Why Andy Weir’s The Martian?

This is a really popular book. Why?

This question isn’t intended as a slight to the book, I am just genuinely interested. Why this particular book? Whether it’s good press or bad press, I can’t stop hearing the name of both book and author being thrown around. People are crazy over it. I have been meaning to review this book for a while but it’s taking me longer than usual to read. I must have had it on the go for a good few months now but it’s taking me so long to finish. At the beginning I was hooked. Any of you had this problem? I enjoyed the darkly comedic part of the Mark Watney guy’s character, although I feel that Matt Damon – who is to play the character in the upcoming film (we’ll get to that briefly in a second) – is a bit too ‘nice guy’ for the role. We’ll see. I enjoyed Weir’s writing too, I couldn’t see a downside.

The film. Just a quick note on that. It’s due to be out this year, so get your ticket money ready, which nowadays you may need to take out a loan for as they’re so expensive. Ridley Scott is directing which is great, I’ve always been a fan of his (I need say no more than, simply, Alien). Of course, the book’s plot caters to popular culture’s love of science fiction, particularly the psychological element that is popular within science fiction blockbusters. I’m inevitably going to enjoy it. The main difference I find with reading a book versus watching a film is that if you’re not motivated to finish a book it won’t carry on sharing itself with you. A film will just carry on playing until you exasperatedly turn it off. I have watched some pretty dire films that way. But still, there is something about the book of The Martian that just isn’t holding my attention. As Red Dwarf’s Lister said, “…can’t you see that the story is not gripping me? I’m in a state of nongripness. I’m completely smegging ungripped.”

I think my main stumbling block is that I was expecting a little more mental strain on the character of Mark Watney, something that I anticipate Ridley Scott will embellish on. I wasn’t expecting any big action events in the book, as I realised early on that the story was more about the character’s development. But to me he just hasn’t developed. Perhaps the blasé dark comedy is masking something that will happen very late in the book. As I haven’t finished the book yet, I can’t comment on it as a whole but I’m not that far from the end now and I’m feeling the guy is still mentally the same person as he was when he landed there with his fellow humans at the beginning. Guaranteed, I’ll finish the book tonight and it will turn out that the Watney has had some kind of break down in the last few pages.

It’s a strange book with a lot of conflicting reviews. I think when I have finished the book I’ll put it back on my shelf with a slightly puzzled “hmm”.

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