Most of us have tried to imagine what we would do if stranded alone on a deserted island. Well, how about being stranded all by yourself on another planet without any means of communication? How would you survive? This is exactly the situation in which astronaut Mark Watney finds himself after being left alive on Mars by the rest of his exploration crew who believed him to be dead following a terrible accident. He has limited supplies and – luckily – a great sense of humor! His only hope is to try to intercept the next arrival of a crew on Mars, scheduled for four years and several thousand miles away. Most of us would be defeated almost immediately and lose hope due to the sheer loneliness of the situation, but Mark is not one to give in to self-pity. He’s fast-thinking, smart, strong and an incredibly adept problem-solver. Once he has his bearings he begins to plot his survival and rescue as he faces one devastating obstacle after another.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I learned a lot about space travel. Mark’s daily journal recording his activities for future scientists had me laughing out loud! As I was reading, I was thinking about how The Martian would make a great movie. As it turns out, a film version of Weir’s book is due out in 2015. I’m adding it to my “must see” list. In the meantime, if you prefer the idea of surviving a disaster with an animal or two by your side, check out Life of Pi by Yann Martel. And, speaking of deserted islands, if you like your survival stories eerie, horrifying and totally devoid of humor, try The Troop by Nick Cutter. It will stick with you for quite a while.