I managed to get my hands on a copy of The Martian before the movie adaptation starring Matt Damon hit the theatres. 🙂 The trailer for that film is full of spoilers, by the way – so best be avoiding it if you’re interested in the book or the film.
In the book, astronaut Mark Watney is accidentally left behind on Mars when a sandstorm threatens to overwhelm the crew of the Ares 3 Mars mission – the book follows his struggles to stay alive in an unrelenting environment while he tries to figure out a way back to earth.
Set in the near-ish future, the book is a gold-mine of details for anyone who hopes to someday spend some quality time on the red planet. Although much of the technology is made up, it feels plausible – certainly the author Andy Weir has been doing his homework.
There’s a few stretches where the details get in the way of the plot (there’s some tediously long math bits) but there’s enough constantly going wrong in Mark Watney’s life that the pace stays pretty brisk throughout the book.
This is a book that celebrates intelligence, resourcefulness, and preparedness. Definitely a recommended read if you’re into hard sci-fi.