Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Martian: A Novel

by Andy Weir
In his novel, The Martian, Andy Weir, reimagines Robinson Crusoe stranded on Mars, instead of some much more hospitable island in Earth's seas (and atmosphere). His protagonist's survival is unlikely, but Nick Watney is determined and resourceful. His struggles just to last the first few days after the storm that left him in this circumstance exemplify his courage and single-minded struggle to live, even though in the back of his mind he may think his long-term chances are hopeless.

The Martian is the first published novel by Weir. It was originally self-published in 2011 after which Crown Publishing purchased the rights and re-released it in 2014.

According to Wikipedia, having been rebuffed by literary agents when trying to get prior books published, Weir decided to put the book online in serial format one chapter at a time for free at his website. At the request of fans he made an Amazon Kindle version available through at 99 cents (the minimum he could set the price). The Kindle edition rose to the top of Amazon's list of best-selling science-fiction titles, where it sold 35,000 copies in three months, more than had previously downloaded it for free. This garnered the attention of publishers: Podium Publishing, an audiobook publisher, signed for the audiobook rights in January 2013. Weir sold the print rights to Crown in March 2013 for six figures.

The Ridley Scott directed film is scheduled to be released on November 25, 2015 in 3D, and stars Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, with Michael Peña, Kristen Wiig and Jeff Daniels in supporting roles.

In other words, the dream scenario for all you self-published authors out there.

My opinion is that the story will make a better film than a novel, unless, like Andy Weir, you're "a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight." This is not say I didn't enjoy the novel -- I did. But it is replete with technical detail on how to survive in Mar's harsh environment, and, at times, all this 'geeky stuff" became tedious. A picture is worth a thousand words, and that's what we'll see in the film.
Wadi Rum, Jordan, location for the filming of The Martian

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