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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick, Interesting read
This novel has a great premise, which is in many ways it greatest strength. Weir is great at delivering technical information in his writing style, and a great part of the text is quite technical. But it's succinct, and is never bogged down with advanced vocabulary. However, if you are not looking for a story that talks a lot about the technicalities and issues of space...
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mars - a Survivalist Handbook
Very enjoyable read and an interesting premise. Persevere beyond the GCSE maths fest that constitutes the first section because fortunately the rest of the book moves on to an actual plot rather than a series of equations. Did feel in retrospect that we don't actually get to know much about our hero beyond his problem solving skills - think most humans in such a situation...
Published 5 months ago by G. Morgan


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick, Interesting read, 18 April 2013
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This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
This novel has a great premise, which is in many ways it greatest strength. Weir is great at delivering technical information in his writing style, and a great part of the text is quite technical. But it's succinct, and is never bogged down with advanced vocabulary. However, if you are not looking for a story that talks a lot about the technicalities and issues of space travel and inter-planetary exploration, this book is not for you.
The story itself is good, switching between the main characters life on mars, and the events of those back on earth adds a refreshing change of pace at key points which keeps the reader engaged. Do not expect a deeply philosophical approach to difficulties faced by a lone human on a barren world, you wont be getting it. Life alone on Mars is described by Mark Watney, a likable and quick witted botanist, who likes to keep things simple, and humorous.
All in all, this book will interest the sci-fi fan, and will appeal to the casual reader, such as myself, looking for a new and refreshing story.
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109 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get out of that without moving, 5 Feb 2013
By 
William J. Fox "KillerBill" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
NASA has set up a chain of expeditions to Mars but very soon after landing the third one is aborted and the scientists have to leave. Unknown to them their dead companion, who is not actually dead, finds himself stranded on Mars with little hope of surviving until the next scheduled mission. Air and water are not the problem but he does not have enough food despite being left with the resources to accommodate six explorers.

Right from the start this is a gripping page-turner and no matter how hard Mark Watney strives to survive Mars works just as hard to kill him. All the time I was willing him to succeed only to have yet another believable crisis threatening his continued existence. In my opinion you will not find a better thriller set on Mars or elsewhere. I had not previously heard of the author and cannot remember how I ended up buying his book to read on my Ipad, but it was a good day. Highly recommended, excellent value for money, and I look forward to reading other work from Weir.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really entertaining space survival story, 20 Aug 2014
By 
Baz (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
I'm not a big fiction fan, particularly science fiction. Most of my reading is non-fiction, with a few novels here and there. However, I came across "The Martian" and was immediately intrigued, reading the first chapter or two there and then. It's an excellent story.

To set the scene: in the near future NASA has established the Ares Program to send astronauts to Mars. Mark Watney, the titular Martian, is the lowest-ranking member of the third mission. A few days after his Ares 3 crew lands on Mars, they are forced to abandon their mission. Unfortunately, Mark is seriously injured on the way to the escape vehicle and is left behind, the rest of his crew and NASA back home believing he's dead. He has no means of communicating with Earth. He has no means of getting off the planet. His supplies of food and water will last almost a year; the next Ares mission is due to reach Mars in 4 years time. And so his battle to survive begins.

Andy Weir has done a great job of making Watney someone the reader really cares about. Watney comes across as the kind of person you'd want to have around in a crisis. Not just for his technical abilities and inventive improvisational skills, but his upbeat nature and sense of humour. You find yourself really caring about him and willing him to succeed, despite knowing little of his back story. Despite his vast knowledge of chemistry, physics, engineering and botany he never seems like a know-it-all, possibly because of his many setbacks and near death experiences. I was crying with laughter at some points as he recounts his his day to day survival in log entries.

I really hope that "The Martian" gets picked up by a studio and filmed. And I really hope Andy Weir writes another book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, 4 Sep 2014
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Martian (Paperback)
So, at last I have actually read this book that has received some major hype since publication – and I must admit that I did enjoy the read. Some of the comments and reviews from the Press and other publications have been perhaps a bit too OTT. Larry Niven’s comment about this being like Robinson Crusoe but written by someone brighter, all I can say to that is Larry please actually read and understand Robinson Crusoe.

