Science Fiction Book about Astronaut on Mars - Book Review The Martian

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“I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. First, get some hot water, then add nothin’.”

― Andy Weir, The Martian

About the author

Andy Weir is an American novelist as well as a computer programmer. He actually works as a computer programmer for much of his life. His debut novel is The Martian which was later adapted as a movie directed by Ridley Scott in 2015. He has also received the John W. Campbell Award for the best new writer in 2016.


The Martian is a science fiction book. It's a story of an astronaut on Mars who knew that he would be the first person to live on Mars. He fought against nature and survived until he got help. Now let’s see the story in short. This is an overview of the story, if you want to enjoy the story in detail, please read the book !!! Hope you like it !!!

The story starts in 2035 when the world became confident enough to send a human to Mars for research. NASA prepared a crew, Ares 3 and sent them to Mars for a planned month-long project. But after six sols a massive dust storm hit their base and threatened their survivability there. During the hurried evacuation, an antenna broke and hit astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist, and an engineer, that not only tore his belly but it also made him radio silent. Because of his injury and loss of connection with the crew, he left behind. As the storm became stronger the crew commander Melissa Lewis had no choice but to take off assuming Mark Watney dead.

Surprisingly Mark Watney was not dead. Later it seemed that his injury was minor. As he lost his long-ranged comms, he was unable to communicate with his crew as well as Earth. Actually he was all alone on that entire planet. He understood that he had to rely on his own for survivability. He began to record his daily life. The first challenge to him was to make a source of food for survival until he got help. For that, he started to grow potatoes with the dust of Mars and used his own dung as manure. He produced water for the plants by burning hydrazine.

“It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.”

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― Andy Weir, The Martian

Eventually, he got discovered by the satellite images of the landing site. The scientists saw some movements and confirmed that Mark Watney was still alive. But this news was kept hidden from Ares 3 crew members so that they wouldn’t get distracted from their mission of coming back to Earth in Hermes spacecraft. The scientists started to arrange a rescue mission for Watney.

Watney drove about 2000 miles to Schiaparelli crater to recover unmanned Pathfinder Lander and Sojourner which helped him to connect with Mitch Henderson, Ares 3 flight director. In that journey, he modified his Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) by adding solar panels and an extra battery. On Earth, Mitch convinced Teddy Sanders, NASA administrator to convey the message to Ares 3 crew members. There, other than Lewis, everyone was thrilled to hear the survivability of Watney. Naturally, Lewis as blaming herself that as a crew commander, she should have completed the search for Watney. She was basically guilt-stricken.

Back into Mars, due to overuse of the Martian Habitat (the HAB), the door got decompressed that nearly killed him but instead, it ruined all the plants that he grew for his survival. That again left him with starvation. Here on Earth, scientists tried to send supply to Watney but they failed. The rocket disintegrated during lift-off. So, they contacted China and made a deal with the China Space Administration that made them use a Chinese probe Taiyang Shen. Because of the lack of time scientists were forced to build a probe that would survive crashing with the Martian surface with a speed of about 630mph.

Rich Purnell, an aerodynamicist prepared a slingshot trajectory that would help Hermes to get back to Mars and save Watney. The plan was that the scientists would use the gravity of Earth to attach the resupply probe to Hermes. This will help Hermes to survive longer than its actual mission time. But Teddy Sanders rejected this Rich Purnell Maneuver as it would create an extra burden on Hermes crew members. But Henderson secretly sent all the updates to Hermes and Hermes crew members approved the mission. So, ultimately the resupply probe was docked into Hermes successfully.

Back into Mars, Watney was modifying his rover because he needed to lift off himself for the new rescue plan. But he accidentally blew the electronics of the Pathfinder. Now he had nothing to communicate with Earth other than the Morse code with rocks. Here the scientists found that a storm was moving towards Watney’s location but they had no way to make him aware of that.

If he was hit by that storm then the whole rescue plan would be blown. But when he was passing through Arabia Terra, he became aware of the darkened sky and calculated a rough measurement of the storm and its direction.

Surviving the storm in the Schiaparelli crater, he reached the rendezvous point and reestablished the connection with NASA. There he received the necessary modification of MAV. He needed to reduce extra weight and removed the front of MAV, where Watney covered with HAB canvases. After lift-off, the canvases tore apart and created an extra drag which reduced the altitude of the MAV. Lewis quickly made a plan and with effort and struggle, they rescued Mark Watney. At the time of the last log entry, Mark seemed happy to be rescued and advised others to make helping others an instinct.

“Once I got home, I sulked for a while. All my brilliant plans foiled by thermodynamics. Damn you, Entropy!”

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