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Ryan's August 2015 pick
The Martian, by Andy Weir
Astronaut Botanist Mark Watney is on a mission to Mars to collect dirt samples, when there's a terrible storm and subsequent accident, and his crew, thinking him dead, leaves him behind. It's not their fault really: he was impaled, his life readings zeroed out, and if they didn't get off the planet in the next 10 seconds, they'd all die. Except, he isn't dead, and now he's stranded on Mars. Alone. Luckily for him, the crew left behind most of their supplies in their urgent escape. Now Mark has to find a way to make those supplies last until he can be rescued. Oh, there's another catch. Everyone thinks he's dead, so there's no rescue mission. Astronaut Botanist Mark Watney is in a tough spot.
The Martian by Andy Weir is basically MacGyver in space. It's incredible. The story is relayed to us via Mark Watney's logs journaling his survival, so the science is sound, but delivered in laymen's terms. Watney is sarcastic and dry and hilarious, and it's nearly impossible to put this book down once you've started it.
Make sure you read The Martian before the movie (starring Matt Damon as Mark Watney) comes out this October!
“This taut, cerebral debut thriller introduces readers to the only kind of alien we have yet to encounter: ourselves. Astronaut Mark Watney is mistakenly left for dead on Mars when his mission companions flee a violent wind storm. His mental and physical struggles to survive are a crash course in botany, mechanics, and the will to endure. This is the compelling space saga that you didn't know you had been waiting for!”
— Zack Ruskin, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA
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