The Martian by Andy Weir | Teen Ink

The Martian by Andy Weir

December 20, 2016
By Teenage_Reads ELITE, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Teenage_Reads ELITE, Halifax, Nova Scotia
293 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"So many books, so little time"

Space travel has taken over the scientific world since Yuri Gagarin launched into space on April 12, 1961, during the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Space then became the fantasy for many young children, dreaming of becoming astronauts, and working for one of the six government space agencies found around the world. Where it started off discovering out solar system, to landing men on the moon, space travel becomes more about finding the next “Earth” for the human race. The planet all scientists are turning to is Mars. The fourth rock from the sun, Mars is being looked at as the next home for the human life form due to all the frozen water found on the planet. Not for profit foundation like Mars One are working towards sending men to Mars, with their first launch date being 2020. With global warming killing Earth, technology going through the roof, traveling to Mars is becoming less of a fantasy, and more of a reality.

Mark Watney was selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to be part of the Ares III mission to Mars. Lead by Commander Melissa Lewis, it included: Alex Vogel, Rick Martinez, Beth Johanssen, Dr. Christopher 'Chris' Beck and our Mark Watney. These people were not chosen for just any reason, they all had special skills that would aid the scientific discoveries on Mars. Mark had his masters in botany and in mechanical engineering, where others like Lewis had her military training and a masters in geology. Ares III is the third of NASA missions to Mars, where they send scientist to Mars to collect data, happening every four years. Mark was not just chosen because of his skills, but attitudes towards life. If you were ever having a bad day, Mark would be the one you want next to you. Happy-go-lucky, Mark can crack a joke about anything, and does not let anything push him down. As the director of NASA said once: “Astronauts are inherently insane. And really noble” Mark defiantly fits the bill on that one. With the crew assemble, all six of them were ready for their one hundred and twenty-four day journey from the land they called home, to Mars.

Disaster struck almost imminently. Days where written in as Sol, as each member had their own journal to write down their events. On Sol 6 (so day six) a sandstorm swiped through their area, demolishing everything in sight. Called by NASA the Ares III made an emergency evacuation, causing everyone to leave what they were holding behind, and make it to the ship. Well everyone but Mark. Stuck by a pole, he got swept into the storm with a gashing hole in his suite. Unable to find him, Lewis order the team to finish evacuation, leaving Mark behind. Stranded on Mars with no way to contact his crew or NASA, Mark embarks on a survival story of the ages. He has to concern scientific problems, lack of water, lack of food, and whatever else the planet Mars can throw at him.

Andy Weir has always loved science fiction novels and space travel, and this book defiantly shows it. His first published novel, The Martian took the world by storm when it was released in 2014. With that Weir’s novel grew a fan based, and even launched him a movie deal as The Martian hit the screens in 2015 with Matt Damon staring as Mark, winning countless awards for it. Where Weir by trade, was a programmer, it was obvious in this novel that writing is something he had to work at. The story itself was about two-thirds English, and one third program. Honestly if you wanted to beef up your chemistry speech read this book. Where Mark does a good job dumbing everything down and explaining everything sometimes it is still way too much. You read this book for enjoyment and not for the science factor, and without looking it up do you want to take Weir’s word for it as law? On the good side you know how Mark fixed everything as he explained it, bad side you probably had no idea what Mark was rambling on about either. The point of view in the story was another sore spot as Weir kept swapping the point of view, so much you could not tell who was who anymore. Where most of the story was from Mark’s perspective, other characters like Venkat Kapoor, Mindy Parks, Beck, Vogel and more also shared the spotlight throughout the novel. This spot light sharing made the novel more confusion that it should have been. The worst part was the character development, or the lack of. Each character was painfully 2D that any interaction they had made you cringe. There has been just nothing Weir wrote that made you think “wow Mark loved his crew” or “the crew really loved Mark”. It was all business with them so much it was Lewis duty to get Mark, rather than her emotions that made her want to come back to get him. Even the romance (because what is a story without a little love) was so awful it made you even wonder why Weir added that into the story to begin with. Still for a science fiction novel, it was not bad, with a cool concept of survival. Mark never gave up once, always determined to live another day, no matter what Mars through at him. To that it made him a hero, as never once did he let his mortals down, and did the impossible of surviving.

The author's comments:

Survivng against all odds...

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