The Martian (Discussion)

Very excited today to be discussing our April book selection, The Martian! Did you get a chance to read it? I’ve got 3 questions below, and Lisa’s got some as well over on her blog. Feel free to discuss any or all of the questions in the comment section or link-up your post at the bottom. Lisa and I are sharing the same link-up, so you don’t have to enter on both blogs. The linky will close in a week. Alright, let’s get started!

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I really enjoyed The Martian. I’m giving it a 4/5 stars only because I wasn’t a fan of the depth he went into when explaining the science of his mission. I super loved Mark Watney and his dry sense of humor as well as Andy Weir’s development of the characters and settings.

And now, for the discussion. Before I begin, I’ll remind you that there may be spoilers ahead. Also, feel free to use my questions as jumping points. Ask your own questions and start your own discussions. I’ll be responding to comments in the comment section, and you’ll get an email when I (or anyone else) does.

1. There’s a lot of science in how Mark fights to survive – did you find that fascinating or challenging?

I skimmed a large portion of the detailed science throughout the book. When Mark would think out loud on how to grow the potatoes or repair the Hab, I lost interest. I’m sure the chemistry/botany/physics aspect of the story is very interesting to some but I enjoyed his humor throughout the story the most. I loved the banter and sarcasm that so many of the NASA characters had.

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2. Who knew potatoes, duct tape, and seventies reruns were the key to space survival? How does each of these items represent aspects of Mark’s character that help him survive?

I love that these mundane objects that we take for granted, here on Earth, were critical in Mark’s survival. Learning how to mass grow potatoes with the little resources he had was genius. Duct tape fixes everything (I have a book with the same title). The fact that Mark HATED 70s TV and disco but grew to love it was so funny to me. I’m sure that’s how I would be if I was stuck with Country music. I would long for the company of fellow Earthlings and grasp onto humanity in any way I could. Watching re-runs helped Mark keep his mind away from all the hopelessness and despair around him.

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3. How is Mark’s sense of humor as much a survival skill as his knowledge of botany? Do you have a favorite funny line of his?

Mark (and therfore Andy Weir) is hilarious! I loved his dry sense of humor and that his biggest personality trait was to keep himself and other’s laughing. I laughed out loud throughout the book, so I’m just going to put down a few of my favorite lines:

  • “Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”
  • “[11:49] JPL: What we can see of your planned cut looks good. We’re assuming the other side is identical. You’re cleared to start drilling. [12:07] Watney: That’s what she said. [12:25] JPL: Seriously, Mark? Seriously?”
  • “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.”
  • “I tested the brackets by hitting them with rocks. This kind of sophistication is what we interplanetary scientists are known for.”

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Now, it’s your turn! Answer any or all of the questions in the comment section below. Ask questions of your own. Or, link-up a blog post with your review and/or the answers to these questions. Also be sure to check out Lisa’s discussion questions on her blog. We’re sharing the same linky, so no need to link-up on both blogs.


Remember our May selection is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. I’m almost done with Mindy’s book already! I’ve been listening to her read the audio version and I’m so glad. It’s really funny to hear her voice telling the story. We’ll be discussing Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? on May 29th.

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2 thoughts on “The Martian (Discussion)

  1. First off, we’re totally hitting it out of the park with our book choices ;). Loved Wonder and LOVED LOVED this book. As you can read from my review, (Question 1) I totally appreciate the details even if I skimmed them. They added validity to the plot, which as an engineer, I’d need in a book like this. (Question 2) Mark was a great botanist, engineer, and humorous, which all helped him survive on Mars. Who else would sacrifice his entire floor to dirt and homemade manure? His engineering skills helped him tremendously because he was a great problem solver, thinking on his feet (or back LOL) a lot. As for the 70s reruns, I read that Andy grew up with those shows, that’s why he threw them in there. If I wrote it, it’d be reruns of Friends and ER ;). (Question 3) My favorite lines are about the duct tape and that exchange with NASA where they called him a d**k. LOL on that Amazon review!

    1. Haha! I agree! We’ve been enjoying the books we’ve selected so far! That’s cool that Andy threw those shows in because he grew up with them! Mine would have been Home Improvement and Boy Meets World! 🙂

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