from the writing, narration and production has combined for a homerun release.


QUICK FACTS:

Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
The Martian Andy Weir R. C. Bray Podium Publishing Science Fiction 03/22/2014 10 hours, 53 minutes 10/10

DISCLAIMER:

A copy of ‘THE MARTIAN’ was purchased from Audible for review.

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