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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 15 April 2017
I don't usually enjoy reading sci-fi however i was engrossed by this book immediately.
I read it after watching the film, which can sometimes be jarring, but i found this as engaging as the movie if not more, especially the depth that a book can take you into the situation and story.

The most engaging part for me as a non sci-fi reader was the reality of the story-line, once you suspend belief and accept the premise and situation the story is believable and realistically written, it just edges on reality so that you can imagine it happening in a near future. The set up and the book as a whole stay well grounded to in a realistic way, and although i think there may be liberties with the science and a few flights of fantasy in character behaviour, but i actually came away very satisfied, and i'm keen to find similar stories in the future.
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on 10 May 2017
I read this with absolutely zero idea what to expect. I think I anticipated some sort of alien thriller, or some deep psychological novel, exploring the effects of solitude (and fear) in space.

I was impressed to discover that the book was neither of those things, and instead, took a very unusual approach to the classic sci-fi genre. Instead, it's all about practicality - the physical demand of living on a hostile planet alone, and one man's refusal to give up trying, even when the odds are heavily stacked against him. There was much about this book that I really, really liked, not least the pragmatism of it all - the down-to-earth style worked really well.

I'd definitely recommend.
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on 5 February 2015
This novel was originally an online hit in serialised form on Weir's own blog, which became so overwhelmingly popular that he decided to self-publish it as an e-book on Amazon. It soon attracted enough buzz for a publisher to pick it up, which generated even more rabid success. In a sense, this gungho DIY spirit is mirrored in Weir's protagonist, astronaut Mark Watney, as the story finds him stranded on Mars after being left for dead in an accident by his crewmates.

The journal entries which make up the bulk of the narrative read well in episodic form, and it is clear Weir knows his subject matter, as he traces Watney's fight for survival with mind-boggling scientific facts that he takes pains to make comprehensible to the average layman reader. That Watney is instantly likeable as a resourceful everyday man, who recounts his days (or sols) on Mars with wit and candour, is both the novel's strength and weakness. It makes it easy for the reader to root for him, but at the same time, there is very little psychological depth apparent in the character, which perhaps, isn't the business of this novel. Watney treats each obstacle that comes his way at heartstopping moments with increasingly predictable levity, while retaining the goofy and good-natured "oh, heck it" attitude of a college frat bro. There is surprisingly very little mention of his ties with people back on Earth, which makes possible his being a very present-minded individual. Even his crewmates get more development as individuals under their spacesuits, even though this is purposefully done in a segment when they converse with their loved ones from outer space.

That said, Weir paces the action well, and allows Watney's journal entries to speak for themselves, interspersed with the goings-on at NASA, as they scramble to come up with a rescue plan. Weir only comes in as an omniscient narrator at a few critical junctures, when the reader needs to know some crucial facts to get a better sense of the situation.

This is a novel that a reader plunges in already knowing the ending, but that does not detract from the enjoyment of anticipating the 'hows' that ending entails.
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on 17 March 2017
What a gripping book! It was one of those reads which I just could not put down. I loved every page and was sad to reach the end. I then watched the movie and enjoyed that too, but it had to skip loads of the story to be a film rather than a miniseries.
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A proper page turner. I enjoyed the plot and characterisation of the book, to me the sense of humour was spot on as was the NASA directives which felt exactly like a bureaucratic nightmare telling you to do what you were already doing. The whole story is well paced and interesting, the information is techy in parts but never dull or dry. I read this in 2 days, it was such a joy to read.
Very recommended.
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on 30 October 2015
An awesome read - very compelling, well written - although I'm not a physicist and can't tell whether all of the maths is accurate. My husband recommended this book and I thought... yeah.. Ok, maybe. However, it is really fabulous, I haven't seen the film - I don't think that I want to now - I have it fixed in my head. Great character development, sufficient description to assist my imagination without being over the top.
Would be one of my books of the year.
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on 30 September 2015
Grabs you from the start. Premise is brilliant. Rated 4 stars because at points their was not enough suspense and detail of what/how things happened. It felt like the writer was tired of the effort and just wanted it to be over. Writing style became very matter of fact with the outcome never in doubt. Nevertheless, a great read that was enjoyable and engaging.
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on 24 November 2015
This is a very good read. If you like the "science" in your science fiction, you will enjoy this book.
Filled with suspense and clever problem-solving, it is hard to put down.
I haven't seen the film yet. It is hard to understand how it will convey the cleverness, although it is easy to imagine the drama.
Highly recommended.
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on 19 November 2015
Already own this in paperback (bought several copes for friends), audio book (listened to it 6 or more times while driving) and now the kindle edition. Amazing book from Andy Weir, and glowing endorsements form real astronauts like Chris Hadfield. Would have preferred not to have "movie edition" with Damon's mug starring back at me...
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on 9 May 2017
I purchased with whispersynch and could read or listen to this whenever I wanted and the book/audio synched up - so I never lost my place. Whats more I could ask Alexa 'Read the Martian' and the audio would come from the Alexa unit. I have Alexa hooked up to a waterproof bluetooth speaker in my bathroom so was able to listen to this int he bath. As good as the Movie.......Great!!
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