Mark Watney is a sarcastic, happy-go-lucky astronaut who happens also to be exceedingly clever. This is good because he's been STRANDED ON MARS. Mark and five other astronauts are part of the Ares 3 project, whose mission is to land on Mars, collect rocks and perform scientific experiments. The mission was supposed to last 30 days. But on day 6 a terrible storm forces the team to abandon the mission and take emergency measures to blast into orbit and re-unite with the Hermes, the spacecraft which brought the astronauts. During the rush to get from the habitation to the rocket, Mark is blown away from the group and, believed dead, is left behind. Now he must wage an epic battle for survival using only his wits and the few tools available to him. Will he survive?
This is an entertaining book, which, despite its rather heavy subject matter, is very light and exciting reading. It's something of a 21st Robinson Crusoe; a tale of survival that tests one man to his limit. I highly recommend it to adults, although I'm afraid I cannot recommend it to adolescents because of its rather unfortunate and constant use of swear words. Perhaps their use is justified; after all, Mark is fighting for his life on the surface of a barren planet. However, I feel that they add little to the story and that a wider audience could have been reached with their omission.
Read if: you enjoy silly technical jargon, Macguyver-like engineering, adventure stories, or loved watching Apollo 13.