As a roller coaster ride of pure escapism and action this book does fulfil, but methinks this was written with a film in mind. There are many reasons for this as the style is pretty visual, and the characterisation is not fully developed, only the amount you would expect for an action movie. Being male of course when I was little I wanted to be an astronaut, like most boys, but there has to be something different about people who actually do the job, after all they have to take off with a lot of rocket fuel just below their backsides, which I suppose makes them to a degree into adrenalin junkies. I have nothing against astronauts, and not only do they have to be brave, very clever and intelligent, there are loads of other attributes that they must possess, and in this story you do wonder how Mark Watney managed to complete the training. I liked the man as I read this, but there are quite a few times when you wonder if he is a bit simple. For someone alone, stranded on Mars you do have to wonder what would go through your mind. Obviously there is the aim to stay alive, but you would also have a lot of negative thoughts, and contemplate on life and its meaning. For us reading this though, Watney never really has this depth of character, making him seem only partly real.

Reading this I thought of the film ‘Speed’ which I love, but I remember when I first saw it at the cinema and when new events cropped up everyone would groan, and then laugh, so although things keep going wrong and Watney has to come up with solutions, sometimes by himself, other times with the help of NASA you don’t actually get bored, instead you end up thinking of what can possibly happen next. Andy Weir has obviously thought of Michael Crichton when writing this, as with both authors, if something can go wrong it will, it is usually down to people to put right the mechanical and computer failures.

Where this lifts itself above other such books is that there is always a certain strain of humour running through this, and the author throws in some good satire, what with the politics within such organisations as NASA which rely on government support, and the Chinese space agency deciding whether they can help or whether everything should remain secret and they should ignore what is happening. Also it is amusing to see NASA going from solutions with all the safety factors in place, to things that are a bit more ad hoc. Certain elements such as this do make this a lot better than other books. Like the majority of people reading this I haven’t really thought about the chemical and mathematical equations and if they are correct, but I suspect at least one person has sat down with pen and paper and checked these as they were reading this, and it would be interesting to see whether the author is correct.

As for a more deeper element to this novel there isn’t really one until the last few pages when we are made to think of all the people and all the organisations that help to try and save Watney, and how people help and risk themselves all the time with such things as looking for those stranded whilst hiking, or saving people from the sea. In all then although not the best written book, this is full of action and is good escapism. Does Mark Watney survive? You will have to read the book to find out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mars - a Survivalist Handbook, 24 April 2014
By 
G. Morgan - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Martian (Hardcover)
Very enjoyable read and an interesting premise. Persevere beyond the GCSE maths fest that constitutes the first section because fortunately the rest of the book moves on to an actual plot rather than a series of equations. Did feel in retrospect that we don't actually get to know much about our hero beyond his problem solving skills - think most humans in such a situation might display a greater range of emotions, nostalgia etc. But then I am guilty of contemplating the deep fragility of life every time I board easyjet to Bristol. Interesting to compare this with James Smythe's novel The Explorer which dealt with a similar scenario with far more humanity and emotional depth.
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have waited so long for this!, 1 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
Andy started this as an online serialised story years ago, and I have been following it on his website avidly. It's a very witty, well written novel about a man stranded on Mars after an accident causes his crew mates to leave him for dead on the planet. Mark Watney is fighting to survive from the very opening sentence and his successes and failures are thoroughly endearing.

I loved every minute of reading it and I look forward to reading it over and over again. :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pageturning heaven, 12 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Martian (Paperback)
Too often, "A pageturner" turns out simply to be a description of what needs to be done in order to get to the end of the book.

In this case, it's a warning: stock up on cod liver oil and glucosamine -- if you don't have arthritis in your fingers before you start, you will by the time you've finished The Martian: your fingers will be on overdrive as they struggle to keep up with your reading pace.

