The Martian by Andy Weir

[blockquote source=”Tom Skoczlas – Gentleman of Leisure/Wordsmith”]”It had all the excitement of reading a high school chemistry book. During the recycled peril of each chapter, I kept wanting the protagonist to blow himself up so I could switch to reading something else.”[/blockquote]

After a devastating dust storm and one casualty, the Ares 3 mission is abruptly terminated, and the crew flees the unforgiving surface of Mars. As it turns out, though, Mark Watney is not dead, but he might as well be since he is now alone in a hostile environment with limited supplies and dwindling food. Plus there is no way for him to inform anyone that he is alive.

This sounds like a captivating tale of survival, but The Martian is actually quite the opposite. Apparently, Mark Watley is the Highlander. By the 27th time that he defies the insurmountable odds and survives, it becomes evident that he is immortal. There can only be one. Mark finds himself in peril. Mark survives. Insert random filler with painstaking descriptions of chemical reactions and an increment of energy that he dubbed “pirate ninjas.” Repeat for 385 grueling pages.

Mark’s insufferable ability to repeatedly defy the odds is perhaps best illustrated through potatoes. When Watney realizes that food rations are scarce, he simply creates some soil and grows some potatoes. Yeah, Mars doesn’t have soil to enable crop production, so Watney just makes some. Throw in some “pirate ninjas” and my attention span was completely annihilated.

With the flagrant diatribes regarding science paired with Mark Watney’s immortality, The Martian is undeniable garbage. The characters are entirely stagnant, particularly Mark. He has no depth and no motivations, and so it is quite impossible to care about his well-being. In fact, I found myself constantly hoping for his death. Spoiler alert – it does not happen.


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