Narrator: R. C. Bray
Published by Brilliance Audio on 22 March 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Health & Daily Living, People & Places, Sci-Fi, Survival Stories
Length: 10 hours 53 minutes
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Place(s) Traveled To: Acidalia Planitia, Mars // Cape Canaveral, Florida // Pasadena, California // Schiaparelli Crater, Mars // Arabia Terra, Mars
First Line(s): I’m pretty much fucked. That’s my considered opinion. Fucked.
I first heard about The Martian by Andy Weir through the Goodreads status updates of my friend David over at From My Bookshelf and it had him on the edge of his seat. Looking for a new audio I decided to download this one and give it a go. From the opening lines I was hooked and became totally engrossed in the story. The story starts not long after Mark Watney is left for dead on Mars after his team had to abandon their mission and Watney’s suit was damaged and he was knocked out in their escape. When Watney wakes he must then figure out a plan to stay alive for 4 years when the next mission to Mars is set to arrive. A daunting task for both Watney and those listening along as he works through many a problem just to survive.
The Martian is a book where you do have to suspend a bit of belief in order to read it as we aren’t so advanced as of yet to send manned missions to Mars. And of course there is Watney’s ability to figure out and manipulate things just so in order to get him through another day. But despite how implausible some of the events might seem the story never comes across as anything but real. I loved Watney’s way of telling a story and its really brought to life by RC Bray. Bray was the perfect choice for Watney and I loved his narration style. I loved how he brought out all the humor in this book and his delivery was spot on. There were lots of little quips and comments throughout The Martian and I think that they really came across better in the audio than if I’d read them in print. Plus there was all that tech-speak which, even though I’m scientifically minded, might have gotten a bit overwhelming and boring after awhile but listening to it just made it all the more fascinating.
Weir often uses a stream of conscious type of narration when telling this story and while this is something that normally bothers me royally in a book I didn’t mind it as much here. There was very much in the moment things that happened that I think if it was Weir looking back would have lost some of its edge. And there is also random changing of view points and that is also something that will bother me in a story but its something that works here. There is just something comforting in how the POV will switch to people at NASA knowing that they are working on the problem to bring one man home when it would be so easy to just cut their losses. I know that seems harsh and callous but its not an easy thing to try to perform a rescue mission when the rescuee is trapped on a planet light years away!
For most of this book I was on the edge of my seat. I’d find reasons to drive around just to hear more of the story with my heart racing the whole time. Its a book that even though you hope for a happy ending you just aren’t sure that you are going to get one and I just love when that happens in a book. The Martian is the sort of book that will appeal to all those that loved the movie Apollo 13 as they two stories share many similarities. This is a book that if it hadn’t come to me so highly recommended from a friend I might have passed on it but once I started it I was hooked. Its a book where I think that the audio is truly the way to go in order to get all the nuances, all the tension and humor and the beautiful way that Weir tells a story. Weir’s debut isn’t perfect but I love how he crafted his story. This is an author that I am looking forward to reading more stories from.