the Martian

could-we-really-mix-feces-into-martian-dirt-and-grow-potatoes

I loved this book. I started reading it at work, tried to keep reading it on the bus even though I knew I would give myself motion sickness, got home and finished reading it before I went to bed. It’s so funny, and so smart, and so unrelentingly positive. I’m not usually big into hard science fiction, because I don’t care if things work, I care if they’re cool, and this is so cool. It makes science exciting!

I went and saw the movie as soon as possible after finishing the book. It was the first movie I’d seen in 3D in years, because I’m very cheep, but I thought it deserved the whole experience. It was worth it. It was beautiful, funny, and absolutely lovely. The whole cast was excellent, but especially Donald Glover, who was a beautiful charming mess. The fact that they gave Sean Bean the line about the Council of Elrond was perfect.

Everything looked incredible, but also messy and casual in a way that sci-fi doesn’t usually manage. So often sci-fi films are interested in making things look shiny and futuristic, which can be super cool, but it makes a movie where everything looks more-or-less like it would actually look, designed for practicality not aesthetics, really refreshing. And the space: wow the space. Mars looks amazing.

As much as I loved the movie, I think the book might be even better. It’s half told in journals, and that strong point of view is so much fun to read. Also, the book has a few more challenges to get through at the end, making it even more intense. I understand why the movie streamlined it some, but the full trip was still fantastic. Also the book digs into the science a bit deeper, really showing off how incredibly thoroughly well done hard sci-fi it is.

Absolutely one of the best books I’ve read in ages, one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. I’ll be totally fine if this wins tons of Oscars, as expected. It’s smart, and kind, and tons of fun. Go read the book, go see the movie, enjoy your life.

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