Weir has produced an intelligent and heart-racingly exciting novel, with a level of seeming realism that SF writers are too often unable to approach. Even that worst fault of much of SF, a preponderance of technical detail, is transformed into narrative excellence through the alchemy of Weir's writing.

Masterful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars geeky but enjoyable, 1 July 2013
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This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
Desert island survival Martian style. Problems galore to overcome, creative solutions needed and more science than you can shake a stick at. Oh and a good story to boot
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, let down by too much science!, 12 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Martian (Paperback)
The premise of "The Martian" is excellent but I felt that the execution could have been better. The hero, Mark Watney, is stranded on Mars and the reader is able, through a series of first person diary entries, to follow his attempts to survive on a day to day basis and to get back to Earth via a rescue mission. The problem is that as a narrator Watney isn't really interested in backstory. We learn very little about him or his fellow crew members and next to nothing about his family or how he came to be an astronaut etc. I suppose that these details aren't fundamental to the story and we can manage without them, but without any kind of human interest, Watney's diary entries are saturated with scientific detail to the point that parts are unreadable. I'll admit that I did skim read large portions because a lot of the details - like how he fixed things - meant nothing to me and I couldn't even envisage any of what was described because I had no idea what any of the stuff was! For more scientifically minded people these sections (hopefully!) make more sense and I do think it is to the credit of the author that he has researched everything so thoroughly, but I'd imagine that the average reader (like me!) will find them either unintelligible or boring or both.

The story is also fairly formulaic in that Watney trundles from disaster to disaster, yet we are never really in any doubt that he will survive. I felt that the main problem with these disasters was that they weren't really exciting, firstly because they kept happening, but also because they merely gave the author a chance to embark on more long-winded scientific explanations of how Watney fixed things (with science, lots of science). The author also has a slightly annoying habit of foreshadowing each disaster by swapping from Watney's first-person narrative to short third-person passages describing the weakness in the machinery or the difficult terrain etc that is going to cause the impending disaster!

I also wish that the ending could have been fleshed out a little more as the story did finish rather abruptly. I would have liked to see more of Watney's reunion with the crew and his return to Earth, but given that the author seems to favour science over human interaction I suppose it isn't surprising that we didn't see this.

Despite all the negatives in my review, I did really enjoy "The Martian". It's a clever idea and, provided you can cope with all the science, it will keep readers gripped until the final pages. It isn't a character-driven story though, so be prepared for people taking a back-seat to science. I came close to giving it a four star review until I remembered that I'd skim-read a lot of the scientific explanations, which probably meant I enjoyed it slightly more!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A geeky triumph, 28 Aug 2014
By 
R. B. Abbott "Richard Abbott" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
I was recommended The Martian by a friend a little while ago, and finished it as a holiday book. A lot of readers find it almost impossible to put down: this was not quite my experience, though I have enjoyed reading it a great deal.

The basic setting is that one member (Mark Watney) of a near-future manned Martian expedition is accidentally left on the planet when the crew have to abruptly abandon the mission. The story then follows Mark’s struggle for survival until the point where a rescue becomes possible. There is a long succession of crises that have to be faced and overcome by a mixture of hard work and inventiveness. Some of the time Mark is able to validate his plans with expert advice from NASA, but at other times he is purely on his own.

The science and engineering aspects have been exceptionally well thought through, so far as I can tell. Mark is able to make creative and credible use of the materials at his disposal, which themselves are plausible for his original mission. To a very large extent the repeated crises drive the plot, and other issues such as character are largely in the background. We do get to learn quite a lot about Mark’s current frame of mind, but much less about his back story, or indeed that of any of the other peripheral characters. It is basically a “geek triumphs over adversity” story, and a splendid example of this.

To a degree the story tails off towards the end. This is largely because the presenting issues are so large that the outcome is either total success or total failure (and hence death). The stakes keep growing, and the possibilities for successfully finding a way out get narrower.

For me, this was a 4* book. It was very well planned out and executed, and a highly believable near-future scenario. Personally I prefer books with more character interaction, which by definition is not going to happen here. But many people will appreciate The Martian for its technical detail and long series of survival challenges.
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