The novel “The Martian” is one of my favorites, and the movie is coming out this November. Here’s the official trailer.
Matt Damon stars as astronaut Mark Watney, an ingenious and sarcastic botanist who, against all odds, must solve problem after problem to stay alive on the martian surface after being abandoned by his crewmates.
To be fair, they didn’t abandon him on Mars on purpose; bad luck, circumstances and a tough decision by the mission commander all play against Watney in this scientific thriller that takes place in the not-too-distant future.
It would be scary enough to be left stranded in the middle of nowhere here on Earth, with few supplies and a grim outlook for survival. Now imagine what it would be like on a distant planet, knowing that you are the only human on a surface area approximately that of the entire area of Earth’s continents. You could decide to just give up and wait until you die of thirst and starvation. You could even make it quicker and take some pills or something. But you can also decide that you are going to keep yourself alive by somehow growing your own food, performing highly-complex maintenance on your living quarters, and crucially, trying to contact Earth so that they know you are alive. Sounds difficult? It certainly would be, but NASA didn’t select you as astronaut because of your looks. They selected you because of your intelligence, resourcefulness and emotional stability. To you, survival is not a desperate state of affairs that is likely to throw you into sheer panic. Survival is just another problem that needs to be solved, step by step, breaking down the myriad components involved into manageable, smaller problems. After all, that approach would be the only way to stay alive.
If you can survive the bad TV shows and music left behind by the crew, that is.