Thrilling and scientifically engaging - Mars in all it’s beauty
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The science-fiction novel „The Martian“ by Andy Weir is about astronaut Mark Watney, who was abandoned by his crew on Mars. All by himself and without any communication with earth, he has to figure out how to survive. In order to succeed, he needs to be creative and confident in his own academic judgement. While describing all o... The science-fiction novel „The Martian“ by Andy Weir is about astronaut Mark Watney, who was abandoned by his crew on Mars. All by himself and without any communication with earth, he has to figure out how to survive. In order to succeed, he needs to be creative and confident in his own academic judgement. While describing all of these considerations, decisions, struggles and successes author Andy Weir finds the right balance in explaining the scientific background to the reader and not boring him. Main character Mark Watney is the botanist and engineer of the crew of the fourth manned Mars mission. During an unexpected earlier take-off back to earth due to a storm, Watney gets blown away and seriously injured. Unlike the crew assumes, they are not leaving his dead body behind, but an unconscious crew mate. From that moment, Watney is the only man on planet Mars, only left with two rovers, their main expedition tent, life support systems, limited food supplies, computers and tools. Watney’s log entries are the main part of the novel and allow inspections of Watney’s thoughts. As a result the reader identifies oneself with him immediately. He is a very intelligent, inventive and charismatic person, with an scientific working method. His writing style is easy to read and colloquial, so all in all really realistic. Even though he is in a life-threatening situation, he tries to think positive and even is humorous most of the time. As he is an astronaut himself, he uses many technical terms and abbreviations. It took me a time to get to know all of them, but in the end, you don’t even notice them anymore. At the same time, Watney believes some of them are unnecessarily complex, so he makes fun of them (for example medium flexible sample container instead of ziploc bags). Besides these log entries, the reader witnesses some situations from the NASA-centre on earth and the homecoming crew. Through them the author creates suspense, allows one to look at the rescue from a different point of view and as a result reveals the whole drama of the affair. The story itself is well thought through and all the difficulties Watney has to face are, as far as I can tell, plausible. Especially from a scientific perspective the novel is really interesting, but also in terms of entertainment, it is really thrilling and you learn a lot about Mars. Through Watney Andy Weir includes lots of different topics concerning mars: science, of course, in all kind of ways (atmosphere, life support, gravity, geology,...), but also international law, history, botany, astronomy, climatology or the rivalry between different nations concerning space travel. These reveal lots of uncertainties and problems concerning the space and space travel. Also, it illustrates how many problems humans are facing as soon as they’re not on earth; So much to think about and to consider, and if there’s something unconsidered or poorly planned, you can easily have life-threatening problems. This points out how well adapted we are to earth. To put it in a nutshell the novel is thematically very diverse, and most topics are touched lightly. To conclude, this novel is really thrilling for everybody, who likes suspense, science-fiction and scientific observations. Mark Watney is a really charismatic and clever main character, who wins every reader’s heart.
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In the Young Readers Edition of The Martian:
Discussion questions and activities
Q&A with Andy Weir
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 and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and 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. Damaged machinery, the 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 and 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?