The Martian

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Cody
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The Martian

Post by Cody » Fri May 29, 2015 1:21 pm

Anyone read The Martian by Andy Weir? I'm intrigued by the reviews - and the possible film sounds like it could be good.

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Re: Hard sci-fi novel

Post by Disembodied » Fri May 29, 2015 3:01 pm

I've not read it, no, but you're right, the reviews do seem interesting. A rather more upbeat version of e.g. Stephen Baxter's Titan.

For sheer crazy levels of SF survivalism, you could try Adam Roberts' Jack Glass ...

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Re: Hard sci-fi novel

Post by Diziet Sma » Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:38 am

Very late to this, but yes, I've read it, and enjoyed it tremendously.
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Re: Hard sci-fi novel

Post by maik » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:11 pm

Just finished it, found the last quarter a bit repetitive of the general theme but thoroughly enjoyed it while lounging on the beach 8)

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The Martian

Post by Cody » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:00 pm

Cool trailer of the movie here.

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Re: The Martian

Post by spud42 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:25 am

that trailer looks good! might have to go see this when its out.
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Re: The Martian

Post by Diziet Sma » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:23 am

For anyone who enjoyed the story of The Martian and also has Kerbal Space Program installed, you may be interested to know that a project is underway that, when completed, will allow you to play through a Kerbalised version of the scenario and see if you can save Mark Kerman.

My (very rough) estimate suggests the project is currently about 75-80% done, so, given that this project only started about 5 weeks ago, it may well be completed by the time the movie is released next month.


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The Dunatian Crafts and Playable Save File Scenario

The idea behind The Dunatian is to have a save file to add to your game. All the ships and assets are in the file and placed where they need to be in order to take an interesting rover trip across Duna loosely based on 'The Martian', a novel by Andy Weir. At the end of the trek (assuming you make it) the Hermes will flyby on a return trip to Kerbin.

You start at the Ares 3 base abandoned by your crew, only the base of their Duna Ascent Vehicle left behind. It's not their fault, they think you are dead. It's up to you to get your assets together and take your rovers from the Ares 3 base and trek across Duna (seeing interesting sites like mountains, craters, canyons and anomalies along the way) to reach the Ares 4 Duna Ascent Vehicle. There you take off and rendezvous with the Hermes ready for your trip back to Kerbin.

I am trying to keep a common design theme around the Ares/Mars Direct missions the book is based on. It is meant to be able to be played with a stock install. Some mods will be recommended to add to the gameplay.

The project page can be found on the KSP forums, here.
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Re: The Martian

Post by spud42 » Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:49 am

Wow, that could be fun... i havent played KSP for a while now...
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Re: The Martian

Post by Diziet Sma » Tue Sep 08, 2015 3:42 pm

spud42 wrote:i havent played KSP for a while now...
If you haven't yet updated to 1.0.4, you're in for a treat..
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: The Martian

Post by Diziet Sma » Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:50 am

Well.. last night I went to see The Martian in 3D.

Ridley Scott did an excellent job, and they didn't mess too much with the story. I very much enjoyed it.

But I'm really looking forward to seeing a Director's Cut, one day.
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Re: The Martian

Post by Wolfwood » Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:46 am

I only read the novel after seeing the film, but this is my review of it (originally posted on Goodreads):

This had been waiting in my TBR pile for a long time, but I simply had to dig it up after seeing the excellent film. For the most part, the novel answered to my expectations, but it also brought forward some of the weaknesses of the film.

In short, this is a story of Mark Watney, an astronaut, who is accidentally left behind when the rest of the expedition flees a devastating storm(* and begin their journey back to Earth. Mark wakes up and finds his communications to Earth destroyed. Instead of giving up, the astronaut decides to survive until the next expedition arrives to Mars some years later. As can be expected, this can only be done by solving several problems along the way, not the least of them being making his food last for years instead of a few months.

The story is mainly told through Watney's diary entries and this choice is the greatest weakness of the story: there's no immediacy as most events have already happened by the time Watney writes them down. Also, Watney self-censors his text and never lets the reader see any sort of fear or anguish that he might be feeling. In fact, one of his biggest problem seems to be that the only music he has available is '70s disco. There's an entry where he specifically says that he's going to censor the most embarrassing entries from the journal in case anyone ever reads it.

This choice sets a certain tone to the entire novel. Instead of an anguish-ridden story of survival, we read about a relatively faceless astronaut solving problems and cracking jokes at his own failures and the danger that he faces.

There are some abrupt changes in the storytelling style when the author suddenly (from around halfway point forward) inserts a few scenes that are told by an omnipotent narrator, basically describing accidents or mistakes in a more immediate manner. This helps a little bit in making those events feel more immediate, but it is a strange change of pace from the diary theme.

Part of the story is also told from the points of view of the people working at NASA offices back on Earth and the crew on the spaceship heading back to Earth. These are written in 3rd person and here the characters also show some emotion that is lacking in Watney's diaries.

However, despite these weaknesses in the storytelling style, the story itself is extremely gripping and - even after seeing how it all ends in the movie - I was excited to see how Watney solved the problems facing him and I did enjoy the humour as well. The problems and their solutions seem very realistic and I did not notice the author resorting to imaginary solutions (but, then, I'm not an engineer). Considering the weaknesses that I wrote about above, it is surprising how well the story works.

I recommend the novel to anyone who saw and liked the film (there are enough differences - even in the way they end - to keep you entertained) and to those who like Robinson Crusoe style stories in general.

*) One thing worth noting is that the Martian atmosphere is too thin for storms like this to actually take place - but naturally the author needed some way to maroon Mark Watney on Mars.
Author of Tales from the Frontier - official Elite 4 anthology.
Author of Marcan Rayger adventures - unofficial fan-fic novellas set in the Frontier universe.

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