I’ve been listening to The Martian on Audible, and it is fantastic. I’m usually a paperback girl – I don’t like reading on e-readers (even though I have one and they are super convenient!) and audiobooks can go oh-so-wrong. However, I do look for books that have awesome audiobook reviews because you can get an entirely different experience when someone exceptionally talented is reading a story to you. And just as I love reading to my son at bedtime, I love being read to as well.
The Martian is written by Andy Weir. (What else has he written, you ask? Why, nothing! This is his debut novel! And yes, I’m trying not to be sick over here, but if you want to hear how this book went from being published FOR FREE on his blog to being a huge success, check out this article.) It is science fiction, but it is set in modern day – and I think that’s why I like it so much. It reads like I could literally turn on the news and hear about this story. An astronaut left behind on Mars has to survive until help arrives – using botany, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and all that science-y stuff. Usually I am a fantasy girl – you can mix in a little sci-fi, but generally I want to live in a fantasy world and I do not want any depressing dystopian crap or scientific mumbo-jumbo that’s going to put me to sleep. I had heard a lot of buzz surrounding this book, so I knew a lot of people liked it – and of course, it’s being made into a movie and all that. But what sold me on the book was a simple tweet by Wil Wheaton as he announced that he was reading it. I was like, “Oh, that’s cool. Good for him!” And then I went on to read the comments (I am telling you, a lot of times the comments section is the best part about a tweet, blog post, or whatever.) Someone said that the audiobook version was hands down one of the most entertaining reads she had read and that the narrator was hella talented. Wow, what a review! I had some Audible credits burning a hole in my pocket so I thought I’d check it out.
And she was right! First of all, this book is written from the first person perspective – basically stream of consciousness – which means that if the voice actor is good, then it’s really just me and the main character having a cup of coffee together and I love that sort of intimacy. What’s even better? The narrator is sarcastic and has a dry sense of humor which deliciously colors all of the scientific mumbo-jumbo. Since I’m not a science girl, I’ll grab onto his humanity. R.C. Bray is brilliant, not only at breathing life into Mark Watney, but also managing to make every other character in the book come alive as well. His ability to differentiate accents and different characters with the same accent is admirable, and his performance never ever takes you out of the story. He brings the story to your brain and sets up shop. Amazing.
So far I can totally see how they’ll make the movie – based on the settings and character renderings, I can picture what the movie would be like in my head as I’m reading it. I’m usually not a big fan of movie adaptations of books, but this one I might go see! And I can totally see Matt Damon playing Mark Watney; I’m not sure how that went down, but it is a great choice, in my opinion.
Anyway, I’ve got about 3 hours left in the book, and I can’t wait to finish it. Maybe next post I’ll mention some of the themes and what I think about the juxtaposition of the warmth of humanity and the crispness of science. I need to find someone who’s read this book so we can chat….