Monday, September 17, 2018

Horse Head Dig and Flip: "The Martian" by Andy Weir (2014)

"The Martian" Andy Weir (2014)
369 pages

I knew I would get around to reading this book eventually,  so I've avoided the movie and trailers as best I could.  (I love movies, but hey, I'm a book man. 'Whadyagonnado?')

Anyway, about "The Martian."  Come to find out, maybe a Bunsen burner chemistry class or two...or three might pay off in spades.  Add a solid math background to help work the numbers out and a talent for “thinking outside the box" and you just might get back to Earth in time to watch the next season of "Game of Thrones." 

Now let's be honest.  With all of the above in your wheelhouse and an unlimited supply of Ramen Noodle Soup, you'd still find yourself doing a whole lot of finger-crossing.  And we're right there with him the whole time.  Astronaut Mark Watney.

When a mission goes unexpectedly bad for the Mars expedition team, Watney finds himself alone, mistakenly left behind for dead.  To survive, he must figure out a way to keep himself alive for as long as it might take for a rescue team to make a return trip to get him.  Here's the real drain-suck.  They don't know he's alive.

Andy Weir has chosen to let his protagonist narrate the story in a journal-like style allowing the reader to really get inside his head.  The way his mind works. The way his emotions roller-coaster.  His daily and weekly rehash of plans and complaints and snafus and sense of humor.  And we quickly learn that our boy..."is wicked smart."
But not in that pissy, obnoxious way.

Had the author gone that direction, I would've bailed 50 pages in.  No, our lone survivor is, more or less, just a regular guy who'd probably owe somebody $20 bucks on the Chiefs/Steelers game...but you know he's good for it.  That and he just happens to be a freakin' astronaut.

"The Martian" is a very enjoyable and unique read. Even the pieces of technical mumbo-jumbo begin to make sense. (And there is a little bit, but not in that shitty acronym-crazy Tom Clancy way.  So have no fear.)  This novel is doable.  By the way, you'll probably think about this book the next time you order a baked potato.

"Major Tom (Coming Home)" - Peter Schilling / "Error in the System" (1983)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

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