Skip to main content

The Martian by Andy Weir: Like the show I Survived, but in a stranded-on-an-alien-planet way



This book took me wayy longer to read than it took everyone else. 

This is because everyone else's review was "HAHA so funny this book is so great!" and I opened it prepared for uproarious Martian hijinks and read:


In the Hab, I have the oxygenator, a large piece of equipment that breaks apart CO₂ to give the oxygen back. But the space suits have to be portable, so they use a simple chemical absorption process with expendable filters.




Ok, let's be clear about something on this blog as it relates to me and the world: I. Hate. Science. I do not care about chemical processes; I don't want to do experiments unless they involve something fizzing, and even then, I want someone else to do them so I can watch. I didn't take the ACT because it has a science portion and I knew it would pull my score way down. In high school, lab reports were my single most disliked thing. My eyes glaze over, I'm super-bored, it's the worst.

So this book wasn't really written for people like me, and that is fine. Because a lot of people love science! Love love love. But as it stands, these were my comments during it:




In case you were unaware, The Martian is about a guy on a mission to Mars. During a bad storm, he gets blown away, and his fellow crew members think he's dead. So they leave without him. But -- boom! He is in fact alive! A good portion of the book is his journal, but, thank God, that's not the whole book. There are sections about NASA and what they're doing to save him once they realize that oh, hey, looks like our satellites are saying there's someone alive and abandoned on Mars.

This book is basically for really nerdy survivalists. "Could I survive on another planet! How! Please, book, tell me creative solutions for this problem." 

This book is NOT for liberal/fine arts people like myself who are completely resigned to and accepting of the fact that in that situation, we would die immediately.


Every liberal arts major on Mars

Despite the above, I didn't hate the book. It was fine. But like a solid 2.5/5 stars fine, because so very very much of the book is science, and talking about the step by step processes the narrator is taking to survive, and ahhhhhh I don't care. I ended up heavily skimming those sections and that made the book way better. 

Every now and then the author would flirt with some characters speaking to each other, but overall the book's setup seems ideal for a nerdy science writer since he's mainly spending the whole time monologuing and not having to get into the subtleties of human interaction.

So. Read it if you like science and science people. Or, y'know, don't. This book left me with zero strong feelings, which I guess in its own way is kind of damning.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Yes, Frances Willard was as gay as Oscar Wilde. But in a lady-way.

Yup. We're gonna do it. We're gonna talk about Frances Willard and gayness. Look, it's not a major part of her life, and it's definitely not the main thing she should be remembered for, but the fact that a line is being put out that she was totally straight is complete hogwash and it upsets me.




The thing is, I get when people say it's anachronistic to put the cultural concept of "gayness" onto a person from a century other than the 20th/21st. I get that. And usually agree with it. But Frances Willard is one of the gayest people in history. I have zero problem labeling her with that. The fact that she didn't have the language to describe what she was experiencing is upsetting, but she managed to have a seemingly full and satisfying life anyway, so I am happy for her.

And for people annoyed when gay people say that someone from the past was gay, here's the thing: When you're completely whitewashed from history, it is a matter of TOTAL DELIGHT wh…