The Martian

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By Kathy on 10-18-13

Potatoes, anyone?

I previously read this book on my Kindle and was so excited to see it was out on audio. This is one of the most enjoyable reading/listening experiences ever. It is different from the more typical science fiction. It is actually science AND fiction, combined with lots of humor and suspense. For me, it has everything !

I was initially disturbed when I heard the narrator's voice and reading style. It did not seem to fit the Mark Watney I read about and knew. However, as the book progressed, I think Bray slid comfortably into the role and did a masterful job of capturing the personality of our hero. He certainly added to the listening pleasure.

This book contains lots of technical jargon and hard science, yet it was put into simple enough terms so that I could easily follow the gist of what was going on. I would think this story would appeal not only to sci-fi loving engineers but to anyone who enjoys contemporary, realistic science-based fiction which, unfortunately, can be difficult to find during this period of zombie and vampire mania. And did I mention the humor?

Very highly recommended!

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158 of 186 people found this review helpful

By Michael G Kurilla on 06-21-13

Macgyver on Mars

Andy Weir's The Martian is a pure gem of a listen. Mark Watney, an astronaut who is part of an early Mars mission has been left for dead as his crew-mates were forced to abort their mission. Mark however has survived that initial catastrophe and is forced to go "Robinson Crusoe" to survive on a world intent on his demise. Eventually, NASA figures out that Watney is still kicking, but there is little they can do to assist. Watney battles the odds and works his way through one creative solution after another to survive and escape his potential fate as the first human casualty on Mars.

The time frame is the near future with little or no "new" science. The tale can become a bit "geeky" with explanations and calculations, but that is a major appeal of the story. Weir succeeds in crafting a believable series of events that create dramatic tension that ebbs and flows from start to finish. Watney is never out of the woods (or craters), but every new situations just comes out of nowhere. All along, Watney's composure and humor makes for an endearing character as he relates his experiences in a diary fashion. The supporting cast of Earth-side NASA personnel and Watney's Mars crew-mates are realistically portrayed with banter that comes off as genuine.

The narration is simply outstanding with an excellent range of voices and a tone that matches the tension inherent throughout the story. This will be a quick listen as the writing stye and delivery make for a can't put down quality.

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273 of 330 people found this review helpful

By Thomas on 06-10-13

One of my freakin' favorites!

I've listened to this audiobook several times. There is so much going in this story, I can turn it on at any point, and just listen for hours.

Left for dead when his crew is forced to suddenly abort the mission, astronaut Mark Watley pits his formidable intelligence against everything the red planet throws at him.

Plenty of hard science for those like me who regularly read science fiction, but really, it doesn't matter if you're not used to reading science fiction. The characters usually explain what's happening.

The audiobook contains quite a lot of humor, and the narrator handles it beautifully. Very well done!

I have over 450 books in my Audible library, and this book is one of my top 10 reads of all time.

But if you don't like profanity, please don't buy the book, you wouldn't enjoy it.

So freakin' listen to it already!!!

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243 of 295 people found this review helpful

By Jean on 01-17-18

A Trip to Mars

I think everyone has read this book except me. The book finally worked its way to the top of my stack. Apparently, the book was originally self-published. It became a word of mouth hit and got picked up first by an audiobook publisher, Podium Publishers, then by a print publisher, Crown. Then it was made into a successful movie.

The protagonist, Mark Watney, is an astronaut. Mark and team members are on a month long scientific survey of Mars. A storm arrives and NASA’s Command orders the team to their MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) and back to their ship. Mark is injured and has communication problems. The team thinks he is dead and leaves without him. The story then becomes a survival story. As with most survival stories, it becomes a man against nature theme.

The book is well written and researched. The science is reasonably accurate. The character is interesting and the premise is intriguing. I think I have a generational gap as far as the language is concerned, for example, “3.6 pirate-ninjas” or “LOL Craaap!!” Otherwise, I enjoyed the story and its subtle humor.

The book is almost eleven hours. The audiobook won the 2015 Audie Award for Science Fiction and was the 2015 Audie Award finalist for Solo Narration. The audiobook also was the 2014 Voice Arts Award finalist in Science Fiction.
R.C. Bray does an excellent job narrating the book. Bray is a voice-over artist and is an Audie and AudioFile Earphone Award-winning narrator.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

By AudioAddict on 09-24-14

Potty-mouthed astronaut with an attitude. Love it!

