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August book of the month -The Martian by Andy Weir

Discussion in 'Books' started by Kampf Trinker, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Kampf Trinker

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    With the poll having been closed this is our next book. Looks like an interesting change of genre.

    Apparently there is a movie set to come out this October.
     
  2. Nettdata

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    In case you've missed the trailer:



    And this pretty well sums it up:

    [​IMG]

    I've read the book in the past, but I'm now motivated to re-read it over the next week or so.
     
  3. Nettdata

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    In case you've missed the trailer:



    And this pretty well sums it up:

    [​IMG]

    I've read the book in the past, but I'm now motivated to re-read it over the next week or so.
     
  4. voltronman

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    The first half of this book was free to download on a Southwest flight I was on a couple of weeks ago. I really enjoyed it. I need to renew my library card and finish reading it. That comic is great, and is surprisingly accurate.
     
  5. Whothehell

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  6. Gravy

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    I finished this book a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm only saying this as a few of you might not be "science people" and are worried that it will be over your head. I'm not a science person, and a lot of it was surely over my head, but that didn't take away from the book much, if at all. The main character is hilarious, and he draws you in almost immediately.
     
  7. mya

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    DItto to what Gravy said. I actually "read" it on Audible. With other books that rambled on and on with technical topics that I had little interest in (hello Goldfinch) I would find myself tuning out completely. With this one, I was seriously interested. How many potatoes CAN you grow with nutrient free Mars soil? I don't know, let me listen and find out. I give all credit to that to the development of the main character. Everything he does is twinged with humor so you can't help but care. I will be interested to hear other's opinions.
     
  8. Whothehell

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    Supposedly, he did a TON of research to make sure the science in the book was at least somewhat plausible, and was already a space geek to begin with. When reading it, it definitely doesn't feel like I have to make concessions for the plot to be believable. I don't have a strong enough understanding of astrophysics to speak to whether any of that is close to reality, but I'm a computer programmer and when he was explaining the hack to turn Pathfinder into an Earth to Mars IM machine I wasn't screaming "THAT WOULDN'T WORK!!!" like is often the case with the IT portrayal in other books/movies and the like.

    It reminds me of when Alex Garland was talking about his movie Ex Machina. He describes it as 5 minutes in the future, meaning the technology isn't quite there yet, but if in a year Google announced "We can do this now" it wouldn't be totally insane.

    The only thing that jumped out at me was that I once heard Chris Hadfield talk about how solar power on Mars wouldn't be plausible because there is way too much dust, and that the atmosphere is too thin for a parachute assisted landing. But doesn't the Mars rover currently use solar panels?
     
  9. Nettdata

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    My understanding is that the power requirement for the Rover is minimal enough so that the amount of solar panels required to harvest the energy is feasible, but the power requirements for a manned station would mean you'd have to bring way, way more panels than are feasible, at least with current panel efficiencies.

    And the parachute did a bit of work on the landing, but in the end they had to land it with thrusters.

    This is a very interesting video that combines a 3-d simulation with the live footage of the landing. If you start at about 6 minutes in, you can see where it separates from the parachute and lands on thruster.

     
  10. Whothehell

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    Still a safer bet than sending it to Phili.
     
  11. Kampf Trinker

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    Finished the book today and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't read a lot of science fiction, partially because they usually don't come with all the technical details this one did. No, I didn't really understand all of it either, but it was damn interesting and seemed to be plausible.

    I'll definitely be watching the movie, but I wish it wasn't Matt Damon playing Watney. I can't get the terribleness of him in Elysium out of my head. At least the script for this one will be a lot better.
     
  12. Nettdata

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    I'm going to cut him some major slack for Elysium, because even the director, Neil Blomkamp, says it was shit, and not at all the movie he wanted to make... it wasn't the story he wanted to tell.

    http://uproxx.com/movies/2015/02/neill-blomkamp-elysium-alien/

    Hell, I still remember hearing that Damon was going to be playing Bourne in the first movie, and thought "no fucking way, what are they thinking", and he killed it.
     
  13. Kampf Trinker

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    I didn't know the director owned up to what a shit fest that script was. He pretty much nailed it too. Cool design, cool premise, good visiuals - terrible, terrible script. The way the action was choreographed was pretty bad too.

    Shortly after the movie came out I remember a quote from him saying, "This isn't science fiction, this is happening now." I mean, magic machines that heal any and everything instantly? Yeah, great fucking parallel to the real world problems of health care and immigration.
     
  14. Bob the Builder

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    I thought this book was great. Like others, I imagined the endless detail of breaking/fixing things would grow tiresome, but somehow it worked and was believable. The humor was well-timed and not over the top or forced and I cared about the main character despite knowing nothing about his life. I really enjoyed how focused on surviving he was; not letting self pity overwhelm his ability to think.
     
  15. Nettdata

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    I lent my copy of the book to my neighbour's kid a few weeks ago when we were talking about the movie, and ordered a new copy for myself last week... just haven't had time to read it again since it was delivered.

    I guess it's too late now.
     
  16. jrm

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    I'm way late to this discussion but I thought The Martian was the worst book I've read this year. The main character talks like a fifteen year old nerdy schoolboy on a internet messageboard (i.e. like I did twenty years ago). I was surprised by the complete lack of psychological insight or descriptions of the landscape of Mars. If someone told me they had been stranded on Mars my first two questions would be "What is Mars like?" and "Did you not go crazy alone on another planet thinking you would die?". The diary format explains to a degree why those questions are barely broached and I've since read that the teenage humour is quite realistic for Astronauts but realism doesn't necessarily equate to a good read. The book did nothing for me emotionally, had no character development and I was looking forward to the end for the wrong reasons. Not for me, but I get why others like it.