Thursday, March 27, 2014

Life on Mars

I don't do many book reviews here but this is my book of the year so far which I have read twice in quick succession, and I can't remember ever doing that before. The Martian by Andy Weir is what you might call hard science fiction about a possible Mars landing set in the near future. When the Ares 3 mission is hit by a violent sand storm on the surface they are forced to make an emergency lift off and head back to their larger space craft and return to Earth.

In the chaos of their rapid evacuation one of the astronauts is struck by a broken satellite array and appears to be dead. Their commander has to make the difficult decision to abandon the search for his body and launch. Except through a bizarre sequence of events he is still alive and the book details his struggle to survive and to make contact with mission control and his team who are already heading for home.

It's absolutely fantastic stuff and very gripping, Written as a series of log entries by the stranded astronaut, Mark Watney, although I'm probably not giving too much away when I say that Mission control and the other astronauts do get involved eventually. Watney is an incredibly resourceful scientist who uses all the equipment left behind to survive. It reminded me of the series Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets which we reviewed on the British Invaders podcast.

If ever a book could be described as a page turner then this is it. I gobbled it up and then went right back to the start again. Highly recommended and pretty cheap on the Kindle right now, or you could try and pick up a signed copy of the hardback like I did.

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