I originally heard about “The Martian” via this tweet from Clay Bavor, a VP for Product at Google. As he wrote:
If you’re an engineer, you must read The Martian.
If you’re into space, you must read The Martian.
If you’re an engineer AND into space…
That was intriguing enough to pick it up, and I’m so glad I did. It was a brilliant read, and the story has stuck in my mind ever since.
The premise of the book is simple: a team of astronauts travel to Mars. But they have an incident and need to leave quickly. One of the crew looks like he died in the incident, and they are forced to leave without him. Except he wasn’t dead, and he has to learn how to survive until he can be rescued.
For an engineer or anyone who enjoys some of the technical details of space travel and survival, this book is incredibly well researched and has just the right enough depth of detail to make it very realistic, but without going so far as to come across as a textbook. But it doesn’t just focus on what people might assume would be the problem of survival on Mars (air, water), he also deals with the smaller but critical systems, too.
The story itself is a thriller… it has just as much or more momentum than a Baldacci / Lee Child / John Grisham novel. The story takes place on Mars, on Earth, and in between with the crew members that left. It’s very well crafted, and you literally never know what’s going to happen next. The benefit of the setting of survival on Mars is that the writer was completely free to think up highly plausible scenarios that could kill any astronaut… and he does!
As it turns out, The Martian (the book) is being made into The Martian (the film), which started filming a month ago. For the Interstellar fans amongst you, the film will star both Jessica Chastain and Matt Damon. 🙂 I can’t wait to see it next year.
Like Clay Bavor, I simply can’t recommend this book highly enough for anyone that enjoys space, engineering, technology, or thrillers. Seriously… go buy it and start reading it today. (Get it at Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk)