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The Martian by Andy Weir

It’s been touted as Apollo 13 meets Cast Away because of it’s gripping detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars. And, it doesn’t disappoint. Engineered with exhaustive details, yet humanly down-to-earth, Andy Weir’s The Martian is a book for the space geek whose heart palpitates at the mere mention of space travel.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

What ensues is Mark Watney’s scientific assessment of the situation and his comprehensive plan to survive. You’ll see a lot of this iterative scenario as he analyzes the situation.

"My idea to make 600 liters of water…that means I’ll need 300 liters of liquid O2."

"I can create O2 easily enough. It takes twenty hours for the MAV fuel plant to fill its 10-liter tank with CO2. The oxygenator can turn it into O2, then the atmospheric regulator will see the O2 content in the Hab is high, and pull it out of the air, storing it in the main O2 tanks. They’ll fill up, so I’ll have to transfer O2 over to the rovers’ tanks and even the space suit tanks as necessary."

"But I can’t create it very quickly. About half a liter of CO2 per hour, it will take twenty-five days to make the oxygen I need. That’s longer than I’d like."

Each day Mark Watney does a log entry elaborating on his activities and challenges during the day. Because of the precise nature of the information imparted the book reads more as a script in a movie. And, Andy Weir has not pulled any punches. For the engineers and space geeks who dwell on the details, this book will delight and exceed expectations. After all, the author is a self-prophesized science geek and software engineer by profession. When he started imagining strategies for a man-made mission to Mars, he realized he could make it happen – in a novel.

But a word of caution for those who are overwhelmed by extreme levels of engineering and space talk, the novel may at times become a bit exhausting especially if you try and read it in one shot.

Regardless your level of enthusiasm, Andy Weir had done a phenomenal job of bringing space to life. His attempt to make the character human and even hilariously endearing is a credit to what makes this novel readable to all (not exclusively lovers of science fiction).

"I just get sick of being told how to wipe my ass. Independence is the number one qualities they look for when choosing Ares astronauts."

"If Commander Lewis were here, I’d do whatever she said, no problem. But a committee of faceless bureaucrats back on Earth? Sorry, I’m just having a tough time with it."

The Martian by Andy Weir, is published by Crown Publishing
4 out of 5 Sukasa Stars

Review by @ShilpaRaikar for @SukasaReads (a division of @SukasaStyle)