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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  1. Jeanne says:

    I’m glad to hear the audiobook has a good narrator. Everyone I know who has read this book likes it, at least so far!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jeanne, I’ve recommended this book to several real life friends. I hope they all enjoy it too!

  2. Diane says:

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

    1. Jackie says:

      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!

  3. Michelle says:

    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.

    1. Jackie says:

      Michelle, Yay! It’s wonderful to find a book everyone can love together :-)

  4. Kailana says:

    I am glad you liked the audio. I read it the first time and it is on my list for 2015 to reread it by audio. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Kailana, That sounds like a good plan. I’m sure the audio adds something so you should enjoy your re-read even more :-)

  5. Rights?! It’s amazing that it manages to feed us so much technical explanation and still be completely engrossing. Even very seasoned writers struggle with that.

    1. Jackie says:

      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 :-)

  6. 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!)

    1. Jackie says:

      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.

  7. You know I loved this book too, but I’ll say it again – it was really great! We had a great discussion about it at my book group too. There was a lot to talk about!

    1. Jackie says:

      threegoodrats, Glad to hear that you had a good discussion. I might try to get my book group to read it too :-)

  8. Oh yes, I loved the audio version too. It was so much fun.

    1. Jackie says:

      Heather, Yay! Great to see another fan :-)

  9. Kerry M says:

    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.

    1. Jackie says:

      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!

  10. Laura T says:

    Thanks for the recommendation – I really enjoyed this.

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, That’s great to hear!


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