Posted by: blueisthenewpink | Feb 24, 2016

Let’s read… The Martian – in English! (Part II)


#33 Andy Weir: The Martian (Del Rey, 2014)

Wooow, this book was so exciting I almost forgot to breathe towards the end! Now I try to convince everyone I meet to read it. I love it! You won’t believe me if I go on like this but space stuff is really not my thing. Sci-fi isn’t, either. I loved The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because of the humour and man, does this book have it, too! (From now on, everyone will have a roll of duct tape in their emergency kits, next to the towel, right?) It is so f.cking brilliantly written I don’t even mind the minor hiccups anymore. Ok, I will go bitching about them after the spoiler warning but they couldn’t ruin the experience after all. This book was screaming for a movie adaptation. I’m not surprised they made it. I really want to watch it now, so here I come for a big disappointment!

(Things got a bit long so I published this as a series. Part I was mainly about the translation’s issues. This is Part II with a focus on the English book, and Part III is reserved for the movie.)

I was not happy with the Hungarian translation but there are a few inconsistencies in the original book as well, I think. Please, feel free to correct me if I am mistaken.

[SPOILER alert]

For instance, he starts to ration his food early on (and I was lost in the Maths already but I eventually managed to understand – thanks, Hubby!). He is eating 3/4 portions, then says “Every time I finish a meal, the leftovers go to the compost bucket.”(p.13). What leftovers? I thought he was eating less than a normal meal to make the reserves last longer. How can there be any leftovers?

Additionally, converting sols to days when counting food portions seems pointless as a sol is only 39 minutes longer than an Earth day and he lives by the Martian day rhythm anyway. Also, why did he eat all the food packets first and started the potatoes afterwards? I thought he would try to reserve as many packets as possible for the ride because they were lighter. He wouldn’t be so fed up with potatoes either.

On the field trip, why was he shaving? Why on Earth would he do that? On Mars. Why would he waste electricity? And where did all the facial hair go?

Also, why would Martinez insist on bringing a wooden cross and why would NASA let him do it, when he could have a small pendant with him? Or rosary beads, you know. Not necessarily made of wood.

I know I’m ruining my own experience but I really hate inconsistencies. When he starts making water, it gets extremely hot and he says there is “Nothing to be done about the heat. There’s actually no air-conditioning in the Hab. Mars is cold. Getting rid of excess heat isn’t something we expected to deal with.” (p.34). Then, only a few pages later, he says “I can lower the Hab temperature to 1 °C” (p.40). How? Am I missing something here?

Otherwise, it is a great book. I started reading it because I liked the style and there was a recommendation by Colonel Hadfield on the back cover. He said all the science was correct and he couldn’t put the book down. I love its sense of humour, it’s fast and exciting, and I didn’t want to put it down either. It was screaming for a movie to be made, the scenes were so cinemaesque (is that a word?). The suspense with the fabric, for instance, was extraordinarily well built. I loved all the punctuation of scenes, especially at the flyby, but my absolute favourite was the Iris probe’s launch. It felt like watching a movie, and a really good one.

The characters are thoroughly portrayed, they are deep and detailed. Their personal qualities are revealed through their actions, not through description. I loved how Teddy was squaring the notes, the passionate outbursts of Mitch, the hillarious sarcasm of Mark, the dirty mouth of Annie, the great leadership qualities of Lewis, etc. Actually, they are all quite familiar characters. And we love them! (I do.)

Hell yeah I’m a botanist! Fear my botany powers! (p.15)

I loved how Mark’s ability to communicate with Earth was reflected in what the reader was let know. And how he made up a new unit of measurement for ‘kilowatt-hours per sol’, and he did use ‘pirate-ninja’ afterwards! (In case you wondered, yes, this book is yet another example of how it can be absolutely justified to write about bodily fluids! See?) Somehow, his style felt out of place when talking to the crew (especially the female members), which is strange because that was supposed to be the original setup. Maybe it was only me.

“Fuck,” Annie said, thoughtfully. (p. 58)

I was also kind of missing him reach Earth and kissing it, as they still had a long, dangerous journey ahead of them. On the other hand, only a Hollywood movie needs that. Let’s see how badly they murdered the book…


  1. […] a bit long so I published this as a series. Part I was mainly about the translation’s issues. Part II focused on the English book, and this is Part III, the […]


  2. […] so I will publish this as a series. This is Part I, mainly about the translation’s issues. Part II will focus on the English book, and Part III is for the […]


  3. […] In space, water is an issue. The drops floating on ISS when an astronaut wants to drink or brush his teeth, or a complicated way to produce water for growing crops on Mars. […]


  4. […] The Martian! I loved it! (Read more about it here.) […]


  5. […] Andy Weir: The Martian […]


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