i like to think that i’ve read a considerable amount of science fiction in my life.
two years ago, i spent an entire week of school evenings devouring the lunar chronicles and coming out the other end slightly angry because the hype lied and i could think up about 38163 better uses of my time. i’ve read three of the five books since and i’m wholly convinced it’s actually very lame (OK except maybe fairest. villain backstories are tragically irresistible even to fabulous beings (me) and i’m weak like that) (BUT SECRETS)
earlier this year, i borrowed the entirety of the starbound trilogy from the library and spent weeks very patiently dragging myself and my lone existing brain cell through the mess. i succeeded in completing (as a tribute to my ever-expanding tolerance) two of the three books and spent about 288% of my time screeching at the characters (in my defence, they were dumb people and seemed to have nothing better to do in life than fall in love with the first person who looked their way while there were entire species at risk right next door because WHAT THE HELL) (ok so look,,, i kind of always assumed that people wouldn’t spend all their time deciding between playing the romeo-and-juliets of the modern world who kiss the enemy instead of being the mad scientists who are utterly obsessed with interplanetary travel. because DUDE you have magic JUST LYING AROUND EVERYWHERE) (people are so dumb)
(also i want to be these people) (BECAUSE INTERPLANETARY TRAVEL OKAY)
i’ve read the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy and am mildly obsessed.
i read a long long sleep and accidentally burned dinner because i was too busy thinking about it.
i spent all my free time a year ago devouring the city of shattered light which was a weird mesh of fantasy and sci-fi and guns and blood and amazingness and i kind of absolutely loved it.
and i’ve read the hunger games which is really more dystopia if you get into the smol details (BUT WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THAT, JUNIE) so maybe that doesn’t count. except it also has cool sci-fi-y stuff. SO I THINK IT COUNTS.
anyway. point is, i’m not a complete foreigner to science fiction. i’m not a permanent resident or anything, BUT I’VE VISITED PRETTY OFTEN. and i’ve been disappointed for most of those visits (SHH I STILL LOVE YOU SHATTERED LIGHT)
but maybe if every single science fiction book ever written was a little like the martian, i would be a science-fiction devourer who dreamt of space and the multiverse and spent all her free time plotting to live long enough to have the promise of a time machine come to life (so that i could continue said mission of living forever).
i did a lot of random and out-of-the-mere-ordinary things in the dawn of the much-hated lockdown. one of them was listening to people talk about books on these things pre-lockdown-anoushka didn’t know of, called podcasts. (i also started this gremlin blog and read my first ever leigh bardugo BUT ALL OF THAT’S BESIDE THE POINT RIGHT NOW) (focus, bob)
a randomly-chosen-after-hours-of-deliberation book-podcast was the first time i ever heard of the martian. and they said it was a little bit funny.
the second time i heard of it was over a lunch-time conversation when my dad talked about it and couldn’t remember it’s name and i very helpfully supplied.
the third time was when my sister suggested we watch the movie and i vehemently protested BECAUSE I NEEDED TO STAY TRUE TO MY BOOKWORM ROOTS AND NOT GET MYSELF ACCIDENTALLY KICKED OUT OF THE BLOGOSPHERE FOR WATCHING A MOVIE WITHOUT READING THE BOOK FIRST, GODDAMMIT.
that was how the world found me sleep-deprived and a little bit obsessed on a tuesday morning when i should’ve been studying but was smashing keys on the keyboard and screaming about this science fiction book that broke rules and blew my mind (which is how you find yourself saying hi to me of the present)
welcome to the martian by andy weir.
it’s a weird mesh of pages and words and more pages that houses the story of mark watney – nasa astronaut, mechanical engineer, botanist – as he accidentally gets left behind on mars, to certain death (by starvation, loneliness, boredom, isolation, THERE’S SO MANY WAYS) and the slightly mindblowing legacy of being the first person to die on a planet that isn’t blue or green or covered by water.
but he’s also kind of a genius so he cackles and plots his travels back to earth and spends his free time messing with science and doing all kinds of crazy shit (THAT MUST NOT BE REPLICATED AT HOME FOR FEAR OF BLOWING UP THE WORLD, KIDS) like creating water from scratch and tranforming his living quarters into a potato farm and planning to eat them for the rest of his life. or something like that.
this was so science-y and technical and cool. i loved it so much i’ve forgotten how to write. so excuse my thoughts who are incoherent things that no mortal can ever completely decipher. (because they’d be sucked into a blackhole of confusion and chaos and words flying around if they tried. this also happens to be how my brain looks)
but i refuse to be bested (I AM QUEEN AND YOU SHALL BOW) so here’s all the incoherence anyway. but in bullet point form (because lists are fabulous things).
