I don’t often recommend a book, so pay attention: The Martian by Andy Weir. I was lucky enough to get it on sale for $3.00 over Christmas. The Kindle price is now up to $8.39, which sounds more like Random House. Those big publishers always charge more.
From what I understand, this book started out self-published. Some of the early reviews mention the occasional typo, etc. Then Random House picked it up, and I’m guessing they cleaned it up, ’cause I haven’t found one thing yet to bitch about, and you guys know I noticed every editing error. This is a Hugh Howey-type success story.
It’s hard science, so if lots of numbers and calculations turn you off, skip it. But if you enjoy reading about a guy who tells us how he solves problem while trying to stay alive, you’ll love it. The author wisely inserted scenes centering around human pathos–set at NASA and detailing their efforts to help Mark stay alive–to offset the sometimes dry details the MC, Mark Watney, writes in his logs, but human ingenuity is the star of this book. That, and Mark’s sense of humor, which is obvious from the first sentence.
Mark was part of a Mars expedition and inadvertently gets left behind. On Mars. Yeah, scary thought. Watching him come to grips with his situation, observing how his mind is always working, is entrancing. I’m only about a quarter of the way in, and I just read a scene that made me smile and light up inside.
Think about that! I’m only a quarter in, and I’m already recommending it. Hopefully, it remains as entertaining and engrossing as it is now. I expect it to run down a little in the middle, as such books often do, but then pick up again as it sails toward a slam-bang ending.
I only wish I had more time for reading. I’m currently working on two different edits and writing. This is a tough schedule for me. Editing takes a lot of mental energy, and as writing is nothing but mental energy, that doesn’t leave me a lot to work with. Yesterday I wrote a measly three hundred words. But I’m close to the halfway point of Weatherboy: Balance of the World, and I want to keep at it. Even if I only write a hundred words, that’s enough to keep me going.