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2014 Audio Book Recommended books Science Fiction Uncategorized

The Martian by Andy Weir (Audio Book)

The Martian

Five words from the blurb: Mars, astronaut, alone, survival, rescue

The Martian was on the “Best of 2014” list of many bloggers I trust, so I bought the audio version. I’m so pleased that I did as it is one of the most entertaining stories I’ve ever listened to. It is basically a survival story, but combines the tension of a man living in daily fear for his life with the mundane reality of being an astronaut for an extended period of time. It also shows how complex science can solve problems and combines this with well researched technical information about Mars. I was gripped throughout and found myself laughing and amazed in equal measure.

Mark Watney is one of the first astronauts to visit Mars, but just hours after touching down on the surface there is an accident and the rest of the crew evacuate, sure that Watney has perished. He regains consciousness and discovers that he is alone on Mars. He must use every ounce of his training and intelligence to find a way to survive until he can be rescued. The majority of the book is made up of Mark Watney’s daily log entries where he records everything that happens each day, including his thoughts and frustrations. Some people might find the language a bit harsh, but I thought it was appropriate and realistic given the situation he was placed in:

Log Entry: SOL 118
My conversation with NASA about the water reclaimer was boring and riddled with technical details. So I’ll paraphrase for you:
Me: “This is obviously a clog. How about I take it apart and check the internal tubing?”
NASA: (After about 5 hours of deliberation) “No. You’ll fuck it up and die.”
So I took it apart.

Watney is one of the best characters I’ve ever come across. His flaws and strengths were given equal attention and by the end of the book I felt as though I knew him. I loved his attitude to life and think many people could learn from his reactions to adversity. The book also raised interesting questions about how much one life is worth and whether we should ever gamble with the lives of others in order to save someone else.

The Martian works particularly well on audio. R.C. Bray is the perfect narrator – making the wry humor spring to life, but maintaining the tension when serious problems arise.

Overall I can’t fault this book. I was transported into the mind of an astronaut whilst being thoroughly entertained. I learnt many new things and admired the way technical information was integrated into the gripping plot. It’s the best book I’ve read in a long time.

Highly recommended.

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21 replies on “The Martian by Andy Weir (Audio Book)”

Jackie, I finished the audiobook this morning and also enjoyed it. I never read SF, but this was just so interesting and fun.

Diane, I don’t read much SF, but have read some great ones over the years. I recommend Encounter with Tiber. It is written by Buzz Aldrin and so feels very authentic!

I love when someone finds this book and enjoys it as much as I did/do. I’ve listened to the audio version and read it in print. Both formats are highly enjoyable. I agree that this is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.

Alex, Exactly! Such complex chemistry. This book would be so good for schools. I enjoy science, but I am amazed by the way it gives non-scientists the information in such a compelling way. Outstanding :-)

I’ve been meaning to read this one for awhile, but I keep debating if I wanted to listen to the audio or read it. You’ve convinced me–I’ll be listening to it soon (after The Bees, which I hear is better on audio too!)

Carrie, Yes, I highly recommend it on audio! It is interested to hear that The Bees is better on audio. I’ve just abandoned it in print, but could see how it might be better on audio.

You’re so right about the audio. Like Heather said, it was so much fun–and it worked perfectly for the story. The narrator did an excellent job. I’m excited (and also nervous…) for the movie adaptation later this year.

Kerry, I’m afraid I’m not really excited about the film. I don’t see how it can be better than the book and therefore I’m assuming it will be a disappointment. :-( On a positive note – at least it will bring the book to a wider audience!

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