The Martian [NOOK Book]

Overview

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even ...
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The Martian

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Overview

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

8 tips for surviving on Mars

So you want to live on Mars. Perhaps it's the rugged terrain, beautiful scenery, or vast natural landscape that appeals to you. Or maybe you're just a lunatic who wants to survive in a lifeless barren wasteland. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you should know:

1: You're going to need a pressure vessel.
Mars's atmospheric pressure is less than one percent of Earth's. So basically, it's nothing. Being on the surface of Mars is almost the same as being in deep space. You better bring a nice, sturdy container to hold air in. By the way, this will be your home forever. So try to make it as big as you can.

2: You're going to need oxygen.
You probably plan to breathe during your stay, so you'll need to have something in that pressure vessel. Fortunately, you can get this from Mars itself. The atmosphere is very thin, but it is present and it's almost entirely carbon dioxide. There are lots of ways to strip the carbon off carbon dioxide and liberate the oxygen. You could have complex mechanical oxygenators or you could just grow some plants.

3: You're going to need radiation shielding.
Earth's liquid core gives it a magnetic field that protects us from most of the nasty crap the sun pukes out at us. Mars has no such luxury. All kinds of solar radiation gets to the surface. Unless you're a fan of cancer, you're going to want your accommodations to be radiation-shielded. The easiest way to do that is to bury your base in Martian sand and rocks. They're not exactly in short supply, so you can just make the pile deeper and deeper until it's blocking enough.

4: You're going to need water.
Again, Mars provides. The Curiosity probe recently discovered that Martian soil has quite a lot of ice in it. About 35 liters per cubic meter. All you need to do is scoop it up, heat it, and strain out the water. Once you have a good supply, a simple distillery will allow you to reuse it over and over.

5: You're going to need food.
Just eat Martians. They taste like chicken.

6: Oh, come on.
All right, all right. Food is the one thing you need that can't be found in abundance on Mars. You'll have to grow it yourself. But you're in luck, because Mars is actually a decent place for a greenhouse. The day/night cycle is almost identical to Earth's, which Earth plants evolved to optimize for. And the total solar energy hitting the surface is enough for their needs.
But you can't just grow plants on the freezing, near-vacuum surface. You'll need a pressure container for them as well. And that one might have to be pretty big. Just think of how much food you eat in a year and imagine how much space it takes to grow it.
Hope you like potatoes. They're the best calorie yield per land area.

7: You're going to need energy.
However you set things up, it won't be a self-contained system. Among other things, you'll need to deal with heating your home and greenhouse. Mars's average daily temperature is -50C (-58F), so it'll be a continual energy drain to keep warm. Not to mention the other life support systems, most notably your oxygenator. And if you're thinking your greenhouse will keep the atmosphere in balance, think again. A biosphere is far too risky on this scale.

8: You're going to need a reason to be there.
Why go out of your way to risk your life? Do you want to study the planet itself? Start your own civilization? Exploit local resources for profit? Make a base with a big death ray so you can address the UN while wearing an ominous mask and demand ransom? Whatever your goal is, you better have it pretty well defined, and you better really mean it. Because in the end, Mars is a harsh, dangerous place and if something goes wrong you'll have no hope of rescue. Whatever your reason is, it better be worth it.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 12/01/2013
Weir combines the heart-stopping with the humorous in this brilliant debut novel about an astronaut stranded on Mars. When its mission is scrubbed as a result of a powerful windstorm, the team of Ares 3 move from their habitat to the ascent vehicle. In transit, Mark Watney's spacesuit is punctured by debris, knocking him unconscious and disabling the suit's biosign monitor so that he appears to be dead. When he regains consciousness, Mark realizes that his crew has left him: "I'm pretty much fucked." Now all he has to do is survive, reestablish communications, find a source of food, and last until the next mission to Mars. Like TV's MacGyver, Mark does have a few potatoes, lots of duct tape, and plenty of resourcefulness. If only Mars would stop trying to kill him and the crew had left behind something other than disco music and 1970s sitcoms for entertainment. VERDICT By placing a nail-biting life-and-death situation on Mars and adding a snarky and wise-cracking nerdy hero, Weir has created the perfect mix of action and space adventure. Mark is hilarious, which makes the terror of marooned death on Mars not just bearable but downright fun. First self-published as an ebook, this revised and edited new edition has also been sold to producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class). [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/13; see Q&A with Weir, p. 78.—Ed.]—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Lib., Wisconsin Rapids
Publishers Weekly
★ 11/25/2013
A dust storm strands astronaut Mark Watney on Mars and forces his landing crew to abandon the mission and return to Earth in Weir’s excellent first novel, an SF thriller. Watney, injured by flying debris and presumed dead, is alone on Mars with no communication and limited supplies. He is, however, the mission engineer, the fix-it guy, and with intelligence and grit he goes to work to stay alive. There are setbacks and triumphs galore as we follow Watney’s sojourn on Mars via his journal entries. Meanwhile, a desperate NASA team concocts a rescue plan on Earth. Watney’s solutions to food and life support problems are plausible, and Weir laces the technical details with enough keen wit to satisfy hard science fiction fan and general reader alike. Deftly avoiding the problem of the Robinson Crusoe tale that bogs down in repetitious behavior, Weir uses Watney’s proactive nature and determination to survive to keep the story escalating to a riveting conclusion. Agent: David Fugate, LaunchBooks Literary Agency. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Brilliant…a celebration of human ingenuity [and] the purest example of real-science sci-fi for many years…Utterly compelling.”--Wall Street Journal

