Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Martian (Midpoint Analysis)

I've been listening to the audiobook of Andy Weir's semi-recent hard sci-fi novel The Martian the last couple weeks.  I'm about halfway through it.  It's really quite good.

Other than using the "F" word twenty or so times, I really love the protagonist and 1st-person narrator.  He has an excellent character voice and manages to incorporate humor into the main stream of things, which is essential for humor to work in sci-fi.  The other characters with little parts toward the end of the first five hours of audiobook have solid characterization and voice right off the bat.  The entire cast is stellar.  (That's a crazy partial-pun, intentionally.)

While the conflict in this story is different from that of other stories I've read, it works for me.  Survival stories are daunting to write, but very satisfying to read if done well.  Add Mars, a pseudo-travelogue (involving food production), and a Time Bomb and you have yourself a really cool plot.

There are two main settings in The Martian.  The first is Mars.  That's awesome because...it's Mars.  The second is the NASA base.  It's chaotic and colorful, too things the novel needed to compensate for the weaknesses in Mars as a setting.  So, yeah, Andy Weir is a genius.

I would definitely recommend purchasing this novel, whether it be in hardcover, ebook, audiobook, whatever.  Even lacking knowledge of the second half, the first half is worth your money, trust me.

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