Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

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BOOK review
Started on: 3.August.2015
Finished on: 12.August.2015

Title : The Martian
Author : Andy Weir
Publisher : Broadway Books
Pages :  369 pages /  pages (e-book)
Year of Publication : 2014
Price : $ 11.22 (www.bookdepository.com/)

Rating: 5/5
*might contain some minor spoilers
watch the movie trailer here.
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"I'm pretty much fucked.
That's my considered opinion.
Fucked.
Six days into what should be the greatest two months of my life, and it's turned into a nightmare."
It's been six days since the Ares 3 crew landed on Mars when suddenly a dust storm hits and forces them to evacuate. However, Mark Watney wasn't very lucky when the dust storm nearly killed him and his crewmate believed he was dead. When Mark Watney finally regained consciousness, he realized the fact that he was left all alone in Mars with no way to contact Earth. All he's left with is all the facility and supplies that was supposed to sustain the Ares 3 mission. But that supplies will only last him so long before he will starve to death. So Mark Watney has to figure out a way how to prolong his life and try to survive by himself in Mars.

"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 happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I'm fucked."
Against all odds, Mark Watney managed to increase his food supplies with the help of his skills as a botanist. But even so, he will still run out of food sooner or later. And food isn't Watney's only problem; he's got plenty more problems to fix along the way. In that situation, Watney's only chance of survival is be Ares 4—which will land on Mars 4 years later, 3,200 kilometers away from his current location. In the end, Mark Watney can only depend on his wit, skills, andmost importantlyluck, to stay alive.
"I can't promise we'll succeed in rescuing him, but I can promise this: The entire focus of NASA will be to bring Mark Watney home. This will be our overriding and singular obsession until he is either back on Earth or confirmed dead on Mars."
image source: here. edited by me.
"The medical area has morphine for emergencies. And there's enough there for a lethal dose. I'm not going to slowly starve to death, I'll tell you that. If I get to that point, I'll take an easier way out." 
I had a book hangover right after I finished this book because I couldn't get Mark Watney out of my head for days. I went into this book expecting a really serious science-fiction-ish thriller book; but it turns out to be more on the comedic side (in my opinion). This book has a very captivating first chapter that makes me want to read the rest of the story. Honestly, I'm not really into science (I had really bad grades in high school) and I rarely read science-fiction books. But when the story is narrated by a crazy astronaut/mechanical engineer/botanist like Mark Watney, it becomes ten times more entertaining to read. Although there's a lot of scientific explanation, thankfully Watney breaks it down so that it's easier to understand for common readers who're not scientists.

The book is actually written in multiple POVs, because not only we get to follow Mark's journey through his log entries, but we also get to see how NASA responded to the situation in a third-person POV—which made things a lot more intense because there's that frustrating feeling when they had communication issues. The plot itself might have moved at quite a slow pace, but I'm always very excited at whatever small progress Mark Watney has made in his journey to survive on Mars. Problem always comes one after another so I didn't really have time to get bored. There are plenty of funny moments in this book, but it doesn't mean what Watney has to go through is not extremely dangerous or intense. There are scenes that literally kept me at the edge of my seat and I'm constantly rooting for Mark Watney to stay alive. I'm obviously not going to spoil how it ends, but let me tell you that the plot is still very intense even until the very last page and the ending choked me up a little bit. And Mark Watney's last words in this book is very heartwarming. I think Andy Weir did a really good job wrapping up this book :))
"I read it fifty times in a row. Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm not a mama's boy or anything. I'm a full-grown man who only occasionally wears diapers (you have to in an EVA suit). It's totally manly and normal for me to cling to a letter from my mom. It's not like I'm some homesick kid at camp, right?"
And how can I write this review without talking about our main character: Mark Watney. I loved Mark Watney's character right from the very first page; and I've come to love his character more and more as I followed his journey in Mars. Conflicts and problems are constantly thrown at Watney and I am utterly amazed at his way of dealing with the situation. Watney is a very smart/intelligent man, and he always seems to have some kind of trick up his sleeve. Quoting Martinez's opinion, Mark Watney is one clever son of a b*tch. Aside from his intelligence, I am very fond of his bright and upbeat personality. This story becomes funny to me because even in the most life-threatening situation (meaning, Watney almost died several times in the book), he still managed to crack a joke or do something quirky. I'm constantly amazed at how he managed to keep his spirit up despite being completely alone in another planet. He's also very sarcastic, which is a trait that I always find interesting (and entertaining) in fictional characters. To simplify my feelings about Mark Watney's character: I want to be his best friend. I'm sure he'll be a fun person to be with :)) Below I listed some of my favorite parts from the book; hopefully it won't spoil too much.

↓↓↓↓↓↓
I got really bored, so I decided to pick a theme song!
Something appropriate. And naturally, it should be something from Lewis's godawful seventies collection. It wouldn't be right any other way.
There are plenty of great candidates: "Life on Mars?" by David Bowie, "Rocket Man" by Elton John, "Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan.
But I settled on "Stayin' Alive" by the Bees Gees.
"Presuming nothing goes wrong, that is. But hey, everything else has gone smoothly this mission, right? (That was sarcasm.)
"I could cut off an arm and eat it, gaining me valuable calories and reducing my overall caloric need. No, not really."

☆ Mark Watney's Best Moments ☆


"What must it be like?" he pondered. "He's stuck out there. He thinks he's totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man's psychology?"
He turned back to Venkat. "I wonder what he's thinking right now."

