Surviving Space

You guys.

Space is scary. Like, seriously, seriously scary. Basically, every single thing about space is designed specifically to kill you.

Which is why I love it so much.

Recently there've been two things about surviving space that I've absolutely loved. The first is a movie, the second a book, and if you're as fascinated with the terrifying void of the universe that cares nothing about your survival as I am, then definitely check both of these wonderful works out!

The first is the movie Gravity, which our own Lissa Price spoke about before, and which I reviewed on my own blog (both spoiler-free). I won't rehash everything we've already discussed (although can I get a shout out for totally knowing that Gravity would sweep the Oscars?), but I did want to remind everyone of some of my favorite parts of the movie.

Namely: surviving space.

This is the part of the movie that shines. Above the (small) personal story of the main character of the movie, the story is really about the struggle to survive and even if one should try to survive. There's a moment when Sandra Bullock's character contemplates just giving up, and I don't think anyone would argue with her that it would be, by far, the easiest option.

Surviving space requires so much more--more effort, more resources, more determination--more everything just to survive.

And that is something author Andy Weir nailed in his book, The Martian

This book was an amazing find for me because not only did I love it, but so did my husband. It's the very definition of "cross-over"--a book that would appeal to YA and adult readers, to male and female readers.

The story follows Mark Watney, a member of a mission to Mars from NASA. After an unfortunate series of invents that caused him to be wounded (and presumed dead) during a dust storm on the surface of Mars, his crew leaves. But...Watney is very much alive. And now he has to find a way to survive living on Mars until the next mission arrives, several years in the future.

The thing that blew me away with this book is how very, very possible it all was. It's clear that Weir is a mastermind plotter and that he did his research--if the blurb from space-hero Commander Hadfield doesn't convince you of that, you need only read the pages to see that everything is plausible. The science and math is all right there on the page for you--although I want to be clear that if you're not a science/math person (like me!) this book is still wonderful.

The survival aspect of The Martian is where Weir really shines. Everything that could go wrong, does, but at each twist and turn, Watney finds a method to survive. From explosive decompress to starvation, Watney will not give up on life.

For me, the most important factors of the novel were in the development of Watney's psychology on being the only person on the barren surface of a planet and the psychology of a world helplessly watching him try to survive and being utterly unable to. The ultimate conclusion of the novel was nail-bittingly terrifying, and I honestly had no idea what would happen.

If you love space or if you're terrified of space, you should absolutely check out this amazing novel!


Reid Kemper said...

I haven't watched Gravity or read The Martian yet, but am interested in doing so. Thanks!

Lenore Appelhans said...


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