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The Martian

by Andy Weir

Reviewed by Pete Ison on June 15, 2014

Before any of you turn off when I say the word Science Fiction, just be aware
that this story is essentially a human survival story that just happens to be set on the planet Mars in the not too distant future! Stay with me here, because it’s a pretty good story! Mark Watney, is the engineer biologist member of a 6 person team set to explore the surface of Mars in fact this is the first manned mission ever to Mars and it pretty much fails right from the word ‘go’ !
A huge dust storm blows up after the team has only been on the planet for six days and NASA, in their wisdom asks the team to evacuate and take the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) back up to their ship, the Hermes. Unfortunately the MAV can only make the one trip so anybody left behind, stays
behind! This is obviously bad news for Mark because at the time the MAV leaves the surface of Mars everybody (including Mission Control on Earth) has written Mark off as ‘dead’! And, thus begins the story, because Mark is very much alive and stranded alone on a dangerous and desolate planet.
His circumstances are dire! The dust storm has knocked his communication link to earth and the Hermes out. He has food and oxygen to last only for the duration of the mission, his temporary refuge is just that, temporary, the HAB is only designed to last 31 days. He is reliant on the oxygenator to give him air, the water reclaimer for water and he is hoping that the HAB doesn’t
breach which means he would ‘kind of explode’ (to use Mark’s terminology).
I am not going to tell you how Mark survives the initial dust storm and why the rest of the team leaves him for dead on the surface of Mars. I am also not going to tell you how he attempts to survive because this would spoil a really fantastic and gripping story!

Pete Ison‘s rating: 10 out of 10

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