Narrated by: R.C.Bray
Reviewed by: Jennifer Chretien, Reference Librarian
Rating: 5 stars
Mark Watney is experiencing a dream come true as the resident botanist and mechanical engineer on board the Ares III mission to Mars when disaster strikes. A dust storm of unbelievable intensity knocks the antenna off of the base camp, impaling Watney as the team was in the process of evacuating. His commander, believing him to be dead, continues evacuation protocol. Except Mark isn't dead; his injury somehow allowed his damaged spacesuit to continue life support. Mark is alive but without a way to contact Earth he needs to use every skill he has if he has a chance at survival.
If you have seen the movie, you have a pretty good grasp at what is going to happen. The movie is an excellent adaptation but it left a lot out, as movies tend to do. I will admit that this was my second attempt at read the novel. I am not typically a reader of hard science fiction; too much math and science jargon to keep my interest and not enough world building. The first time I attempted to read the book, I just couldn't get through all of the pages about potato farming. This was not the case with the audio version of The Martian. Bray's narration was perfection; his tone and nuances highlighted not only the mounting desolation Mark felt but he also deftly expressed the humor and sarcasm. What resulted was a book that was both suspenseful and chock full of knowledge. It didn't feel like a chore to get through the hard science; Mark Watney's sarcasm had me laughing through it.
The almost 11 hour running time went by in a flash and I was sad when it was over. My husband actually immediately began re-listening to it. I think he wound up listening to it 3 times before we had to return the audiobook. I thoroughly enjoyed it but not that much! If you are looking for an engrossing audiobook to get you through your work commute, or are interested in becoming an audiobook listener, I highly recommend The Martian regardless of your experience level in science fiction. It's an intense, irreverent, funny, and hopeful book that will appeal to different ages and interest levels.