The Martian by Andy Weir

the-martian-by-Andy-WeirThe Martian by Andy Weir
Narrated by R.C. Bray
Series: None
Genre: Science Fiction
Setting: Mars, Space between Earth and Mars & Earth
Published by Crown, 2014
Audible book, purchased
314 pages
10 hours, 53 minutessci-fi-month-2015
Grade: A
Narrator grade: A
Synopsis: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Initial impressions

  • Very exciting! Well written and engaging. It’s one of my favorite books of the year.


  • Such a good story. There’s excitement, suspense and heroism.
  • So many people have weighed in about this book and have written reviews I don’t think I have anything new to say. However, I want to talk about how much I liked the book.
  • Mark Watney keeps a journal which is what an astronaut and scientist would do. He wants to leave a record behind to let others know what he did in case he doesn’t survive. He’s often profane and irreverent and his personality comes through. At one point when he thinks he might survive after-all he thinks he should be more careful about what he writes!
  • The narrator is excellent. Mr. Bray is very matter-of-fact which I think is the Mark would act.
  • I haven’t seen the movie, but the entire book I could picture Matt Damon in this role as I listened to the narration!
  • I’m impressed by Mark’s ingenuity. I know astronauts are chosen and trained as problem-solvers and that’s illustrated in this book. It would be easy to give up and he never did.
  • He figures out how long his food will last, how many calories he needs plus oxygen and water needs and looks at those stats without flinching. He looks at risks and decides what he can manage to do. Even though he is clear-sighted he still makes mistakes.
  • The book reads like a nonfiction book. I’ve heard that the solutions to problems that Mark Watney comes up with are things that would work. That’s amazing!
  • I like the science in this book though I’m not a scientist and don’t understand all the science, but I think Mr. Weir does a good job mixing the science with the personalities of characters and humanity of the book.
  • I like all the problem-solving in the book–plus the obsession by news organizations and the public when they find out Mark is alive. That seems very realistic. I found myself thinking about the millions of dollars spent plus risking the lives of other people to save one person, but that also seems like something we would do, if possible.
  • I thought it was also realistic that not everyone at NASA is on-board with decisions made. And many of the things Mark does are very risky and sometimes don’t go as planned.
  • I think listening to this story made it more realistic and enjoyable. For me this is the perfect audiobook.


  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m looking forward to more books in the future by Andy Weir.
  • I think I especially loved this book, because one of my daughters wanted to be an astronaut and wanted to go to Mars. She was even on a team of kids in third grade who won a competition to make a space suit to go to Mars. They made the spacesuit and created a video to show and explain it They won all the local and regional contests as well as the national contest. The prize was a trip to Space Camp in Alabama. (She isn’t an astronaut today, but she is a plant pathologist–so if she went to Mars she’d be able to diagnose plant diseases there!)


  • Seiun Award for Best Novel (2015)
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee for Best Novel (2015)
  • ALA Alex Award (2015)
  • Japanese Booksellers Award Nominee for Translated Fiction (2015)
  • Green Mountain Book Award Nominee (2016)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Andy Weir was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Sci-Fi Month–hosted by Rinn @ Rinn Reads and Lisa @ Over the Effing Rainbow

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

11 thoughts on “The Martian by Andy Weir”

  1. I was not the biggest fan of this book… I thought it was okay, it was good, but not AMAZING. It probably didn’t help that I’d read so many fantastic reviews so I had very high standards!

    Glad you enjoyed it quite a lot more though 😉


    1. I can understand not loving it, Rinn. I try not to read too many reviews before I read a book because I don’t want to expect too much or find out too much about the book.


  2. I do really want to read this one. I grew up in a town that really centers around the space industry and worked in it for awhile and my husband still does so I think I’d get a lot out of this one. Plus, I think it’s a book that both my husband and I would really enjoy. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Sounds like an interesting and entertaining read.


    1. I think if you have anything to do with the space industry you would like this, Katherine. Though sometimes reading books about something you know quite a bit about makes the book less enjoyable. I’ll be interested what you think about the book when you read it.


  3. Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed this book. I also listened to it and thought the narrator was wonderful. Can’t wait to see the movie version!


  4. Sounds like a fantastic book, and lives up to all the stellar reviews. I definitely want to see the movie. I think the parts that interest me the most are the NASA efforts and debates (I can see that being a big deal), and his efforts on Mars especially any exploring he does. Great post!


    1. Yes, I thought the bits with NASA and JPL were really good. I can see discussions like that happening. And the exploring he got to do was great, too.


  5. I’m really glad to see you enjoyed this, Jan. I agree, the audiobook is a fantastic way to enjoy this novel. It’s probably one of the best productions I’ve ever listened to, you could hear Bray’s own enjoyment as he was narrating this book. He really made the character.


    1. I agree, Mogsy. I think listening to this book was the way to go. The narrator and the style of the book made it a great audiobook.


  6. I have the audio book of this so I’m glad to hear the narration is good. I’ve read so many amazing reviews of the book that I’m somewhat nervous about reading it; what if I don’t like it as much as everyone else? Still, it looks so interesting that I have to read it.

    That’s cool about your daughter, good for her! And plant pathologist is pretty neat. Clearly she’s of a scientific bent. 🙂


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