– Est. 1981

The Martian written by Andy Weir – Audiobook by R. C. Bray









I think I'm going to have an unpopular opinion based on all of the reviews I have read on this book. Most everyone is raving about how great it is and quite frankly, it's baffling.


Word choice is always the thing that stands out to me because it can really pull me out of the story and break immersion. The story is mostly written as a series of log entries in a written journal. Whenever something good happens in the story and Watney is recording it in his journal it is very common for him to say "Yay!" I didn't die. Yay! It may seem like a petty complaint if you haven't read the book but it comes at the strangest of times. Almost like Weir simply did not know what someone would or should say in this situation. Dialogue really is not Weir's area of expertise.

Watney: Thanks for coming back to get me.

Johanssen: It's the least we could do.

Really? Without getting too much into spoilery territory let me tell you that it is NOT the least they could have done. In fact, it's the MOST they could have done. So many more impactful things could have been said here.

Watney: Thanks for coming back for me.

Johanssen: I'm so sorry you're in this situation, Mark.

See, there's emotion there. Show us some emotion, Weir. Snarky sarcastic humor is not an emotion and all of the dialogue is dripping in snarky little jokes that just ruin any kind of emotion you may have for the characters.

There are examples like this all over the book but here are a couple more to pile on. In the following example Watney is literally about to die. I mean, he's moments from it and the crew is scrambling to save him, it's a very tense situation... or at least it should be. There's furious talking, fast thinking, lives on the line and shit is getting really complicated and this is one of the first times in the book that I'm squinting and really focusing, feeling the anxiety of the moment.

Lewis: Hang in there Watney, we have a plan!

Watney: Yayyyy, a plan!

What the...? Not "Is there anything I can do?" or even the obvious one... "What do you want me to do?" No no, the chosen words given to our hero is "Yayyyy, a plan!" I was completely pulled out of the moment. This went on for some time with this very serious situation and the lines coming out of this guys mouth were that of someone who had just fallen down a well and is waiting for rescue. Not someone who had just survived 500+ days on mars and was fighting for his life, and THIS was the culmination of that effort.

Here's some other lines that seemed out-of-place, and honestly a little meta, self knowing. Dialogue meant to make the reader laugh instead of conveying any sense of emotion of realism. Weir is trying to convince us that HE is funny, not that his characters are funny. This shows in almost every character that has any semblance of personality.

"Prepare your body" Yes... someone said that, 30 years in the future.

"Fuck me raw" I don't even know what to say about this. It's like cussing for the sake of cussing, it adds nothing to the story.

A man and woman embrace in a bar on earth while watching the rescue of Watney on television. "The woman sways back and forth in SHEER TERROR." Sheer terror? Wouldn't it be anxiety? Why is she rocking back and forth? When I'm SHEERLY TERRIFIED I do not rock back and forth. I just don't get it... it's lazy.

I made so many notes with examples like this, I just need to move on.


The setting of the story is incredibly believable. That is actually what this book has going for it. It's a nerds paradise. By the way, I'm a nerd and this was way, way overboard for me. In depth analysis, equations, numbers, physics, numbers. You can tell me you're turning shit and sand into soil, I'll believe you without the complex equations and paragraphs explaining how the C02 you're exhaling is assisting the plants by percent and the oxygen the plants are giving off... you get the point. He drones on this way about EVERYTHING. It got to the point where I was sick of hearing the guy talk and I was longing for some terrible dialogue from anyone else. Anyone.

So I did this. And then I did this. And then I did that. I did this and that and then this and then that.

Oh shit I'm fucked. Wait, I have an idea that might work. Yep it worked. I'm going to live. Yay!

Oh no, I'm fucking going to fucking die fuck! Hmm.. now that I think of it I might be able to yada yada yada numbers fucking equations. Yep that worked I'm going to live! FUCK YAH!

The guy is impossible to kill and I feel no real danger for him. He's on mars by himself and I never felt like the guy was in danger. It's a real slog to get through all of these details.


The plot is great... I actually love books like this most of the time and I love the movies even more. The plot is established right off the bat. The story gets going quick and it keeps going. The problem is that the plot is constantly interrupted by so many in-depth details and "I did this then that" sequences that I consistently forgot what he was doing or trying to do and where we were in the story. There were moments of slightly better than mediocre writing that had me really paying attention. All of these moments were moments AWAY from Watney. Conversations at NASA had me interested, conversations with the other crew members on Hermes had me interested.

Unfortunately though, the only time I felt any real emotion or anxiety was during the last chapters during the rescue attempt but it was quickly cast aside by the snarky little sarcastic jokes. It's a shame... I felt like I was going to have a real emotion for a second.

Ok I admit, I teared up for a second so I did feel an emotion but it was short-lived.


Everyone else keeps describing Watney as loveable. I don't feel anything for the guy... most of the time I just felt like he was droning on and reciting scientific equations. I admit, because it was an audio book I tuned a lot of stuff out because it just all sounded the same to me. I probably would have skimmed those pages anyway.

Most of the characters just seemed to have similar personalities... snarky and sarcastic. Others were just kind of bland. R.C. Bray did a decent job of trying to portray personality through his voice but ultimately it just came down to different accents. Everyone had their own one liners and spoke like they spend a couple of hours on Reddit every day, which is an obvious fact about the author with lines like "fuck me raw" and "prepare your body."


Here's where it gets really weird.... I like the book. Well, I like the story and I like the potential and I think this is going to be one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book.

Other movies that were better than the books include:

The Twilight Series

The Hunger Game Series

Yes, I made that comparison. Andy Weir is a nerd, and so this book gets some serious credit where that is concerned. Research was done, accuracy was attained, grammar was good enough. But the dialogue was simply as cringe worthy and lazy as Twilight and Hunger Games. Unfortunately the negatives cast a fairly long shadow over everything great about the book. I am genuinely excited for the movie. It looks like they turned all of the journal/log entries into video log entries. That is going to make all of his dialogue make a lot more sense.

No one writes "Yay" in a journal.

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