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61

How come Aquaman can control whales? They're mammals! Makes no sense.
[11:52] WATNEY: ...Also: Tell the crew I'm alive! What the fuck is wrong with you?
[12:04] JPL: ... Sol 900 is great news. It'll give us a lot more time to get the supply mission together. Also, please watch your language. Everything you type is being broadcast live all over the world.
[12:15] WATNEY: Look! A pair of boobs! -> (.Y.)
"But this time I had to hang around for a photo op.
I gave the camera a thumbs-up to go along with my note, which said, Ayyyyyy!
Blame the seventies TV."
"You know what! Fuck this! Fuck this airlock, fuck that Hab, and fuck this whole planet!
Seriously, this is it! I've had it I've got a few minutes before I run out of air and I'll be damned if I spend them playing Mars's little game. I'm so god damned sick of it I could puke.
All I have to do is sit here. The air will leak out and I'll die.
I'll be done. No more getting my hopes up, no more self-delusion, and no more problem-solving. I've fucking had it!
  
AUDIO LOG TRANSCRIPT: SOL 119 (2)

Sigh... okay. I've had my tantrum and now I have to figure out how to stay alive. Again.
If I could have anything, it would be a radio to ask NASA the safe path down the Ramp. Well, if I could have anything, it would be for the green-skinned yet beautiful Queen of Mars to rescue me so she can learn more about this Earth thing called "lovemaking."
It's been a long time since I've seen a woman. Just sayin'.
"It seemed to work well. The seal looked strong and the resin was rock-hard. I did, however, glue my hand to the helmet.
Stop laughing."
"But I did wake up, and the main computer showed the slight rise in CO2 I had predicted. Looks like I'll live another sol.
Live Another Sol would be an awesome name for a James Bond movie."
"You may be wondering what else I do with my free time. I spend a lot of time sitting around on my lazy ass watching TV. But so do you, so don't judge."
The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. 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"
"I chipped his sacred religious item into long splinters using a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. I figure if there's a God, he won't mind, considering the situation I'm in."
Other than Mark Watney, there are also other supporting characters who helped Watney in his journey. I'm not going to mention any of the characters from NASA, because they're not that interesting and sometimes their parts are quite boring, to be honest. However, I really like the rest of Ares 3 crew (Mark Watney's crewmates)—especially Commander Lewis. She doesn't show up much in the book but I can see that she's one charismatic and wise leader. I won't spoil too much about the rest of them, but I'll say that there are some of Ares 3 crew's plans that really made my jaw dropped. And in the book, there's also a flashback explaining about what happened to Ares 3 crews in the first place before they left Watney in Marswhich was so incredibly intense!

"It occurs to me: Now that I might live, I have to be more careful about logging embarrassing moments. How do I delete log entries? There's no obvious way.... I'll get to it later. I've got more important things to do."
This book was seriously intense and fun to read from start to finish. Had to admit, there are times when I got a little bit bored during NASA parts, but Mark Watney always managed to revive the mood instantly. Since this was the first time I read a book that involved astronaut, I find the occupation really fascinating and full of life-threatening risks. I now know that astronauts are very intelligent people who're also extremely brave. Reading this book made me respect all those astronauts who went to space for the sake of knowledge. And of course, I'm looking forward to Andy Weir's next work to see what he has to offer next ;)
"I'm not talking about faith in God, I'm talking about faith in Mark Watney. Look at all the shit Mars has thrown at him, and he's still alive. He'll survive this. I don't know how, but he will. He's a clever son of a bitch."


On a different note, a while ago I posted The Martian movie trailer which made me so excited and finally pushed me to read the book. But now after I'm finished with the book, I'm quite worried that Matt Damon won't do justice to Mark Watney's crazy wild character. Please don't tone down Watney's character, because I feel that his character is the best part of this story. Nevertheless, it doesn't reduce my excitement for the movie adaptation, which is set to be released in October. They also released two Youtube videos that made it seem like Ares 3 mission documentariesand it's super cool! If you haven't seen it, go watch it below ;) I will definitely post a movie adaptation review when I've seen it :D
"There's always hope," Venkat said. "Maybe he'll figure it out faster than we think and turn around in time... Maybe he'll find a way to keep his life support going on less energy than we thought was possibble. Mark Watney is now an expert at surviving on Mars. If anyone can do it, it's him."

 
Highly anticipating the release of this movie adaptation!
 
by.stefaniesugia♥ .

8 comments:

  1. Argh, Stefanie really makes me more curious! So, you read in english, and this book is science-fiction. By 0-10, what number of difficulties of the language?

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    1. Ayok bacaa :D Probably around 6/ 7 ? (Mostly because of all the scientific vocabularies xD)

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  2. You should try playing Lifeline on your phone, it's an amazing game, the story is almost like The Martian, but this time, you're involved in the protagonist's life. In Lifeline, you'll guide a stranded astronaut and help him survive. From time to time, he'll send you a text asking what to do next, so it's basically like reading a book for 3 days straight. Basic survival isn't the only thing you have to worry about, there's also the question "Am I alone right now?"

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  3. It sounds like a really cool game! I've checked it out on iTunes store but apparently it's quite expensive :1

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  4. Review Stefanie yang pertama-tama bikin kenal The Martian..
    Trus bukunya murah banget :)

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  5. LOL. Akhirnya rasa penasaranku terjawab. Di film nggak ditunjukin kata-kata terakhir Mark waktu dikasih tahu bahwa yang ia ketik disiarkan ke seluruh penjuru dunia. XD *jitak Mark*

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    Replies
    1. Iyaa aku kecewa jg gara2 di filmnya ngga ditunjukin XD

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