The Martian by Andy Weir
Finished this one on a trans-Pacific flight from Canada to China, safe in an awesome spaceship operated by Air Canada. I’ve never read a more delightful, more scientific, sci-fi novel.
Mark Watney gets stranded on Mars when the NASA mission he is a part of goes sideways. Alone, without communication, he… I will tell you no more. But suffice to say this tale is never dull, despite being peppered with hard science. Mark is one of the more likeable heroes I’ve read about in a long time. And while the “man-vs-nature” core conflict seems like something that would have gone out of fashion around the time of Stephen Crane, this one manages to be vastly more engaging than, say, Tom Hanks talking to a volleyball.
The Martian is a light, joyful celebration of human knowledge, scientific inquiry, and the human spirit. It’s also a fine adventure story, and a superb lesson in how to use language to make what could be dry subjects interesting.