I know it’s rather late in the day to write this sort of review because both the novel and the film version (Starring Matt Damon) of Andy Weir’s “The Martian” have been available for quite some time.
However, I find them both rather compelling, which is saying something, especially for films. Usually, I’ll see a film I like, maybe a few times, and then put it away for a while. However, I feel as if I could read the novel and watch the movie repeatedly, with the tale of Mark Watney remaining as fresh as ever.
For those few of you who are unfamiliar with the book and the movie, they describe the struggles of Astronaut Mark Watney, who is presumed dead, killed in a sandstorm, and left alone on Mars.
To say that author Andy Weir has a background in science is faint praise. The guy solves problems in orbital mechanics as a hobby. Although he admits that he probably couldn’t survive on Mars like his creation Watney, his mind and imagination creates an all-too realistic set of events that challenge Mark’s ability to survive each and every day in an environment totally hostile to life.
I won’t go into the plot. For that, I encourage you to read the book and watch the film. As with most books turned into movies, the novel contains far more detailed information. I’ve read some of the Amazon reviews, and a few folks believe there are too many details.
To me, it’s a survival manual and an adventure tale rolled into one, with a side of stand-up comedy.
For scientific accuracy, I’d choose the novel. The climax of the story is handled, in my opinion, a bit more realistically in the book than how the movie depicts our hero’s rescue. On the other hand, the book ends with Watney aboard a spaceship headed for home. End of story. In the movie, we see what happens next.