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Recent Read: The Martian

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posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 06:30 PM
I just finished a book called, "The Martian" and if you're into hard sci-fi -- I think you'll get a kick out of it. Here's the synopsis:

NASA astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist and mechanical engineer, is left stranded on Mars when the crew of the Ares 3 mission are forced to evacuate their landing site in Acidalia Planitia due to a dust storm with high winds. Watney is impaled by an antenna during the evacuation, destroying his flight space suit's bio-monitor computer, and his five crewmates believe him to be dead. His injury proves relatively minor, but with no way to contact Earth, Watney must rely on his scientific and technical skills to survive, growing potatoes in the crew's Martian habitat (or Hab) and burning hydrazine to make water. He begins a log of his experiences for some future archeologist who might discover it long after his death. NASA discovers that Watney is alive when satellite images of the landing site show evidence of his activities; they begin working on ways to rescue him, but withhold the news of his survival from the rest of the Ares 3 crew, on their way back to Earth aboard the Hermes spacecraft, so as not to distract them.


I opted for the audiobook version (as I like to listen to books as I commute) -- and I have to say it was done wonderfully. The story is a cross between Robinson Caruso and Apollo 13.

The book is told in as a series log entries, and while I initially thought this would get old, it didn't. The main character has a real sense of humor and I couldn't wait to hear what kind of crazy situation he was going to get himself out of next.

A movie is being made from this book, set to debut later this fall:

I'm curious as to how they'll do some of the scenes from the book...

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 06:53 PM
a reply to: MystikMushroom

Yeah, it was a great book.

He was best known for The Egg but he also did a cartoon called Casey and Andy and a graphic novel called Cheshire Crossing.

I am a fan of the audio version as well!

edit on 16-7-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 07:06 PM
a reply to: greencmp

I just started a new series called "Fear The Sky" ... I'm about halfway through the first of three audiobooks. I'd recommend it, it's not quite as good as "The Martian" but I'm really enjoying it.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 07:10 PM
My husband and I both really enjoyed The Martian.

If you like space operas, I'd recommend 'The Expanse' series by James S.A. Corey. There are now four of them, maybe five, but the first three books take place in the period of time between the colonization of outer solar system and before humanity manages make the leap to the rest of the universe.
edit on 16-7-2015 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 07:22 PM
Another member posted about this quite recently, I followed his breadcrumbs and realy enjoyed the audiobook

Cleverly written, very scientific yet understandable by anyone, humerous too! Not sure I'd have wanted to eat his potatoes though

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 07:29 PM
I remember something eerily similar call "Robinson Crusoe on Mars". It was pretty campy, but interesting, none the less.


Full length movie:

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 07:54 PM
a reply to: MystikMushroom

Sounds great!

Have to get the book or audio.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 08:16 PM
As a bibliophile I consider this book below average.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 09:17 PM
Sounds really interesting!!!

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 10:44 PM
This book isn't hard science fiction: it's a survivalist novel set on Mars.

Discerning readers should take warning.

edit on 16/7/15 by Astyanax because: that's enough.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 11:07 PM
a reply to: Astyanax

Well, it was described as "hard" science fiction by numerous people on Amazon so....

posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 12:10 AM
a reply to: MystikMushroom

Yes, well. Technically speaking, a work of hard science fiction is one in which the basic plot issue is based on a scientific law or premise. A classic example is Poul Anderson's Tau Zero, in which the consequences of travelling at relativistic velocities are fictionalized into a beautiful beyond-the-end-of-the-world narrative. The works of Gregory Benford, a physicist who moonlights as an SF writer, also fall into this category; consider Timescape, in which hypothetical subatomic particles known as tachyons (which, by theory, have negative entropy) are used as a carrier medium for messages from the future to the past.

Benford also wrote a novel called The Martian Race, which is about astronauts stranded on Mars with little or no hope of getting home. It blows The Martian right out of the water. It is the hardest of hard SF, but the people in it are real and interesting, not like the geeky disturbed adolescent who is the hero of the latter novel.

posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 01:42 AM
a reply to: Astyanax

Hm, well Weir's book is listed on Wikipedia as a representative work of "hard science fiction". According to the definition on there,

is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific accuracy or technical detail, or on both

Here's a list of representative works on the page:

