For those unfamiliar, the book is about an astronaut (Mark Watney) stranded on Mars without communication or backup from Earth/NASA. Mark must grow his own potatoes and put his practical skills to use in a struggle for his own survival, but the odds are against him because the next Mars probe won’t arrive for a long time and he may run out of food, oxygen, or water before then. Any of a hundred different things could go wrong, from the habitation to the rovers.
The Martian used retrospective first-person tense to good effect, relating Mark’s experience in a series of diaries listed as ‘sols’. The tense captured Mark’s hilarious take on his situation, and made for engaging reading.
My main criticism is the overuse of scientific terms and mathematical calculations, which was a bit overwhelming at times because not all of the calculations made sense to me, even if it was supposedly authentic.
Still, there were enough engaging chapters, and it was a good book overall.