One of the better hard science fiction novels I’ve read, The Martian manages to maintain a level of suspense, and humor, even given the fact that 90% of the book has us looking at one character: Mark Watney, who was left for dead on Mars after an emergency forces the crew of the Ares-3 to evacuate. Whatney has little communication with the rest of the universe and is forced to fend for himself.
The only thing that I didn’t like about it was that if anyone could have been left alone on Mars, Watney was the only member of the crew that could’ve possibily survived such an ordeal, given is unique skills as handyman/engineer and botanist. I suppose the book might’ve been shorter with one of the other crewmembers, but Watney wouldn’t be quite such an secondhand superman – it often seems like he knows everything and anything he needs to know, and can somehow artifice anything from the limited supplies he has. The book reads as a sort of Red Planet Mars in reverse, or Gravity with a guy. The “techni-ness” of everything often drags things down a bit, as the author is teaching us the Martian basics rather than telling the story.
Even with those shortcomings, the book is an excellent and emotional story and definitely worth a read!