Hal Clement, Mission of Gravity (1953)[12]
John Wyndham, The Outward Urge (1959)
Arthur C. Clarke, A Fall of Moondust (1961),[5] Rendezvous with Rama (1972)
Stanislaw Lem, Solaris (1961)
Poul Anderson, Tau Zero (1970)
Joe Haldeman, The Forever War (1974)
James P. Hogan, The Two Faces of Tomorrow (1979)[5]
Robert L. Forward, Dragon's Egg (1980)[14]
Robert Silverberg (editor), Murasaki (1992)
Stephen Baxter, Ring (1996)
Charles Sheffield, Between the Strokes of Night (1985)[5]
Carl Sagan, Contact (1985)
Kim Stanley Robinson, The Mars trilogy (Red Mars (1992), Green Mars (1993), Blue Mars (1996))[15][16]
Ben Bova, Grand Tour series (1992–2009)
Catherine Asaro, Primary Inversion (1995, 2012)[17]
Linda Nagata, The Nanotech Succession (1995-1998)
Nancy Kress, Beggars in Spain (1993)[13]
Greg Egan, Schild's Ladder (2002)[18]
Alastair Reynolds, Pushing Ice (2005)
Paul J. McAuley, The Quiet War (2008)
Andy Weir, The Martian (2014)[19]
Neal Stephenson Seveneves (2015)

Hard Science Fiction

I guess that the definition depends on the reader, and the standards of what constitutes "hard science".

You sound quite bitter about the book?

posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 06:53 AM
a reply to: MystikMushroom

Hmm, tough crowd.

Hard sci-fi just means that there aren't any super-physical technologies to accept on faith.

I would even consider speculative (but plausible) techniques and devices as acceptable.

The Mote in God's Eye is a good example as there aren't any interstellar tram lines or Langston fields but, the rest of the story is tight enough to class as hard sci-fi. Basically, I think of soft sci-fi as fantasy which "The Martian" certainly isn't.

That said, I would accept "survivalist fiction".

Another Niven/Pournelle hard sci-fi was Footfall which had elephants as invading aliens!

Thanks, I'll check out "Fear the Sky" and "The Expanse".
edit on 17-7-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 01:17 PM
a reply to: greencmp

You sound like you probably enjoy the work of people like William Gibson (as I do). Cyberpunk is kind of where hard SF ended up.

Theoretical physics being what it is these days, pretty much any science fiction can be hard.

posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 02:52 PM
a reply to: Astyanax

Yeah, I like Gibson. Even the spin-off shadowrunesque genre is interesting like Snowcrash.

I still like Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, etc. Maybe I watched too much star [edit] but, I like the space battle books too.

posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 11:51 PM
a reply to: MystikMushroom

I've read some of those.

Mission of Gravity

Hard SF because the basic plot device is a planet where gravity varies at different latitudes due to its oblate shape.

A Fall of Moondust

Hard SF because the basic plot device is a (now-disproved) theory about oceans of dust on the Moon.

Rendezvous with Rama

Hard SF because the basic plot device is an interstellar ark; the plot depends entirely on various features of the ark.


Not hard SF by any stretch of the imagination. Its presence on the list invalidates the list, I'm afraid.

Tau Zero

Described in an earlier post.

The Forever War

Hard SF because the basic plot device is the time dilation aspect of relativity as it affects human space travellers.


Hard SF because the basic plot device is an exploration of how long-distance interstellar communication might be achieved.

The Mars trilogy

A lot of science and technology in these stories (which are basically about the terraforming of Mars), but definitely not hard SF. These books are mostly about the colonists and their relationships; they are literature in the form of science fiction.

What is the hard-SF premise of The Martian?

edit on 17/7/15 by Astyanax because: of Joe.

posted on Sep, 5 2015 @ 11:47 PM
I bookmarked this thread way back when, committing myself to replying to it street reading the book. I've always been one to read the book before seeing the movie. Well, having forgotten about that a few weeks ago, I'm a bit late.

Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Looking forward to the film, hopefully it holds up.

Also, reading through this thread tonight made me giddy with excitement that I'm not the only one on here that enjoyed hard sci-fi.

The Forever War (and other Haldeman novels), almost anything Niven and Clarke (especially their short stories), Heinlein (his YA stuff is what got me hooked on sci-fi early), and of course Asimov (I try and read through the Foundation series every few years), and a lot of the Frederick Pohl Heechee novels (I know that's straying from "hard" sci-fi, but I'm excited) are some of my all time favorites.


What made me think of this thread was the mashup of Wall-E and The Martian, appropriately dubbed "Whatn-e."

Direct link to video

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