The Fellowship of the Worms Blasts Off: The Martian

April 27, 2015 Audio Books, Book Club 20

Happy Monday Bookworms!

smarty-mcwordypants-199x300It’s time that time again, y’all! The Fellowship of the Worms is in session! Today we’re going to be discussing the impossibly suspenseful novel, The Martian by Andy Weir. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Martian and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer questions in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, leave a comment linking to your review or discussion of The Martian on your own blog! I fully encourage shameless self promotion, so don’t hesitate to get your link on. Let’s do this! 

1. Does anybody else have a bit of a crush on Mark Watney after reading this? 

Um, heck yes! Super smart botanist/astronaut/engineer with a killer sense of humor and survival instinct? If MacGuyver, Bill Nye, and, I dunno, Tina Fey? got together and conquered Mars with science, duct tape, and hilarity, it might come close to matching Mark Watney’s awesomeness. Yes, please.

2. Do you think the crew was right in leaving Watney behind?

I’m with Mark on this one. I absolutely cannot blame the crew for leaving Watney. All their evidence pointed towardthemartian his being dead. It’s not like they were just like “he wasn’t back in time let’s go.” They were like “noooooo our friend is dead and Mars is evil!” The data all said “dude is dead, get out before you get sand stormed to death” so they did.

3. Do you think it’s realistic that Mark could have kept his sense of humor throughout his ordeal?

If it were me, I’d have given up early on and gone to a cold Martian grave. Watney’s maintenance of spirit is impressive, but I kind of believe it could happen. In listening to Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars (review), I learned that they have some crazy methods of picking astronauts. Would a person with an “ordinary” temperment have reacted the way Watney did? No. But they choose some pretty unusual characters to go into space. It makes sense to me, on some level. Plus, I loved Watney’s snarky humor so I’m talking myself into his being plausible.

4. Matt Damon is going to be playing Mark Watney in the upcoming movie version of The MartianHow do you feel about the casting decision? 

I listened to the audio version of this book (which was spectacular, BTW) and I can TOTALLY hear Matt Damon delivering Mark’s lines. I think he’s probably more handsome than what I imagine a botanist/engineer/astronaut would look like, but it’s Hollywood. Everybody is prettier than normal and that’s just something that happens in movie versions of books.

5. How many times did you think Mark was really, truly, going to bite it? 

The suspense killed me. Every time I thought Mark was really getting somewhere something insane would happen. Something would blow up or crash or get fried or be sucked into the Martian atmosphere and ruined. I was seriously stressed out reading and didn’t believe Watney would make it several times. Of course, in the earlier catastrophes, I tried to figure out what would fill the rest of the book if they killed off Watney but holy cats I don’t know HOW he made it out alive. Fictionally. Whatever. This has all been very intense and real for me, okay?!

Sound off, Bookworms! I want to know your what you thought of The Martian. Tackle some of the questions in the comments, or if you’ve written a post on your own blog (discussion or review, anything goes!) LINK IT UP! 

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20 Responses to “The Fellowship of the Worms Blasts Off: The Martian”

  1. Sarah's Book Shelves

    HA – I love your first question! And, one of my first thoughts when I started the book was that I wanted to have a beer with this guy (maybe not a crush, but definitely a buddy at least!).

    I’m not sure how realistic it is for him to have kept his sense of humor despite his situation…but it sure made for a better story and helped make some of the scientific parts much more accessible and readable. That’s interesting that Mary Roach said there are interesting characters they send into space b/c I remember The Martian referring to Watney’s personality tests and someone stating his sense of humor/outlook on life (or something like that) was one of the big reasons he was selected for the team.

    Loved this book – despite not being a sci-fi fan.

    • Words For Worms

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, too! It’s definitely got a wider appeal than traditional sci-fi, I think, simply because it’s so realistic. I mean, it jives with all the things we know to be true about Mars and NASA and science, you know? There’s no magical alien race hiding out on Mars that can telepathically manipulate you before they die of chicken pox… (Cough cough Ray Bradbury cough.)

  2. Amy @ Read a Latte

    Hmm can I have a crush on him for the fact that Matt Damon is playing him? I agree that you can’t blame the team for leaving him there, they really thought he was dead! BUT I don’t think it was realistic for him to be AS laid back, joking around as he was, since he was almost dying like…every other page!

  3. Sarah @ Sarah Says Read

    Loooove this book! I’m a little apprehensive about Matt Damon – I’m hoping he can do the humor well. I’m not sure who I would’ve picked (probably not someone super-famous), but he doesn’t immediately fit the bill in my head.

    • Words For Worms

      I think he’ll be able to pull off the humorous bits, I really do. The narration on the audio book was great, but I really could hear Matt Damon’s voice adapting to the dialogue so I’m optimistic.

  4. Melanie Simmons (@mlsimmons)

    I so loved this book. I listened to the audio and the narration was great. I loved this “MacGuyver, Bill Nye, and, I dunno, Tina Fey” that was perfect description of Mark Watney. I love how he was able to keep his sense of humor. That is how some people deal with issues, not me, but I wish that I could. I’m so excited for the movie. I just hope that it can live up to most of my expectations.