Terrific stuff, a crackling good read that devotees of space travel will devour like candy…succeeds on several levels and for a variety of reasons, not least of which is its surprising plausibility.”—USA Today  

An impressively geeky debut…the technical details keep the story relentlessly precise and the suspense ramped up. And really, how can anyone not root for a regular dude to prove the U-S-A still has the Right Stuff?”--Entertainment Weekly

Gripping…[features] a hero who can solve almost every problem while still being hilarious. It’s hard not to be swept up in [Weir’s] vision and root for every one of these characters. Grade: A.”—AVClub.com 

Andy Weir delivers with The Martian...a story for readers who enjoy thrillers, science fiction, non-fiction, or flat-out adventure [and] an authentic portrayal of the future of space travel.”--Associated Press

"A gripping tale of survival in space [that] harkens back to the early days of science fiction by masters such as Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke."--San Jose Mercury News

One of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time. It feels so real it could almost be nonfiction, and yet it has the narrative drive and power of a rocket launch. This is Apollo 13 times ten.”
--Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Impact and Blasphemy
 
A book I just couldn’t put down! It has the very rare combination of a good, original story, interestingly real characters and fascinating technical accuracy…reads like “MacGyver” meets “Mysterious Island.”
--Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Commander of the International Space Station and author of An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
 
"The best book I've read in ages. Clear your schedule before you crack the seal. This story will take your breath away faster than a hull breech. Smart, funny, and white-knuckle intense, The Martian is everything you want from a novel."
--Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of Wool
 
The Martian kicked my ass! Weir has crafted a relentlessly entertaining and inventive survival thriller, a MacGyver-trapped-on-Mars tale that feels just as real and harrowing as the true story of Apollo 13.”
—Ernest Cline, New York Times bestselling author of Ready Player One
 
“Gripping…shapes up like Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe as written by someone brighter.
--Larry Niven, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Ringworld series and Lucifer’s Hammer

“Humankind is only as strong as the challenges it faces, and The Martian pits human ingenuity (laced with more humor than you’d expect) against the greatest endeavor of our time — survival on Mars. A great read with an inspiring attention to technical detail and surprising emotional depth. Loved it!"
--Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse

“The tension simply never lets up, from the first page to the last, and at no point does the believability falter for even a second. You can't shake the feeling that this could all really happen.
—Patrick Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Breach and Ghost Country
 
"Strong, resilent, and gutsy. It's Robinson Crusoe on Mars, 21st century style.  Set aside a chunk of free time when you start this one.  You're going to need it because you won't want to put it down."
—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The King’s Deception and The Columbus Affair   

An excellent first novel…Weir laces the technical details with enough keen wit to satisfy hard science fiction fan and general reader alike [and] keeps the story escalating to a riveting conclusion.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred)

"Riveting...a tightly constructed and completely believable story of a man's ingenuity and strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds."--Booklist

“Sharp, funny and thrilling, with just the right amount of geekery…
Weir displays a virtuosic ability to write about highly technical situations without leaving readers far behind. The result is a story that is as plausible as it is compelling.”—Kirkus

"Weir combines the heart-stopping with the humorous in this brilliant debut novel...by placing a nail-biting life-and-death situation on Mars and adding a snarky and wise-cracking nerdy hero, Weir has created the perfect mix of action and space adventure."--Library Journal (starred) 
 
“A perfect novel in almost every way, The Martian may already have my vote for best book of 2014.”
Crimespree Magazine

“A page-turning thriller…this survival tale with a high-tech twist will pull you right in.”Suspense Magazine
 
 

From the Hardcover edition.

Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-08
When a freak dust storm brings a manned mission to Mars to an unexpected close, an astronaut who is left behind fights to stay alive. This is the first novel from software engineer Weir. One minute, astronaut Mark Watney was with his crew, struggling to make it out of a deadly Martian dust storm and back to the ship, currently in orbit over Mars. The next minute, he was gone, blown away, with an antenna sticking out of his side. The crew knew he'd lost pressure in his suit, and they'd seen his biosigns go flat. In grave danger themselves, they made an agonizing but logical decision: Figuring Mark was dead, they took off and headed back to Earth. As it happens, though, due to a bizarre chain of events, Mark is very much alive. He wakes up some time later to find himself stranded on Mars with a limited supply of food and no way to communicate with Earth or his fellow astronauts. Luckily, Mark is a botanist as well as an astronaut. So, armed with a few potatoes, he becomes Mars' first ever farmer. From there, Mark must overcome a series of increasingly tricky mental, physical and technical challenges just to stay alive, until finally, he realizes there is just a glimmer of hope that he may actually be rescued. Weir displays a virtuosic ability to write about highly technical situations without leaving readers far behind. The result is a story that is as plausible as it is compelling. The author imbues Mark with a sharp sense of humor, which cuts the tension, sometimes a little too much--some readers may be laughing when they should be on the edges of their seats. As for Mark's verbal style, the modern dialogue at times undermines the futuristic setting. In fact, people in the book seem not only to talk the way we do now, they also use the same technology (cellphones, computers with keyboards). This makes the story feel like it's set in an alternate present, where the only difference is that humans are sending manned flights to Mars. Still, the author's ingenuity in finding new scrapes to put Mark in, not to mention the ingenuity in finding ways out of said scrapes, is impressive. Sharp, funny and thrilling, with just the right amount of geekery.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804139038
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/11/2014
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 583
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

ANDY WEIR was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 108 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(64)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 108 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Disappointing.

    After the rave reviews I expected a Stephen Baxter plot with Hugh Howey writing. Yes, the science is accessible if you have little understanding of science or do not read hard SF but it borders on the absurd for those who do. However, the worst part is the writing. It's cute, funny in places, irreverent and couldn't possibly be any further from the dialogue of a real astronaut or NASA manager. For anyone who has ever read an astronaut biography, watched a documentary, or read about the Mercury or Apollo programs, the unprofessional dialogue, the knowledge gaps and the stolen phrases from the Apollo program, "failure of imagination" and "steely eyed missile man" come to mind, will completely ruin a GREAT premise. Bitterly disappointing and NOT worth $9.99.

    9 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014

    This was the best, most exciting book I have read in a long time

    This was the best, most exciting book I have read in a long time. The engaging character of Mark Watney makes the book. Readers who are not normally Science Fiction buffs will still enjoy this book immensely.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 13, 2014

    First, a big thank you to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of th

    First, a big thank you to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of this book.

    The Martian is described as Apollo 13 meets Castaway.

    I had the honor of meeting Astronaut Jim Lovell, have a signed copy of his book about the Apollo 13 mission (which I've read 3 times) and I loved Castaway!

    And... One of my mild obsessions is Mars! I want to go to Mars. I talk to my grandkids about how they need to be astronauts when they grow up so THEY can go to Mars.

    When I read the description of The Martian, the science geek in me that loves reading and/or watching everything I can about the Apollo program,and who loves Mars... well, you can say I got just a tad bit excited. Alright, maybe more than a tad bit.

    And then I settled in to read. Wow!! Amazing, amazing read. It's completely believable and in my mind I was right there with Mark Watney as he solved one disastrous problem after another after another. This book was written so I was never bored with the science whatsoever, even though a lot of it was way over my head. Astronaut Mark Watney is a cheeky, oftentimes, hilarious botanist/engineer with a lot of McGuyver ingenuity. I seriously had a hard time putting this book down and even though it's been several days, I still cannot stop thinking about this book.

