Space stories make me twitchy as I freely admit to having an irrational fear of some sort of horrific catastrophe happening to me if I ever left Earth. I watched "Gravity" on the plane during my last trip on a tiny screen which was great - the drama was far easier to handle. I had forgotten about placing a hold on "The Martian" but as I had hear it was quite good from a number of sources, I decided to give it a go. And WOW, what a ride it was.
Andy Weir has crafted a incredible story of survival in the near future where space travel is possible and humans have gone on a number of missions to Mars. The protagonist, Mark Watney, is left for dead on Mars after a storm hits the most recent mission to Mars and the team has to escape back to the ship that brought them to the planet. Watney luckily has the dual knowledge of being a mechanical engineer and a botanist, so is able to patch himself up, craft a scenario where he can survive for a good amount of time with food, and figure out how to communicate with NASA. Of course, it gets worse before it gets better, but I was captivated with the explanations of how Watney gets himself out of simple problems like heat, conserving water, creating oxygen, and comunicating with Earth, to name a very few. I had to put the book down a few times as it was almost too real and was making me skittish, but the inherent good humour of the main character plus the need to know how he gets out of the next scrape kept me at the story. With a great supporting cast, believable story, and non stop action, you really have to give "The Martian" a chance this summer.