Mark Watney is stranded on Mars and the next supply ship and possible rescue is due in four years. There is an initial added complication that no one believes he has survived the dust storm that caused the rapid evacuation from the planet of the rest of the crew and so no one is looking for him. Mark is faced with the probability of death by various means; it’s just a case of which one will kill him first.
What follows is the description of how Mark resolves not to die; his know-how and ingenuity are stretched as he tackles the problems he is faced with. The reader also get to see what is going on back on Earth where the NASA team are faced with their own dilemma and that of the crew returning to Earth without their lost shipmate.
I was surprised at how eagerly I absorbed all the descriptions of how Mark could supplement his food supply, produce water and additional energy and attempt to communicate with a very distant Earth. His character is optimistic and despondent, happy, frustrated, accepting and unwilling to give up- a whole gamut of emotions that I would imagine would befall a real, cosmic castaway.
The film is just as absorbing but misses out some detail, and one whole section of the story. It didn’t spoil my enjoyment and I can see that the cuts had probably been necessary simply from the point of fitting it into a feature-length time-frame. The story still seemed whole and satisfying despite the ommisions.
The Martian is a great story, not just for Sci-fi fans by any means. It’s a story about camerarderie, the human spirit and the will to survive and I could read it over again right now!