by Andy Weir
Crown, 2014. 369 pgs. Science Fiction
When Mark Watney's crew leaves him behind on Mars because they think he is dead, he must figure out how to survive until the next Mars mission shows up four years' hence. Chances of living that long and being rescued? Slim to none. But he sets about it. A botanist, he first figures out how to create arable soil in which to grow potatoes, and then has to figure out how to water his crop. Explosions, habitat breaches, and sandstorms, among many other things, keep Mark's life interesting--perhaps hardest to take is the relentless supply of 70s TV episodes stored on his commander's abandoned data stick. Weir's narrative takes several surprising turns which I will keep to myself, but if you think you will tire of Watney's Robinson Crusoe life, keep going. There is much more to be had in this old-fashioned, deeply satisfying sci-fi thriller.