Book / Art Pairing: The Martian, Andy Weir

Mark Watney was left for dead on Mars by the rest of his crew, but he’s alive after all. The next Mars mission won’t reach Mars for four years. He has to figure out a way to survive until then.

I don’t know what to add to what’s already been said about Andy Weir’s The Martian. It’s great fun to watch its protagonist encounter obstacles and figure out clever science ways to surmount them. For more, I refer you to the Tor.com review that convinced me to read it and the AV Club review that reminded me to add it to my TBR list.

I disagree with the Tor reviewer, incidentally, that Mark’s too cheerful to be real. Legal Sister and my father would be exactly this cheerful if they were space engineers in this situation. They like to feel like pioneering survivor people. By contrast, if I were left for dead on Mars, I’d OD on the morphine in the space station the first day and call it quits, because y’all, I am lazy. And pessimistic.

(Frankly, it was kind of irresponsible of NASA to hire someone like me in the first place.)

For my art pairing, I’m highlighting Puerto Rican artist Eric Tabales’s painting The Fall of Phaeton. Like Phaeton, Mark Watney and his team dare to fling themselves up to the sky in a fiery chariot, and Watney is the unlucky one who falls back to the ground. Of course, poor Phaeton gets smote by Zeus, whereas Mark is able to bring his considerable ingenuity to bear on the problem of survival. I love the angle of Phaeton’s body as he falls here — you can see he wasn’t expecting anything like this.

The Fall of Phaeton

This is part of a gorgeous series called Myths and Gods, the rest of which you can check out at Tabales’s website. I particularly like Endymion and Hades. (No Athena though! What gives? I love my girl Athena, despite her unkindness to Troy.)

15 thoughts on “Book / Art Pairing: The Martian, Andy Weir

  1. I still need to finish this book! I listened to the first half and didn’t get a chance to listen to the next half. Since it’s been more than two weeks now since I listened, I am now thinking of reading the book. Mark’s cheerfulness is certainly the high point of this book!

  2. I need to read this to compare it to The Explorer. The guy in that book was not cheerful, and it was irresponsible to hire him. As I think we discussed in my post on that book, I’d not enjoy being the explorer type either. I’m just optimistic enough that I wouldn’t OD on morphine the first day, but it would happen eventually. I think I’d be delusional enough about my chances to wait until the dying part got unpleasant. (I might not be so different from the guy in The Explorer, actually.)

  3. I feel like so many people read this book and enjoy it and even though I read the reviews of it all the time, I always see it and then wonder, “hmm, I do not remember what this is about.” I think seeing your painting pairing will probably keep it in mind a little longer, so thank you!

    And I totes agree. If I were left for dead on Mars, I would call it a day pretty quickly.

  4. Great choice! I am also lazy and pessimistic that’s why I liked Mark. You’d have to be optimistic to survive that!

  5. I think it would be hard to be too pessimistic if you’d already been left for dead. That reminds me of an expression for being “all in” from the movie American Hustle–you’d have to start “from the feet up.”

  6. I love the artwork you picked, Jenny. I can’t stop staring at it.

    I’m with you on being lazy and pessimistic. I’d never survive in space.

  7. Pingback: Andy Weir's The Martian Should Get a Hugo Nomination | Attack of the Books!

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