STORY (sci-fi) - As the summary suggests, Mark Watney has been abandoned by his crew and left on the surface of Mars. Unbeknownst to them, he is only injured and very much still alive. Mark, who had been the mission's botanist, must now try to survive alone on Mars till help arrives...if it does. What follows is a fast-paced, fascinating tale of survival. He must deal with finding shelter, food, water and breathable air, among other things. He must try to establish communications with NASA and survive sand storms, etc.

Mark is one of my favorite characters EVER. He's brave and smart, even kinda geeky. He works tirelessly and doesn't give up on his situation, and then there's his sense of humor! He's always making fun of his colleagues, himself or his situation, and he's not afraid of saying exactly how he feels. The opening line of the book, when he discovers he's been left behind alone on Mars, is: "I am so f**ked!" I enjoyed his unabashed irreverence but the language flows freely in this book, so it may not be for everyone.

The story is never dull. You will hear how he modifies everything from its original purpose to one fit for survival. (He's quite an inventor). You will hear the various plans that NASA scientists formulate for his rescue and you will hear why they fall by the wayside or fail. Finally (and without giving too much away) you will hear how Mark attempts a treacherous excursion across the planet to attempt a rendezvous with those on a mission to save his life. Great suspense!

PERFORMANCE - He was so perfect for this job! His delivery of Mark's sarcasm and humor was spot on. He also did a great job with various foreign accents possessed by NASA employees and fellow astronauts.

OVERALL - No sex (duh, he's alone on Mars), and no violence. Quite a bit of F-bombs, as mentioned above. I would recommend this book for everyone except children, for obvious reasons. I don't give five stars out freely, but this book is special.

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59 of 74 people found this review helpful

By Ryan on 06-08-13

21st century castaway adventure... with SCIENCE!

This book is a lot of fun. Weir seems to have done a ridiculous amount of research into how a manned NASA Mars mission would probably work, and turns this knowledge into a suspenseful adventure with a likable protagonist and a healthy dose of humor. The story begins, in classic castaway fashion, from the journal entries of an astronaut named Mark Watney, who’s stranded on Mars after an emergency forces the rest of his fellow astronauts, who think him dead, to abort the mission and depart.

Now alone with his expedition’s equipment, including rovers, space suits, a habitat, and some botany experiments (but no radio), Watney must improvise ways to stay alive and contact Earth. A lot of science and engineering geekery soon follows, but Weir does such a good job of explaining it, using Watney’s informal voice and snarky, quip-ready “engineer” humor (the opening f-bomb sets the tone), that I don’t think it will be too hard for the average reader to understand. Being an engineer myself, I could easily relate to how this guy’s mind worked, as he took apart different systems and put them to use in ways they weren’t quite meant to be used, yet did so in a careful, controlled manner. I had one of many smiles at the part where he contemplates international law and decides that one of his actions makes him a pirate. A SPACE PIRATE! Yep, engineer.

I don’t think it’s much a reveal to say that the narrative eventually expands to include people back on Earth. If you recall the movie Apollo 13, a lot of similar action follows, as NASA and other organizations put their best minds to work on the problem of how to save Watney. I won't spoil the series of mishaps, setbacks, and narrow escapes that follow as he hangs on for a rescue attempt, but suffice to say that Weir makes good use of his setting and contrives some creative but plausible solutions. The supporting characters could have been developed a little more, but their banter is entertaining. Weir is clearly a fan of NASA, but isn't above poking fun at bureaucracy, PR machines, and the various personalities that inhabit the organization.

I hope someone sees fit to make a movie, because all the right ingredients are here. There’s a crowd-pleasing survival story and a likable hero. There’s a long-shot plan and a big-screen-ready nail-biter of a climax. And it's a heckuva a lot more believable than other Mars-themed stuff that Hollywood has given us (I'm looking at you, Red Planet). But, if there’s never a film, audiobook narrator RC Bray is the next best thing, with a boyish voice that's a perfect fit for Watney, and different affectations for his various quips.

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146 of 187 people found this review helpful

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