    Author Andy Weir has really crafted a well thought out, exciting thriller of a story which includes all the science of NASA and space travel. I couldn't get enough and sure hope he continues writing in this genre. I will definately be first in line to pick up his future books!! Well done, Mr. Weir!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    Exciting and captivating storry of survival and ingenuity

    Gravity meets Castaway. Funny, exciting, and a little bit nerdy, this book is a real page turner. Well paced and cleverly written, I found myself cheering for Watney. I have no doubts this will become a movie because it is almost tailor made for Hollywood.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    The Martian fun read,

    Good snowed in read,

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Believing he is dead, Mark Watney's crew leaves him behind as th

    Believing he is dead, Mark Watney's crew leaves him behind as they are forced to make an emergency evacuation. But Watney survives, and finds he is completely alone and stranded... on Mars. The Martian details his determination to beat impossible odds and attempt to survive. Watney makes MacGyver's ingenuity seem like child's play, and Tom Hanks's situation in Castaway feel like a dream vacation.

    Andy Weir knows how to write for the layperson and gives his main character a wonderfully quirky sense of humor (Watney calls his habitat "Little HAB on the Prairie" hahaha). Scientific and technical details are never tedious. There was not one moment I felt bogged down; in fact, I was completely absorbed, flipping page after page, devouring the story on the edge of my seat. I felt like I was reading a movie!

    Once in a while, the humor and informal tone got a bit too silly, reminding me of Red Dwarf (which admittedly, is awesome in its own way). But you know, I can live with that, because The Martian is exactly how I like my sci-fi: plenty of science, technically satisfying without being stodgy, entertaining, and not without humor.

    Loved this one. I can't wait to read more by Andy Weir.

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Loved the book.  I am not a techie and there is a lot of technic

    Loved the book.  I am not a techie and there is a lot of technical concepts and hardware in the book.  
    Regardless, the book held my interest to the point that  did not want to put it down.. Great read.  

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Fantastic book!

    A wholy entertaining work. A lot of technical enginerring and chemistry (l've no idea if most is real) but the author makes it exciting.and.a lot of fun to read! Wish I had had professors in college that had made that stuff as fun! Bottom line - a terrific read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Great, great read! Suspenseful, well written and the main charac

    Great, great read! Suspenseful, well written and the main character is what you hope you could be in the face of such overwhelming adversity...brave, intelligent, self sacrificing, but what I loved the most about Mark was his hysterical sense of humor despite his situation. I know people like this, so this is not hard to believe! I can easily see this made into a very successful Hollywood blockbuster considering how well Gravity has done. This has far more detail to explore in a movie! Well done Any Weir!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2014

    I am a 65 year old grandma. I love science fiction.  When they s

    I am a 65 year old grandma. I love science fiction.  When they start selling tickets to the moon or Mars I'll be the first in line. I loved this book. Held my interest the whole way. I read it in a day & a half. I might it again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2014

    Exciting, a modern day Apollo 13.

    Exciting, a modern day Apollo 13.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    This is the best science fiction book I have read since running

    This is the best science fiction book I have read since running out of Heinlein and Asimov years ago. Thanks, Andy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    Good Read

    I liked the read. It was a page turner.. maybe Tom Cruse could play Mark in a movie! Never Mind

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    A Joy to Read For Space Nerds

    For anyone interested the ISS, NASA, Science, Survival Stories etc.

    I would love to read a follow up story with the same crew on a different mission.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Great Book

    Usually wouldnt read a book like this but reommended by Brian Quinn on What Say You Podcast its one of the best books I've ever read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    Amazing!

    Good lord, this story. I was chewing nails and pumping my fist in the air through all of it. I hope it gets a movie, because this is just incredible work that would benefit from the adaptation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    Puts the science in science fiction.

    Fascinating, detailed, science based book. Makes you feel like you are there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    Recommended for a realistic space adventure

    I enjoyed the way the hero coped with being left behind. It was interesting how he was able to use the skills he had learned on earth. He never gave up although his situation seemed pretty hopeless.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    Mars day by day

    This was a surprising type of fiction. What would it be like to survive day by day alone on the planet Mars. Can be uninteresting at times. But if you stick with it you begin to think like the main character. Could you survive without other human contact for over a year? Even on Earth it would be challenging.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    Incredible!

    Couldn't put it down! Can't wait for more from this author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 108 Customer Reviews

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