“I’m pretty much fucked.” Weir’s first line
Part of me didn’t believe that this was Weir’s first book. It’s a extraordinary work, alternating between 1st and 3rd person, between Mars and Earth, and between comedy and drama.
The basic synopsis of the book is that Watney, the main character is a astronaut, who was involved in a mission to Mars, but unfortunately was involved in a accident, which led his team to leave him behind. The bulk of the book involves Watney trying to survive, and NASA trying to bring him home.
It’s a blunt and definitely memorable opening line, delivered by the main character Mark Watney, which gives the reader a idea of how gifted Watney is for understatement.
He’s a very well drawn character, and I found him to be fascinating and wanted to know how he was going to get home from the first page. It’s not just Watney who is a great creation though, I particularly liked Annie: the head of Media Relations, Beth: one of Watney’s crew mates, and Mindy: the NASA worker who first realises that Watney has survived.
Annie’s hilarious, and endearing. She maintains a professional demeanour, and is obviously very good at what she does, but doesn’t let the men undermine her, letting rip with various swear words. Her response to a man giving her negative criticism on her opinion ‘Don’t like it? Go fuck yourself.’
Mindy is easy to relate to, as well. She is rapidly promoted, after discovering that Watney must have survived, and has to adjust to joining meetings with people far higher up the NASA ladder. She has a little bit of hero worship when it comes to Annie, thinking of her before she speaks as ‘confident, high ranking, beautiful and universally respected in NASA’. Mindy’s very likable, and I felt for her, she never actually hides how she’s feeling.
I know less than nothing about Mars, and how likely the sections set there are, but it’s not important. It feels utterly real, and as if that would happen if a mission went wrong like this, if a human was stranded on Mars’s surface.
The Martian is believable, exciting and packed full with relatable characters. I’m definitely going to be following Weir’s career, and hope that he is able to maintain such a high standard of writing in his next work.