I told a friend I was reading this and he said this his friend described this book as “You know that scene from the Apollo 13 movie? Where they built a air filter out of duct tape? It is basically that scene repeated through an entire book.”
I thought that was funny, and it is a pretty good description of this book. Our intrepid martian is left behind and must use wit, will, and Watney in order to have any chance of a rescue.
I thought it was interesting that Watneys story was told with a “Captain’s log” mechanism, where he is narrating his survival for posterity. Foremost, because it is only a log, you are left in suspense about whether he will ultimately succeed or fail. Furthermore, because it is a log, it is his personal/intimate account; he is honestly not certain anyone will ever recover it. It allows him to be free to show self doubt or conflicting emotions. It feels more like a transcript of what happened and less like a packaged story, which I think was a desired effect. To contrast this, the events occurring simultaneously on Earth occurred with normal omniscient narration. It kind of gave the feeling that we were watching Watney at a great distance, only receiving his logs after they were occurring, while on earth things were happening in “real time.” Interesting.
I enjoyed the sciency stuff, but am not qualified enough to really critic it one way or the other. Having said that, it seems plausible based on my limited understandings. At least there was no unexplained magic.
Anyway, not too much to report here. I enjoyed it, you should read it, I hope the movie coming out soon will be good.