In case you haven’t heard, a science-fiction movie called The Martian will come out in November. It’s based (supposedly) on a novel of the same title written by engineer Andy Weir. I was introduced to the book by my friend Chris, and when I read the first line, I was instantly hooked. It ranks as one of my favorite hard sci-fi books.
Most of the story is told by “the Martian” himself, an astronaut that gets stranded on Mars after his crewmates are forced to leave him there, due to an emergency. He is then forced to apply every last bit of ingenuity to stay alive, in the hopes that someone will try to rescue him.
What I liked about the book is that it’s a story of survival, reliance and hope, but from the point of view of a professional who is more interested in doing everything that he can to stay alive than in lamenting that he might not see anybody else ever again. He doesn’t appeal to his emotions to find strength, but rather he appeals to his scientific and engineering skills, as well as his astronaut training, to contact anyone who might hear (or see) him.
I wonder if they’ll make the book mandatory reading for astronauts.