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Tag - Andy Weir

The Top 5ish Quotes from “The Martian” by Andy Weir

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Full disclosure, there are more than five quotes. You see, as I was working on this post I had a really hard time deciding which quotes to use, because The Martian is so good. So, instead of agonizing over which quotes to cut, I just included all of them. You’re welcome.

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If you haven’t read The Martian yet, you are missing out.  Do you have a favorite quote?

For more on The Martian check out our book and movie review!

The Martian book review

The Martian movie review

4LN Movie Review – The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir is one of the absolute best books that I read last year.  When I found out that it was being adapted into a film with none other than Ridley Scott would be at the helm I was ecstatic. Before we get into the review, here is the summary from IMDB:

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

At its heart, The Martian is a survival tale – think Cast Away, but with a lot more science and a lot less crazy.  It follows Astronaut Mark Watney, the botanist on NASA’s Ares III Mars mission, as he attempts to survive being stranded alone on the harsh Martian landscape.  If you stop and think about it, being the only human being on a planet not suited to human beings with help possibly years away is more terrifying than most horror films.  Think Cast Away, but with a lot more science and a lot less crazy.

Let me just talk about the cinematography for a minute, because Ridley Scott is one hell of a filmmaker.  The shots of Mars’ landscape (apparently filmed in a Jordanian desert) are beautiful and desolate.  It really gives you this sense of awe and dread.  It’s definitely a movie you will want to see on the big screen to see the Martian landscape in all its glory.  I also liked that he doesn’t drown out the images with an oppressive soundtrack.  Many of the scenes only have the sound of the Hab’s oxygenator or just Watney’s breathing, which adds to the feeling of isolation.  When the music did show up it was a beautiful orchestral score that had this classic sci-fi feel to it.

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The book was mostly told from Mark’s perspective as a collection of video journal entries, with a little bit of exposition about what was going on back at NASA.  Watney’s character is sarcastic, extremely proficient in profanity, and hilarious, even in the dire situations that constantly present themselves trying to survive on Mars.  I was wondering how they were going to integrate the concept of journal entries into film without it feeling awkward, but Matt Damon absolutely nails it.  Like Ian McKellan as Gandalf, Matt Damon’s characterization of Watney is about as close as you can get when translating a book character to film.  He manages to provide his own comic relief by breaking the tension in a multitude of life or death situations with a witty one-liner or joke.  After seeing the film, I can’t think of another actor I would’ve rather had fill Mark’s Astronaut boots.

What real Martian's look like

What real Martians look like

Matt Damon isn’t the only one knocking his role out of the park, at the very beginning of the movie we are introduced to the Ares III crew led by Interstellar’s Jessica Chastain.  She, along with the rest of the crew consisting of Kate Mara, Michal Péna, Sebastian Stan, and Aksel Hennie also turned in great performances.  The camaraderie feels like they are a team that have known each other for years.  Jeff Daniels also brings his considerable Newsroom gravitas to his role as the Director of NASA, and Chiwetel Ejiofor is excellent as the director of the Mars program.  Overall, it seemed like everyone knew their part and played it well.

Another neat thing about this movie is that Andy Weir went out of his way to get the science right, which is pretty incredible when you consider that every answer to every problem is sciencing “the shit” out of it.  So how does the science stack up?  Well according to the multitude of tweets from America’s favorite astrophysicist, it is way closer than most sci-fi flicks:

The Martian is a mostly true-to-the-book sci-fi epic that delivers.  Everything in this movie, from the cinematography, to the acting, to the effects, to the tone, to the score, just worked.  In a year with some really great movies, The Martian stands out as one of the best.  As I said earlier, The Martian was one of the best books I read last year, and it looks like, outside of Star Wars (I haven’t seen it, but I can’t help but feel like it’ll have to be my favorite just on principle), the film might just be one of the favorite movies I see this year.  Go buy the book, buy movie tickets and dive in to this great story of survival and humor in the face of overwhelming odds.

4LN Book Report: The Martian by Andy Weir + Film Trailer

There is just so much I want to say about this book.  I have read a lot of good books, but very few have been as gripping as this one.  All told, I read it in less than three days, which is a feat in and of itself considering I have a full-time job, a wife, and two children.  What I am trying to say is, you need to read this book.

The Martian tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney who becomes stranded on Mars after a massive dust storm forced his team to abort their 31 day Mars mission on day 6.  A communications array had other plans and knocked Watney out of commission.  His team, thinking him dead, had to abandon him on the Martian surface in order to have any chance of making it back to their shuttle, Hermes.  This leads to a surprisingly realistic survival tale as Mark has to figure out how to survive on Mars without any contact with Earth.

The Martian is basically Cast Away in space, but astronaut Mark doesn’t even have an anthropomorphized volley-ball to talk to.  Instead, Watney talks to us through a series of sometimes-serious-but-mostly-hilarious journal entries chronicling his quest for survival.  Considering the dire circumstances, the book is surprisingly humorous.  I found myself laughing while reading about how he got himself out of one catastrophe after another.

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Weir does a great job making sure the catastrophes Watney faces are plausible, and not just some wildly unlikely occurrences.  At the end of the book Weir provides insight into the story, and states:

I knew from the very beginning that I didn’t want my hero to suffer one unlikely, disastrous coincidence after the next.  I decided that each problem Mark faced had to be a plausible consequence of his situation-or better yet, an unintended consequence of his solution to a previous problem.  He could suffer an equipment failure in machinery stretched beyond its intended use, but he couldn’t be struck by lightning and the have a meteor crash on him.

The plausibility is what adds to the ever building sense of dread as NASA attempts to launch a rescue mission.  The science found throughout this book is pretty astounding.  Weir is a computer programmer by trade, but the science of space travel is his hobby (a hobby which requires more smarts than most people’s professions).  You can tell that each problem Watney faces, and each solution he comes up with, are painstakingly thought out, which just adds to the sense of realism.  What this all amounts to is a surprisingly realistic sci-fi, survival story that will keep you on the edge of your seat to the last page.

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The book itself was initially released chapter by chapter on Weir’s website.  When it was completed his fans asked him to put it in Kindle format and self publish it so it would be easier to read.  He complied and sold it for $.99 (the minimum price allowed for Amazon Kindle books).  A short amount of time later he was a New York Times Bestselling author, a publisher bought the rights, and now there is a movie deal (the book and movie deal came within a weak of each other).  The movie is slated to come out in November 2015 with Ridley Scott at the helm and Matt Damon as Mark Watney (perfect casting), and after reading the book I cannot wait for this movie to come out.

I highly encourage you to head to your local bookstore (or online retailer) and purchase this book.  If you are in any way a fan of sci-fi, science, space exploration, or just a good, old-fashioned survival story, then this is the book for you.  The book gets bonus points for having a terrific audio book as well.  If you buy the Kindle version for $7.99 you can get the audio book for $2.99, and the voice actor is terrific.  Have you read The Martian?  If so, let us know what you think in the comments below!