Book Five 2014:
The Martian by Andy Weir
First things first, this one isn’t out in shops ’til next month. The publisher was kind enough to send it to me (knowing my willingness to jump into all things SF).
The good things about this should come first.
I was introduced to SF (and in particular space fiction) early when I found an old, battered copy of a collection of Arthur C. Clarke short stories in the library shelves at the beck of the prefab I spent 3rd class in. I read, I absorbed, I bought everything else he’d ever written.
So, to say that Andy Weir’s style reminds me of Clarke is high praise indeed.
The book’s premise is Clarkian too – an astronaut gets left behind on Mars after a disaster in which all of his crewmates think him dead and he has to work out how to keep himself alive until he can be rescued years later with no way of communicating with Earth.
It fairly rattles along ( I read it in a single day), the main character is very readable (even if some of the NASA heads trying to save him back home are a bit thinly drawn) and it had more than enough to keep me well invested until the end.
You knew there had to be a “but”, right? There are times in this (much as I love scientific accuracy and rigour in my SF) that it all gets a bit techy and engineering-y. Even for someone like myself who’s science-orientated and has read this sort of stuff all his life I found myself skimming over some of the detail in a few places.
Thankfully they don’t last long and the whole thing picks up after that.
It’s a very solid first novel and I’d definitely read whatever comes next on the strength of it.