- I LOVE MARK WATNEY.
- this starts off so nice and fun and addicting and insane and WOW and it’s still nice and addicting and wow 50% through with lots of swearing and declarations of ‘oh shit i’m doomed’ and evil plotting and it’s told through mark watney’s logs which are insanely entertaining.
- but then it’s also taken over by third-person narration of the goings-on at nasa? said narration is very dry and disconnected and boring and this book would have been INCREDIBLY better without it, which is SAD because then it’s presence makes no sense to begin with??? WHY WAS IT HERE IF THE EXTRA WORDS DIDN’T HELP THE BOOK AND HIJACKED MORE OF MY SLEEP. (#offWithYourHead)
- weir also decided it’d be nice if they added in useless narration about mars and things and rocks and sand slipping and communication crashing and it’s. VERY WEIRD. DON’T LIKE. apparently the editors didn’t think so though, because they APPROVED. (#theDumbHumans)
- sometimes the book shifts its focus to the crew of the beloved spaceship that accompanied watney on the mars mission but then left him behind for dead (#bigOOPS) which might have been interesting to watch unfold. if they weren’t all cardboard cutouts lacking personality. (WHY DO BOOKS DO THIS i’m so mad) everyone lacks any sort of depth whatsoever i literally couldn’t tell you who was who to save my life. WHICH SUCKS. (i very passionately REFUSE to die because of them, IDIOTIC IMBECILES)
- BUT WATNEY’S A GENIUS DID I MENTION THAT.
- i spent 2567% of this reading experience screaming at anyone who’d listen about how the world must GIVE THAT DAMN GENIUS AN AWARD and am convinced nasa’s the idiot in this situation BECAUSE WOW THE DEPICTIONS KIND OF MAKE IT SEEM LIKE TORTURE. (which is weird because space isn’t supposed to be boring okay. but GOSH i hate venkat and teddy and mitch and what’s-her-name and basically everyone else so much IT’S INSANE WHO ALLOWED THIS)
- watney makes water out of hydrazine from rocket fuel and burns the hydrogen and mixes it with oxygen AND OHMYGOSH I SCREAMED.
- (this sounds like so much fun i want to do it someday)
- (or, you know. maybe i’d start with scouring the world for someone to do it for me so that i can replicate it with full guarantee that i won’t accidentally blow up the planet)
- i also want to watch the movie adaptation and possibly fall in love with it to the point of obsession.
- (BECAUSE SEE I CAN’T THINK OF A SINGLE THING IN THIS WORLD THAT’D CURRENTLY GIVE ME MORE JOY THAN GETTING TO SEE EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK ON THE SCREEN LIKE IT’S REAL LIFE)
- maybe i should just greedily eat up every single piece of literature i can find about mars and convince myself that’s the way to a goodreads avergae-rating that doesn’t lurk in the lowly two-stars every single frickin year (because if anyone checked my goodreads ratings and graded me at lifed on that, i’d fail so miserably IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY ANYMORE)
- but i also want to someday understand enough physics to fully compherend every single event that took place in the entirety of this book.
- (BECAUSE THAT SEEMS LIKE SUCH A COOL THING TO DO)
- OH AND. DID I MENTION THAT WATNEY’S ENTRIES ARE HILARIOUS?
- because they are. lots of people on goodreads say it’s very lame humor so i’m currently wondering if being entertained by it makes me lame too??
- but like,,, THAT WAS MY KIND OF HUMOR OKAY. i loved it. it was fabulous. and amazing and perfect.
- we thus conclude that this book wasn’t perfect but it came really REALLY close at some points AND I LOVE IT.
(i think we can call this a success)
GIMME EVERY SINGLE SCIENCE FICTION BOOK YOU’VE EVER READ BECAUSE I’M CURRENTLY ON A MISSION TO CONQUER THE WORLD.
but in slightly more civilized (but still screamy because i can’t speak at normal volumes) speech, HAVE YOU READ THE MARTIAN?? have you read the lunar chronicles and been disappointed too?? DO YOU THINK ANDY WEIR’S A GENIUS?? have you ever tried making water from scratch and destroyed the universe?? HAVE YOU ACCIDENTALLY BLOWN UP THE WORLD??
also. in graver importance: GIMME EVERY SINGLE SCIENCE FICTION BOOK YOU’VE EVER READ BECAUSE I’M CURRENTLY ON A MISSION TO CONQUER THE WORLD.