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?”
Author: Andy Weir
Narrator: R.C Bray
Running Time: 10 Hours 53 Mins
Publisher: Podium Publishing
Audio Release Date: 22/03/2013
Genre: Science Fiction
My rating of ‘The Martian’: 5 out of 5
Purchase ‘The Martian’: Audible
I know I often do a cover review, but, considering it is the film/DVD cover used as the audiobook art there isn’t really a huge deal I can say other than ‘I like it’. It’s not too much different for the original cover anyway, which featured a close up of a guy’s face as he looked up to the sky.
What I will say about the publisher’s summary/blurb, however, is that it was freaking awesome (in my humble opinion) and served to whet the appetite just enough. Written in the same informal style as the book as a whole added a little bit of charm to it. Now, to push on with the main review:
Titles like ‘The Martian’ are what make me sit back and say to myself ‘you are strictly forbidden to ever cancel your audible membership.’ From the very first word right up until the very last, you can’t help but find yourself sucked into not just the story, but to Mark Watney’s every move. He is an accomplished botanist (it’s pretty much the sole reason for his being part of the mission to Mars) so, if anyone was to be stranded on the red planet and have the slightest hope of getting some farming going, it would be him. Being a witness for his miraculous achievements on such an inhospitable world is simply a pleasure.
Every aspect of the story; every single pitfall and way out of said pitfalls, every bit of useful kit that Watney either uses or re-designs/repurposes to suit his current dire needs, is explained so well and in such detail that, not only are you being immersed into an enjoyable tale of one man’s desperate struggle to stay alive on a world equally desperate to kill him, but you are genuinely learning as well.
R.C Bray’s narration is second to none and he provides a stellar voice cast for a multitude of characters. Having heard Bray’s work when listening to the excellent sci-fi series ‘The Fear Saga’ (‘Fear the Sky’, ‘Fear the Survivors’, ‘Fear the Future’) I knew I was in for an absolute treat as far as narration was concerned.
Andy Weir manages to cram an awful lot of emotion into the ten hours and fifty-three minutes’ worth of audio excitement that is ‘The Martian’. This is helped by Watney’s dry wit and the fact that he is so informal in putting down his feelings that it’s almost like he’s writing for the benefit of a good friend too-used to his foul language and constant joking around. The amount of times I found myself on the edge of my seat, desperate to find out how, or even if Watney would survive his latest setback were simply too numerous to count. Getting attached to a character to the extent that the emotions you feel when they are danger are almost as if it is happening to a loved one, is a very difficult thing for an author to make a reader/listener feel. Weir achieves that and does it in spades. I can honestly say that I have never pulled for a character to succeed as I did Mark Watney.
If you have the thought of watching the film before reading or listening to the book, I would advise against it. The film misses out a fair amount of nasty things that happen to Mark on Mars’ surface and, as such, it is better to get the full feel of the story first before watching a watered-down version on DVD. The film is still amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It just missed out so much.