It’s not often a book with such hype lives up to expectations. And to be fair I approached this book with zero expectations, just mild curiosity. My son wants to watch the movie so I thought I’d do the usual trick of reading the book first before the movie. Knew very little beyond some guy trapped in Mars, and uses science (magic for some people) to survive.
I had not expected such a thorough treatment of science behind almost everything Watney did in Mars. So thorough, in fact, that it became cool. So cool it was almost cold. Like Mars (see what I did there?). It was clear very early on that Weir is passionate about science, and everything in and around space travel. The rationale behind his efforts to survive were grounded in logic and (here’s that word again) science, so much so that I’m beginning to think that there may not be anyone on Earth with such an incredible store of knowledge in a person’s brain. I think there’s a blurb on the cover that referenced MacGyver, and that’s totally what this book is – MacGyver in Mars, multiplied by a million.
I did not expect to enjoy the book as much as I did, and I’m glad to have read it. It almost made me regret not being an astronaut instead of an IT guy. Because I could so totally do it. I know a molecule of water is made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. See? And I retrofit nuclear-powered spacecrafts all the time. I wake up after, but I still could do it. I literally do it in my dreams.