I had heard about the movie with Matt Damon and just dismissed it (Matt Damon needs saved AGAIN??) but as I was listening to my backlog of Science..Sort of podcasts The Martian came up again in the form of an interview with the author (episode 228). Even though they warned several times that there were spoilers, I kept listening. As soon as I got to work, I logged on to my library to get the book and was sucked in from sentence one.
The most basic premise of this book is an astronaut is left stranded on Mars. There is a dangerous dust storm that forces the Ares 3 crew to abandon their missions 6 days in and Mark Watney is injured and presumed dead during the storm. The rest of the crew has to leave before they all die. Watney survives his injury and the storm and makes it back to the HAB. And thus we begin a year and a half of MacGyver on Mars. Seriously, I would have curled into a ball and cried.
The science of this book is 100% believable and almost makes the book feel like non-fiction. Watney is a great character mainly because, as smart as he is, he's a damn doofus. Sometimes, he was his own worst enemy and Mars was just watching him nearly blow himself up.
Told through the logs Watney keeps while he's alone on Mars and from the POV of the NASA folks trying to get him home, this is a rollercoaster. My only complaint is I had to work, eat, sleep, etc and couldn't just read it cover to cover.