The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Pages: 369The_Martian_2014

Genre: Sci-fi, fiction, comedy

I’m stranded on Mars.

I have no way to communicate with Earth. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Habitat breaches, I’ll just kind of explode.

If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

I’m screwed.

Thoughts: This review’s been a little time in the coming, but it’s finally here. I saw The Martian as a movie first, and really enjoyed it. I then learned there was a book, and needed to read it. And, I think the movie did a very good job of portraying the characters, and the storyline. Basically, for anyone who hasn’t read or seen it, the Ares 3 crew landed on Mars, but had to abort their mission early, due to an unexpected storm. On their way over to the MAV (their ride home), Mark Watney is hit by flying debris and whisked away by the wind. The rest of the crew, thinking him dead, and under strict orders to leave, have no choice but to leave him there. But Mark did not die, and is now stranded on Mars. It was a really fun read, that made me laugh out loud many, many times, while also conveying enough worry for me to be on the edge of my seat.

“Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” if I were the only remaining person.”
What do you know? I’m in command”
― Andy WeirThe Martian

From the opening line, I got Mark Watney’s character down pat. He has a very recognisable way of speaking… Like this! All the time!! With heaps of funny lines that will definitely be quoted! And he narrates most of the book. It does sound like it would get a bit tiresome after a while, but not for me. I really enjoyed reading it. The other parts of the book were either around NASA (on Earth), or the rest of the Ares 3 crew, (who are still on their way back to Earth). I really liked their parts, because all the characters were so developed, and had certain ways of acting. They seemed like real people, who I really would’ve liked to meet. There was just something satisfying about their conversations and the way they interacted with another, made smooth through Weir’s way with words. These chunks of the book broke up Watney’s, which is possibly why I didn’t get too tired of it. The only thing that could’ve made it better, is more of these parts, because I really, really enjoyed them.

“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”
― Andy WeirThe Martian

An aspect of The Martian that really amazes me, is the amount of research that went into it. There are crazy amounts of maths formulas involved, as Watney’s trying to figure out how to survive. On top of that, just general NASA knowledge, and terminology, like the Hab, the MAV, and EVA, and as well as that, the solutions to his major issues, for example growing food, repairing the oxygenator, or communicating with Earth. So yes, there was a lot of research that went into the book, so it would seem more realistic and plausible. And apparently, most of what he wrote was largely correct. (Not that I went through and checked everything. That would have taken forever) Which leads me to my next point: There was a lot of it. A lot of rambling on about ‘how this would mean that this thing has to be changed, which would affect that, and that cannot be changed, so scrap that idea, and form a new one.’ It’s written as if an astronaut had written it, which is essentially what it was meant to be, but I’m not going to lie. After the first few chapters, once it got to these parts, I would just skim over it, and then start reading properly when it finished. It wasn’t like it was badly written, it would just jumble everything up, and I couldn’t keep up. I appreciate the sheer amount of research that went into it, and feel like it wouldn’t have been the same book without all the realistic factors, but it just got a bit too much.

“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”
― Andy WeirThe Martian

It is not the amazingly-written book I’ve read, but the genre and style of story it is didn’t need it to be. It’s meant to be a collection on Watney’s thoughts as he logs his survival on Mars. This means it isn’t perfect English, there are jokes everywhere, he makes up names for people and things (kilowatt-hour per sol later becomes known as a ‘pirate-ninja’), and there are lots of short and jumbled sentences. It helps if you read it as if he was actually speaking it, which much easier if you’ve seen the movie.

“If ruining the only religious icon I have leaves me vulnerable to Martian vampires, I’ll have to risk it.”
― Andy WeirThe Martian

Sorry if all these quotes are annoying, I really love them all!! I had to narrow it down just for the review. Essentially, the best part was the continuous humour. Slightly unrealistic at times, but still, enough things went wrong that it still seemed plausible. It was a good, fun, easy read that I think everyone would enjoy. (although: language warning) To sum up, there were developed characters, who were all fun to read about, a thrilling story that had lots of ups and downs, it was very well researched, and the writing was light and easy. Also, did I mention, hilarious!!

