The Martian by Andy Weir
I can say that Andy Weir's "The Martian" is MacGyver in space (Hey, look, I just did), but that wouldn't be very original of me (oh well). Plot wise this book is very simple. Astronaut Mark Watney, presumed dead after a freak accident, is deserted on the very inhospitable Mars. But guess what, he's not dead. Now all he has to do is survive until he gets rescued. Easy. Weir intentionally doesn't go for the deep existential probing of man alone, why the hell am I here and alive (Thank you interview that I read by him). What he gives us instead is a highly likable, self-effacing, funny, smart, and resourceful individual trying to survive in an extremely dire situation. And this approach to Watney does add its own form of character development as we do get to see him try and fail and succeed in adapting to live in his new environment. And it shouldn't be understated that it is funny; guffaw funny. It's when the book shifts to the NASA people and his crewmates trying diligently to rescue him that it looses some of its easy appeal. But even with the science that in all other cases should go well over my head, the survive and rescue grips. And now I can in good conscience see the movie.
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