I don’t read science fiction. Not usually. It’s not that I’ve never read any science fiction. I’ve read a bit of everything. But as a rule, science fiction is not my thing.
So when my brother handed me the book he’d just finished and it had a picture of an astronaut on it, I might never have got round to reading it, in spite of him telling me I’d probably like it. But, for one reason or another, I picked it up and I read. And read. And read. Until my eyes were sore and the clock was telling me it was long past time to stop reading.
The Martian is a Robinson Crusoe story about astronaut Mark Watney who finds himself stranded on Mars when his crewmates are forced to leave the planet in a hurry believing him to be dead. Determined and ingenious, Mark throws himself into the task of surviving the four years until the next Mars mission is due and even works out a way to communicate with Earth. None of it’s easy. Regularly Mark finds himself in a position where there seems to be no possible outcome but his death. There’s a lot of science thrown at you, all of which sounded convincing to me, but, you know, science?
Anyway, so far, so science fiction. The rollercoaster of will-he-won’t-he survive is enough to keep you reading in itself. But The Martian gives you more than this. Mark Watney is a character you can’t help rooting for. He’s funny and brave and entertaining and so very real. I’d want him on my team.
So look, if you’re not a sci-fi fan, you may not believe me, but I’m telling you, this is a book to read. You’re going to love it. And even if you don’t read it, I bet you’ll go and see the film. There’s got to be a film on the way.