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by Andy Weir
read by R C Bray
2013 Podium Publishing
10 hours 53 minutes unabridged
Genres: science fiction
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
5 out of 5 halos
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills - and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit - he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"
©2012 Andy Weir (P)2013 Podium Publishing
AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the planet Mars and by stories about the planet Mars. Maybe it’s because the planet is close enough to see with the naked eye or maybe it’s because I’ve always believed that putting humans there is a real possibility, or maybe it’s just that crazy red surface, the planet Mars has always enchanted me. Needless to say I’ve read lots of science fiction about the planet and there are quite a few good ones out there, from sci-fi greats like Ben Bova, Greg Bear, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Ray Bradbury. Now I am now pleased to say that this short list also includes the name Andy Weir.
So let me set the scene for you, or better yet let’s hear it from Mark Watney himself:
I’m stranded on Mars, I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth, everyone thinks I’m dead, I’m in a hab designed to last 31 days. If the oxygenator breaks down I’ll suffocate, If the water reclaimer breaks down I’ll die of thirst, if the hab breaches I’ll just kind of explode, if none of those things happen I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.Sounds pretty bleak but there is one bit of good news: even though Mark’s crewmates have already begun the long trip back to Earth, NASA is already aware the Mark is indeed still alive. They caught sight of him in some photos from a satellite in orbit around the red planet. Now all they have to do is figure out a way to get in touch with him and then all they have to do is figure a way to rescue him before his air/water/food/hope runs out. No small task.
But the ingenuity of Mark Watney is going to surprise a lot of people, sometimes even he himself. We get front row seats in the form of Mark’s personal journal as he becomes the first farmer on Mars, makes a long rover trip to pick up some abandoned equipment, finds ways to use his gear that NASA never even thought of, and survives one catastrophe after another. This is extreme botany and creative engineering gone wild, people. All of you survivalists out there can eat your hearts out. Through it all, Mark Watney never gives up even when it would be oh-so-easy to do, and Andy Weir keeps us wondering if Mark will ever make it off that beautifully wretched planet right up to the surprising conclusion. The Martian is, quite simply, the finest piece of science fiction I’ve read in quite some time.
Andy Weir, an unknown author at the time, wrote The Martian and was offering it in ebook form for free on his website. Podium Publishing caught wind of the story and believed in it enough to produce an audio version. The Martian became the #1 selling audiobook in Comtemporary Science Fiction on Audible.com and was a runner up for Best Science Fiction Audiobook of 2013. The audiobook was such a huge hit, Andy Weir and Podium pursued a major publishing deal and a year later Random House released the hard cover edition in 21 countries. It became a New York Times bestseller in its first week. Is that the American dream or what?
I don’t care if you’re a “survivalist” or not, The Martian is just darn good fiction. It’s about never giving up hope even when it seems all is lost, it’s about pitching in and helping out when disaster strikes, it’s about the spirit and ingenuity and sheer guts of humans in general. Author Andy Weir, through the voice of Mark Watney, sums it up nicely when he says "Every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out." The next time you feel in despair for the species, read this book and have your faith in humanity restored.
Narrator R C Bray was a great match for this book. I didn’t really get into this in my review, but Mark Watney is kind of a smart aleck and keeps on cracking jokes no matter how grim his situation gets. R C Bray voiced his attitude and sense of humor perfectly and had me laughing out loud many times during the reading. This was my first experience with Bray but I would definitely like to hear more from him.
FILM ADAPTATION: The success story of Andy Weir continues! Film rights for The Martian have been optioned by 20th Century Fox. The film is still in the very early stages but already Drew Goddard is on board to create a screenplay, Ridley Scott was hired to produce and direct, and none other than Matt Damon has agreed to play the lead role of Mark Watney. This project might be worth keeping an eye on.
IF YOU LIKED THIS ONE, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Mars by Ben Bova (Audiobook Review)
Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear (Audiobook Review)
The Passage by Justin Cronin (Audiobook Review)
Special thanks to Brilliance Audio for this review copy. Audiobook review by Steven Brandt. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.