By Andy Weir
Now, if you were left behind on Mars by your crewmates and knew you had to wait for the next planned Mars expedition, in FOUR years, would you even try to survive? Or would you assume there was no way in hell for that to happen?
“So, that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one days. If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happens, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah, I’m fucked.”
So why doesn’t he just take the easy way out? Well, at the moment, he’s alone but he has everything he needs. He’s in no hurry. The thing is - he’s someone who rises to challenges and likes to figure things out, so he wants to do that. He figures out how much soil he’ll need and how to turn the soil he has, plus his own shit along with Martian soil, into something he can grow crops in.
“This isn’t a new concept I just came up with. People have speculated on how to make crop soil out of Martian dirt for decades. I’ll just be putting it to the test for the first time. But in the end, if everything goes to plan, I’ll have 92 square meters of crop-able soil. Hell yeah I’m a botanist! Fear my botany powers!”
Mark Watney is pretty smart but he’s also totally an extrovert, the class clown, the one who provides the lubricant between all the really smart introverts. He’s also an extrovert who only has his journal to talk to.
I think that’s part of why he comes across as more of a real person to me, not a type. We all have geeky sides, and sporty sides and act like kids at times, and get excited and angry and scared.
“I’ve been so busy staying alive I never thought of what this must be like for my parents. Right now, they’re suffering the worst pain anyone can endure. I’d give anything just to let them know I’m still alive. I’ll just have to survive to make up for it.”
He’s stuck with thumb drives of things his shipmates brought for entertainment.
“Disco. God damn it, Lewis.”
A large part of the book is him reacting to problems, thinking through them and coming up with a solution. He’s so perfectly imperfect. Like any good hero, he causes his own trouble, and he laughs at himself so well.
“Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”
Right, who knew? Um, everyone.
My biggest criticism is that I felt like the ending was abrupt. We’re rocking along then . . . boom, it’s done. I feel like the author should have given us a little more warning that THIS was the goal. Oh well.
It’s a FUN book. Try not to take it too seriously. It is action, and science, and humor. I really, really liked it.