Thu, 10 May 2018
The opening lines of The Martian are somewhat reminiscent of the opening scene of Four Weddings and a Funeral when Hugh Grant realises he is going to be late and utters one word several times.
Astronaut Mark Watney has a similar reaction when he realises that he is alive but alone on Mars, although in this instance the expletives seem, if anything, under-stated.
On the face of it The Martian is not my sort of book at all – action in out of space does not immediately catch my attention but it was recommended to me and so I took the plunge and I have to say I loved it - it’s a very engaging read.
I struggled a bit at the start as some of the detail is very technical and scientific and as neither chemistry nor physics were my strong point at school I could make neither head nor tail of what our hapless astronaut was talking about.
I was just thinking maybe I’d have to give up when something happened, which literally made me sit up and go ‘oh this is interesting’ and from then on I zipped through it and didn’t worry about what I couldn’t understand. I just accepted that scientifically it must be possible.
Yes, it is a bit far-fetched and is heading for an obvious conclusion, but it’s still a roller-coaster read and if, like me, you’re not particularly into out of space adventures, give it a go.
Mark Watney, our abandoned hero is quite a character and has an amusing, wry take on his situation, but he’s also a gung-ho, all-action gutsy guy with a never-say-die attitude.
In The Martian, Andy Weir has created realistic characters who react in a human way and therefore you can feel the tension and empathise with the predicaments they have to deal with. The Martian is a book with attitude.
And I enjoyed the film just as much as the book - Matt Damon played the central role with relish and the supporting cast were equally 'on board'. Its not often that a film of a book lives up to expectations, but in this instance it did.