Friday, October 31, 2014

Review: The Martian, by Andy Weir

The first time I hear about a book with subject matter that isn’t that interesting to me, it’s like it never happened.  The second time, it might briefly register.  The third time, and then the fourth, fifth, and sixth times, I start to take notice.  I’ll look the book up, and then decide, yeah, that’s really not for me.  But after I hear about it for, say, the tenth time, I will generally just pick it up and read it, in spite of the fact that it sounds like something I won’t like.  This is what happened with The Martian, Andy Weir’s first novel, about an astronaut-botanist who gets stranded on Mars.  Yeah, even though I’ve read this book, that description really makes me think, wow, that sounds like something I would never read.  I will generally read anything, but for me to read something that is way outside my comfort zone, I have to hear some pretty effusive praise from a wide variety of readers.  I heard about The Martian on multiple podcasts and on many book websites, and I finally forced myself to get a copy and read it.  And lo and behold, I loved it!  The hive mind is generally very good at discovering and bringing to light very fun and compulsively readable books.  I don’t read much science fiction, and I don’t have a thing about Martians or aliens, or space or astronomy.  I am so happy I found this book, because it turned out to be one of the most purely enjoyable and entertaining books I have ever read.  I suppose it has to be classified as science fiction, but it’s really just barely.  It does take place a bit in the future, as the United States has sent a few missions to Mars at the point that the story starts.  But the science and technology in the book is, according to all of the sources I’ve read, all currently available.  Weir is a master of propulsive narrative, and the book is so hilarious and just plain absorbing.  This is, on the face of it, in no way my cup of tea.  But I absolutely loved this book.  Just read it!

(I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.)

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