I loved this book. In a world where Sci-Fi has become focused on computer hacking and cyberspace, it was fun to come back and read a book about rocket ships and outer space.
What made this book a classic is that our hero, Mark Watney, has gotten stranded on Mars. Only a freak accident and great luck kept him alive through a crisis. Now, after the crisis, he has been stranded on Mars with no hope of rescue for four years — so it is up to his brain to do the rest.
While the circumstances of his survival could lead the reader to think “Gee, this guy his really lucky,” it is soon apparent that luck is a door that swings both ways.
The thing about Mark Watney is that he is smart, but human. He gets sad, frustrated, and full of despair. He gets hurt. But he keeps going and keeps working to figure things out. All the same, it is nice to read the hero say “Just once I’d like something to go as planned, ya know?” It’s nice because then we are there with him, and maybe could be like him.
The book was recommended to me by engineer and scientist friends, so the science in it is good enough to satisfy even the technically minded. If you are, or have ever been a science fiction fan, then you should read this book — especially if you liked authors like Asimov, Ellison, or Heinlein.
If you have ever felt like you have been stuck on a strange world as you move through your life on this one, then you also should read this book. Because the message, delivered by a hero whom we can relate to, is clear:
“Okay, enough self-pity. I’m not doomed. Things will just be harder than planned.”