My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com.
The Martian is not a book or audiobook that I would’ve picked up on my own. I would like to thank Marcela (@BookaholicCat), Carmel (@RabidReads) and Hot Listens’s very own Loupe for hounding me until I listened to this book. I’m so glad that I did and I will highly recommend that you listen before it comes out in the theaters in November. It is starring Matt Damon as Mark Watney.
The Martian is basically about a NASA mission to Mars. There is a storm that comes through and the mission is aborted. Mark Watney, the mission’s engineer and botanist, was left behind when everyone left Mars. Everyone was convinced that he was dead after he was knocked out during the storm. When Watney wakes up and learns what happens, he has to figure out how to survive.
Watney is a very interesting character. He is like MacGyver (once again, thanks to Marcela for that reference, but once I heard it, I couldn’t get it out of my head). The way he is able to make something out of nothing, is pretty remarkable. When he makes a mistake, he has a pretty funny panic attack, but then he recovers pretty quickly and gets back to how to solve the problem.
Once NASA figures out that they’ve left a living person on Mars, things really start to pick up. It is great to see how NASA really comes together to save this one person. Red tape that disappears to help bring Watney home. Plus the really tough decisions that had to be made. They had to think about the crew on the way home, Mark Watney left alone on Mars and the public here on Earth.
I loved the science. I don’t know how much of it was truly real and would work if put to the test, but the author and narrator made me believe that everything that happened was entirely possible. There was also some math involved, and while it was pretty intense, don’t let that scare you off. I just took that he knew more than he did about it and took what he said as fact and didn’t let it bog me down.
Mark Watney was a great character. Throughout a completely impossible situation, he kept a level head the majority of the time and tried to figure out what he needed to do to survive. One of my favorite scenes is when he first gets communication (done through written cards and photos, no voice) with NASA and NASA asked him for a photo op without much more information. Watney decides to go out in his spacesuit, the camera in question was outside, he writes “Heyyy!” and does a thumbs up. The PR person at NASA was unamused. That was pretty much Watney’s sense of humor, in a nutshell.
Once again, I can’t recommend this story enough. It is not something I ever would’ve picked up if it weren’t for the ladies who highly recommended it. Now, I’m going around and recommending it everyone I see. I don’t know how it would be to read, because the narration is done so well and I really think it helped bring the story to life. Please don’t let the sci-fi genre scare you off. It is so much more than that. While this is a science fiction story, the sci-fi is mostly a mission to Mars. Outside of that, it is a story of survival.
What to say about R.C. Bray’s narration of The Martian. This story was narrated so well that I forgot that I was listening to a book. It was more like listening to several people tell me this story about a guy left behind on Mars.
He really brought out the humor in Watney. When Watney was panicking, I could really feel it. I started to feel for the guy so much and really felt he was going to die. When the other characters from NASA come into the story, he delivers them seamlessly. Whether he voicing men or women, he is just as passionate.