What happens if one throws you in a corner of your hometown? You get up, walk/ride your way to home, right!! Now, consider this… you find yourself in a different country altogether. The difference will be the sudden panic within you, but eventually it will giveaway to a sane state of mind. Now to take it to the extreme, assume that you are stranded 40 million miles away from home. Most of the earthlings, will need some time to it all in and then lose all hope of doing anything on their own. But not Mark Watney!!
In this book, it is Mars vs. Watney. Head-to-Head! Mars throwing all its tantrums and Watney punching his way through all of that. He is not your usual protagonist. He ain’t a bodybuilder or a genius, but you can call him a Fix-it guy. A man who is literally the epitome of resourcefulness, will never cease to crack you up. On a side note, seeing Matt Damon playing this character, I have high hopes now for the movie. You will feel related to the guy’s roller coaster of emotions, going from excitement of making things work to facing the worst odds ever. I can safely assume that he is the best guy to go on road trips with.
The story starts quite directly, with our guy explaining what happened and giving the details in as simple terms as possible, so that a reader doesn’t get lost in the astro-techno mumbo jumbo. At first, he is convinced that he has made history already on earth. He has been declared the first dead person, as a result of an unexpected violent sandstorm hitting the crew’s research ship and the Ascent vehicle. Such a violent storm that NASA pressed the abort button and during which Watney is “stormed” (hehe) away from the crew and later declared dead. He wakes up and soon realizes his plight. He gathers all the information he can about his present state in Mars. He figures a workaround for everything which otherwise can prove fatal if not heeded to. He literally talks to the user about his day to day chores. His ways to make water, to grow something on a planet where nothing grows, to have some kind of communication with NASA (or Earth, in general). But mind you! Its not all rainbows and sun shines, he will give you accounts of all the explosion, things not working, few more dust storms, all happening more frequently and unexpectedly than it should… according to him. But to his credit, he is always quite thorough with all the checks and information around him.
Back on earth, soon enough, the NASA director gets to know of the fact that Mark lives. He does not know how to react and before you can predict his next sentiment or thought, the whole world knows about it. Mark Watney becomes the only topic everyone is interested in, the only person for whom prayers are lining up continuously. If only, Mark could know of this. Meanwhile, NASA’s top heads gather around for a mission to send the most high priority thing for Mark right now: Food Supplies. All this time, Mark’s crew is still on its way to Earth and is unaware of the information which all the earthlings are aware of. When they are told, the team faces various challenges, like mutiny and scarce probability of survival for both Mark or the crew members. The stakes go mile high as the story proceeds. It feels, when the reader is in the middle of all this, that Murphy’s law does tell the truth that
Anything that can happen, will happen!
So, get ready to be amazed, as i was, when you know where a powerful will to survive can take a man.
And to tempt you further, here is a trailer for the Matt Damon starring movie, based on this very book, that is all set to release in October this year.
Video Credit 20th Century Fox
Our other sci fi books review – Enter The Realms of Sci Fi