Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"The Martian" by Andy Weir

Andy Weir has reminded me why I like reading better than watching. OK, maybe it is too early to make definitive statements because I haven’t seen the film yet. But I can’t imagine “The Martian” being a better film experience than a reading experience. And with too many higher anticipated films left in the year I won’t be really testing that conclusion any time soon.

The Martian is one of those survival tales like “Hatchet” or classics like “The Voyage of the Beagle” by Darwin or “The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons” by John Wesley Powell. The plot is so simple as to be almost non-existent. The character survives or doesn’t. They learn along the way. We live vicariously through their account of adventures we can never experience for ourselves.

This is one of those stories largely depending on journal entries, though not entirely. The problem with those accounts is that they difuse a lot of the tension. One knows not to worry about a character when said character is recounting something already in the past. But the whole narrative is not told this way, and the author does a lot to really hype up the tension.

It is also what some have called “hard scifi.” I don’t know about that, but there are lengthy portions totally reliant on math or chemistry, so it is a bit of a defense of god education!

In the end it is an engaging read. Actually, it is very inspiring. To be honest, I am intrigued to see just how much things change for the cinematic adaptation. I can’t imagine it being a direct translation. Then again, I hated “The Castaway.”

1 comment:

  1. The movie was really very good. (My husband, my teen, and I all read the book a while ago, before seeing the film. Husband has now seen the movie twice.) They had to take several disasters out, of course, but the plot is pretty well the same. There is a bit more emotional material in the movie, but it still doesn't focus on that. It's well worth seeing onscreen, but I'm not as into film as you are so I haven't got a bunch of movies I want to see.

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