  5. kristin @ my little heart melodies

    This was a fun book—I read it last year and linked my review above.

    1. No, no crush on Mark for me! I like the artsy types 🙂

    2. Yes, the crew was right to leave him behind. It’s just a risk of the job that they all accepted when they headed to Mars.

    3. I liked the humor up until about the midway point, then it started to fall flat to me. I just had trouble buying that he’d still be so upbeat months into his ordeal. I can’t believe that the utter isolation and bleak chances of survival wouldn’t get to a person, no matter how humorous or sarcastic they may be.

    4. I think Matt Damon will be great! “The Martian” might translate better to film (for me, at least) because…

    5. I knew he’d never bite it, because of the diary—Mark tells you himself he survived whatever challenge or obstacle he recently faced because you’re reading it after the fact, rather than you experiencing it alongside him. I’m hoping the movie will “show” more rather than “tell.”

    I had a lot of fun reading this one, though! The last section was a real nail-biter, even though I had a strong feeling he’d make it out alive. Great pick for the Fellowship of the Worms!

    • Words For Worms

      I was so worried they were going to kill him off at the last minute and just drag his body back, or that one of the other crew members would die during the rescue. Quite the ride!

  6. Charleen

    The sense of humor was one thing I kept seeing in reviews as being unrealistic, but I totally believe it. It was keeping him sane. I think if he didn’t keep his sense of humor throughout everything, he wouldn’t have survived.

    And whether or not he’d survive, like you said, the all the early mishaps he was pretty much guaranteed to get out of… but there was a big part of me wondering if he’d make it in the end. I really think I would have been satisfied with the book either way.

    • Words For Worms

      I really wish humor was my default coping mechanism. I mean, it is to an extent, but it certainly wouldn’t have bailed me out of Martian isolation crazy town.

  7. Rhian

    1. Yes to the crush. I have had a thing for clever, funny/smart-arse heroes since Hans Solo.

    2. Yes the crew were right to leave him behind, firstly because they thought he was dead, and secondly even if they weren’t sure, you don’t risk many lives to potentially save one.

    3. I don’t think Mark would have retained a sense of humour the whole time, but remember what we are reading is essentially his *public* journal. He wasn’t sure if he would survive, but he knew his words would, and I think it’s plausible that he would make his entries more upbeat to make his surviving crew mates feel better once they knew he hadn’t died immediately. In addition, after having read Colonel Hadfield’s memoir, I believe astronauts are extraordinary people and are trained to cope with truly life-or-death situations without panicking.

    4. I have no feelings one way or the other about Matt Damon’s casting. Though I will say it’s not as outrageously wrong as, say, Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher.

    5. I did believe that Mark could die almost at any time (though probably not really early on) because the account we were reading was his journal, which could have survived him by centuries. Also once other character viewpoints were introduced I thought Mark could have died and the book continue without him.

    I liked The Martian a lot, it had a similar feel to Apollo 13. Plus I love the fact that the hero uses science!

    • Words For Worms

      Haha! He does have a little bit of the Han Solo vibe, minus the showboaty bad boy bit. And I hadn’t considered that he might have been crying desperately into his potatoes- I don’t know if I’d have written that down either! UUUUUUUUUUGH I was SO MAD about Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. I’ve only ever read one Jack Reacher book, but when I heard about the casting, I was giving all the side eye I could muster to Hollywood.

  8. AMB

    I hope it’s okay that I added the link to my husband’s review (I haven’t read the book yet!). My other half really liked The Martian, saying, “If you enjoyed chemistry class (I am darn proud of winning my local Chemistry Olympiad in 9th grade), consider astrophysics to be as beautiful as art, and never quite gave up your dreams of being an astronaut, you’ll love The Martian and the intricate scientific problem-solving at the heart of the plot.”

    I’m curious to see how well it adapts to a movie form (and hopefully, I’ll have read it by the time the movie is released). It seems like it’s a details-driven novel that might not translate well to a visual screen.

    By the way, I have a crush on Mark Watney just from reading the reviews!

    • Words For Worms

      LOL, you can absolutely link up your husband’s review! I love his take on it. I actually think it will translate pretty well to film, I’m excited to see it!

  9. Beth @ Beta Librarian

    Where did the time go! I finally got up my review, although I finished the book ages ago. I definitely snorted at your description of Watney as a mix of “MacGuyver, Bill Nye, and, I dunno, Tina Fey”!

  10. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    1. I definitely had a crush on Mark Watney! There’s not much sexier than a smart, funny guy 🙂

    2&3) What you said!

    4.) I also loved the audiobook and I can hear Matt Damon delivering the jokes really well. I think his personality will fit Mark’s character well.

    5.) Because I was pretty sure the author wouldn’t kill off the main character, I wasn’t worried until the end. Then I was really worried because I would have found it very frustrating if Mark had died after everything he’d been through!

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