Spuds on Mars!

This is not a review, merely some thoughts on The Martian by Andy Weir. Lately I’ve written reviews only of indie-published books — but hey! that’s how The Martian started out. So what if it’s since hit the big time, with a movie and everything.

There are about a zillion ratings/reviews of this book on Goodreads, the majority of them 4 or 5 stars, and, in my opinion, well-deserved. A book that presents so many scientific facts and principles without boring its readers — far from it — deserves admiration. The main character’s situation is so dire and his narrative voice so engaging, that it’s almost impossible to stop reading. There are some really funny lines. My favourite is when he says of Mars’s smaller moon something like: “And Deimos is just a little piece of crap that’s no good to anyone.” Maybe it’s the conjunction of a name from Greek mythology with the hearty word “crap,” but thinking about it still cracks me up.

For me, the best part of the plot was — the guy grows potatoes! On Mars! OK, he grows the spuds in a space that’s engineered to be a small facsimile of Earth, but he has to make his own dirt, by mixing the lifeless soil of Mars with… Well, you just have to read the book! The botanist as hero. (OK, he’s also an engineer, but if that was all, he would have had a harder time of it).

Anyway, this is what has diverted me from my purposeful reading for the last week. I intend to get back to books by emerging local authors a.s.a.p.