A NovelBook - 2014
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Tracking some of the major literary and entertainment trends of the decade We asked a group of our librarians to reflect on some of the major developments over the past decade to identify which topics and technologies had the greatest impact. Here are the highlights: One of the major trends that came up was the film and television adaptations of popular books. The George R.R. Martin book… (more)
From Library Staff
2015 Alex Award Winner. Marooned on Mars after a tragic accident, astronaut Mark Watney’s supplies are running low and he has no way to signal Earth. Fortunately Mark can grow space potatoes and has a bold plan to escape the Red Planet.
Mark Watney was nearly killed by a dust storm on Mars and was abandoned by his crew who thought him dead. Now he's all alone with no way of letting Earth know he's alive, which doesn't matter because his supplies would run out before they'd get there. Either way, the environment or human error wi... Read More »
From the critics
AgeAdd Age Suitability
black_penguin_774 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over
librarybox thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 16 and 50
QuotesAdd a Quote
"Once I'd shut everything down, the interior of the Hab [living unit] was eerily silent. I'd spent 449 sols [Mars days] listening to its heaters, vents, and fans. But now it was dead quiet. It was a creepy kind of quiet that's hard to describe. I've been away from the noises of the Hab before, but always in a rover or an EVA suit, both of which have noisy machinery of their own. But now there was nothing. I never realized how utterly silent Mars is. It's a desert world with practically no atmosphere to convey sound. i could hear my own heartbeat." (p. 284)
"He must rely on his own resourcefulness to survive. He begins a log of his experiences. His philosophy is to "work the problem", solving each challenge in turn as it confronts him."
“ “What must it be like?” He pondered. “He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”
Log entry: Sol 61
How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”
Yes, of course of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped.
You know what? "kilowatt-hours per sol" is a pain in the ass to say. I'm gonna invent a new scientific name. one kilowatt-hour per sol is...it can be anything...um...I suck at this...I'll call it a "pirate-ninja"."
As with most of life's problems, this can be solved with a box of pure radiation.
"Six days into what should be the greatest two months of my life, and it's turned into a nightmare." - Mark Watney
SEARCHING FOR TELEMETRY SIGNAL . . .
SEARCHING FOR TELEMETRY SIGNAL . . .
SEARCHING FOR TELEMETRY SIGNAL . . .
SIGNAL ACQUIRED . . .
The cast in space:
“Beck said (to sister Amy.) “Everyone has multiple roles. I’m the doctor, the biologist, and the EVA specialist. Commander Lewis is our geologist. Johanssen is the sysop and reactor tech. And so on”
How about that good-looking guy … Martinez?” Amy asked. “What does he do?”
“He pilots the MDV and MAV.” Beck said. “He’s also married with a kid, you lecherous homewrecker.”
“Ah well How about Watney? What did he do?”
“He’s our botanist and engineer. And don’t talk about him in the past tense.”
“Engineer? Like Scotty?”
“Kind of.” Beck said. “He fixes stuff.”
“I bet that’s coming in handy now.”
“Yeah, no shite.”
More Dilbert-like humor:
They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially ‘colonised’ it. So technically, I colonised Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!
I need to ask myself, 'What would an Apollo astronaut do?' He'd drink three whiskey sours, drive his Corvette to the launchpad, then fly to the moon in a command module smaller than my Rover. Man those guys were cool.
Me: “This is obviously a clog. How about I take it apart and check the internal tubing?”
NASA: (after five hours of deliberation) “No. You’ll freak it up and die.” So I took it apart.
“How did I end up in this situation? I’m the district sales manager of a napkin factory. Why is my daughter in space?”
Dilbert-like humor (2 of 3):
People have been using human waste as fertilizer for centuries. It’s even got a pleasant name: “night soil.” … My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain.
The worst moments in life are heralded by small observations. The tiny lump on your side that wasn’t there before Coming home to your wife and seeing two wineglasses in the sink. Anytime you hear “We interrupt this program…”
I did turn the heat back on (I’m not insane), … Waking up to frigid weather felt surprisingly nostalgic. I grew up in Chicago, after all.
The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.
I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. First, get some hot water, then add nothin’.
Dilbert-like humor (3 of 3):
WATNEY: Look! A pair of boobs! -> (.Y.)
Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape, like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can’t improve on duct tape.
“Venkat’s got a doctorate in physics, Tim,” Bruce said. “You don’t need to explain transmission time to him.”
Tim shrugged. “You can never tell with managers.”
It’s a strange feeling. Everywhere I go, I’m the first. Step outside the rover? First guy ever to be there! Climb a hill? First guy to climb that hill! Kick a rock: That rock hadn't moved in a million years!
“How are our monkeys?” “The children are fine.” She smiled.
If I can’t trust NASA, who can I trust?
I got really bored, so I decided to pick a theme song! … There are plenty of great candidates: “Life on Mars?” by David Bowie, “Rocket Man” by Elton John, “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan.
But I settled on “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.
Frightening or Intense Scenes: Definitely full of action and very intense.
Coarse Language: The main character isn’t at all shy to express his anger through profanity.
Coarse Language: F-Bomb on the 4th word. But it definitely is not alone.
Coarse Language: The first word of the book is an expletive and the author doesn't shy away, though they aren't pervasive
SummaryAdd a Summary
When a disastrous dust storm ruins the first manned mission to Mars, the crew assumes botanist Mark Watney is dead and leaves him behind as they flee the planet. After Watney regains consciousness, returns to base, and treats his own wounds, he must figure out how to survive without being able to communicate with anyone on Earth. He soon figures out how to generate water and grow his own food, which will allow him to survive until the next crew arrives in 4 years.
Back on Earth, NASA discovers Watney is alive through satellite images and begins developing a plan to rescue him. Watney builds a solar-powered rover in hopes of traveling to the next landing site (it also allows him to contact NASA), but disaster strikes when his base is damaged and his crops die. This forces NASA to find a quicker solution involving the return of his crew, but the plan is dangerous for both Watney and the other members of the Ares 3. Troubles continue to plague Watney, but thanks to his constant ingenuity, the rescue is ultimately a success.
NASA has the ability to send maned spacecraft to Mars and back, unfortunately one of the astronauts gets left behind and is mistaken for dead. Watney, now stranded on a hostile planet with limited resources attempts to make contact with NASA while faced with starvation, mechanical failure and any number of things that could kill him.