“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally hum
an that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”
― Andy WeirThe Martian

Rating: star_rating_4_of_5


The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden

Author: Jonas Jonassonthe-girl-who-saved-the-king-of-sweded

Pages: 419

Genre: fiction, humour, comedy, contemporary

Just because the world ignores you doesn’t mean you can’t save it.

Nombeko Mayeki is on the run from the world’s most ruthless secret service – with three Chinese sisters, twins who are officially one person, and an elderly potato farmer. Oh, and the fate of the King of Sweden – and the world – rests on her shoulders.

Born in a Soweto shack in 1961, Nombeko was destined for a short, hard life. When she was run over by a drunken engineer her luck changed. Alive, but blamed for the accident, she is sent to work for the driver – the brandy-soaked head of a project vital to South Africa’s security. Nombeko may be good at cleaning, but she’s amazing with numbers. The drunken engineer isn’t – and has made a big mistake. And only Nombeko knows about it…

Thoughts: I finally finished it, after about 2 weeks on the one book, which is pretty terrible for me. So here we are, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

“Life, here I come!’ he said. And was immediately and fatally run over by a bus.”
― Jonas JonassonThe Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

I found this book hilariously funny, and would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a laugh. Right from the get-go I loved the main character – who later becomes the girl who saves the King of Sweden. But you have to read the whole book to find out how she gets into that situation. Throughout the entire thing, tension built up, as disaster after disaster happened.

“If you don’t think you have enough problems, you should acquire a mammal in Sweden just hours before you’re about to fly home to the other side of the world, and then insist that the animal must come along in your luggage.”
― Jonas JonassonThe Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

I’m likening the sort of story to a Douglas Adams book, because of each of the weird and strange coincidences that seemed to keep happening. I actually couldn’t finish The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, because it was just too confusing and I didn’t get it, so this one wasn’t to as much of an extent. But still, there were more than a few moments when it seemed nothing else could go wrong, and then another character they met 100 pages before, suddenly pops up and tries to take control. It was like, “Ohhhhhh, I forgot about you…”

The novel itself was written well, if a little confusing in parts. The one piece of advice is to take note of character’s names, and where they feature in the story, because sometimes you won’t understand the jokes made later in the book. I absolutely loved the humour of it all, which is probably why I loved it so much.

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. – An unknown thinker ” ― Jonas JonassonThe Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

It was a little slow to begin with, to a minor extent, but it very quickly warmed up. But then, by the second half, I did find that it was starting to drag on a bit. There were things happening every chapter, but I couldn’t read more than 3 at a time, because nothing big happened, no cliff-hanger, that made me want to read on. What also added to this was that there was no climax. Yes, there was a point in the story that was more important than the rest of it, but the tension just didn’t get any higher than the rest of the book. It was like as if the author tried to cram too many different parts into the book, and tried to connect characters in some way, too many times, that when the big ending came, it actually wasn’t a big ending.

In saying that, I loved the variety of different characters that existed in the story. There’s a South African woman, two Swedish twins, three Chinese sisters, two Israeli agents, then the president of China, and of course, the King of Sweden. I enjoyed all the crazy coincidences that continued throughout the entire story, and how unpredictable they were.

“Books simply had something sympathetic, their mere existence was pleasing.” ― Jonas JonassonThe Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

Now, I know that I’ve said that it’s slow, and seems to drag on, but I still liked it. I would recommend it to people, not for an easy read, but for a funny, humorous one. If you’ve had enough of the tear-jerkers… And I say not an easy read, because you do have to concentrate on it, as it all gets very confusing near the end if you don’t remember some of the characters. Just a tip…

Rating: star_rating_4_of_5