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Thread: "The Martian" by Andy Weir [Spoilers]

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    Maybe it's me being pedantic (and the "hardness" or "softness" of science fiction are more degrees along a continuum, rather than rigid categories), but I'd say that "hard" science fiction is distinguished precisely by its unwillingness to play with the science when convenient for the story.
    And, I think, to be upfront about it when you know you're violating science for the sake of the story - Niven's "one impossible thing" was always stated clearly and adhered to under its own rules.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    I would agree that it seems like a remarkable number of things go wrong, but always not quite so wrong that the protagonist dies.
    If you look at actual space flights, you'll see that quite often a great number of things go wrong, but we generally don't hear about them, unless its something major. When you're dealing with a guy in a situation like Watney, where you have one guy jerry-rigging nearly everything, you can expect lots more to go wrong. (Plus, if it was just him worrying over his potatoes for the bulk of the book, it wouldn't be a good read at all.)

    And they've released another trailer today.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    (Plus, if it was just him worrying over his potatoes for the bulk of the book, it wouldn't be a good read at all.)
    It actually was him worrying about his potatoes for the bulk of the book. At first literally, and then figuratively.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    It actually was him worrying about his potatoes for the bulk of the book. At first literally, and then figuratively.

    Grant Hutchison
    Not really. There was him getting ready to make his trip, dealing with equipment failures, etc., etc., etc. The potatoes were only a small part. He certainly doesn't spend the amount of time talking about them that the narrator of Moby Dick spends talking about aquatic life, for example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    Not really. There was him getting ready to make his trip, dealing with equipment failures, etc., etc., etc.
    Yep, and all that was the "figuratively" part I mentioned. Metaphorically speaking, we "worried about the potatoes" for almost the entire novel.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yep, and all that was the "figuratively" part I mentioned. Metaphorically speaking, we "worried about the potatoes" for almost the entire novel.

    Grant Hutchison
    Sigh. You're missing my point. We didn't get daily reports on the potatoes, results of soil tests, etc., etc., the kinds of routine things that he'd be doing to monitor his crops in order to ensure that they survived. For someone who was so bothered by the tiny details about the gas physiology, I'd think you'd realize that the process of growing crops in the hab was far more complicated than what was described. Would you have preferred that?

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    I am cautiously optimistic for the movie. Matt Damon is a good actor, when they let him. Let's hope Ridley Scott is on his Blade Runner game, not his Prometheus game.

    And I still need to read the book. It's been on my to-read list for ages, but other things (borrowed books) keep popping up in front of it. Argh!

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    I'm very optimistic for the movie. This looks to be a must-see film for me - I enjoyed the book quite a bit and really like Matt Damon. And I don't tend to get so disappointed by bad science in movies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    Sigh. You're missing my point. We didn't get daily reports on the potatoes, results of soil tests, etc., etc., the kinds of routine things that he'd be doing to monitor his crops in order to ensure that they survived. For someone who was so bothered by the tiny details about the gas physiology, I'd think you'd realize that the process of growing crops in the hab was far more complicated than what was described. Would you have preferred that?
    I'm still missing your point, I think. Are you pointing out that it would have been possible to write an extremely dull novel about growing potatoes, but Weir didn't do that?

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    I would agree that it seems like a remarkable number of things go wrong, but always not quite so wrong that the protagonist dies.
    Obviously, if the protagonist died, the story would be quite different, but there could be a story, along the lines of a reconstruction of his last days on Mars, but it would be much more literary (even within the constraints of genre) and much less of an adventure.
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    I like XKCD's take on the trailer today.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    And they've released another trailer today.
    This is more of what I was expecting from a trailer.
    Build-up the drama to get people unfamiliar with the book interested in the movie.

    I re-viewed the first trailer after morning coffee, and sort of enjoyed meeting the characters.
    But I think that was more from comparing them to my mental image than anything else.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

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    Quote Originally Posted by jokergirl View Post
    I like XKCD's take on the trailer today.
    I'm with the hat guy. "How on earth ...?"

    Grant Hutchison

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    Well, the interplanetary ship looks so much better than what we saw in Interstellar.

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    Read the novel when it was PDFs on the web, then bought the book, because it was a fun page turner and I felt Mr. Weir earned a paycheck with it. My only gripe is that the print version dropped the web version's epilogue. I was disappointed, that was a beautiful tie up, completely in character for Watney.

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    Do you have a link to the web version's epilogue? I just finished it and would really like to read it.
    ETA: I found it. I kind of see why they didn't include it. Better to end on a high note, somehow.

    Last edited by jokergirl; 2015-Jul-25 at 09:14 PM.

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    EW gives the move an "A-":

    http://www.ew.com/article/2015/09/29...tian-ew-review

    Scott’s sci-fi adventure is the kind of film you leave the theater itching to tell your friends to see.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

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    Astrophysicist Katie Mack has her review up as well:

    http://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articl...ts-the-martian

    She gives most of the science fudging a pass, and gave it a "thumbs-up." She ends her review saying,
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Katie Mack
    I could go on and on about little science nitpicks, or, equally, enthuse for hours about all the little things they got right. But mostly I just want to see it again, to spend some time in a future where human spaceflight is thriving, celebrated, and seemingly just within reach.
    I'm really looking forward to it, despite some slight misgivings I had with the trailers that are out.

    CJSF

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    The movie starts here on Friday and we'll see it next week during the "old folks discount day".
    I still don't trust Matt Damon, he's too sneaky when rescue people show up.

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    We have tickets for Saturday afternoon - I don't usually bother going to a theater, but I want to see this on the big screen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I felt I was wading through endless information about how many holes he had to drill and how long that took, how the solar panels had to be stacked, which things he had to glue to which other things, and on and on and on.
    And the holes have to be so many millimeters apart. I so agree. So much engineering detail and mathematical figuring could have just been left out. Should have been. Otherwise, it's a pretty good story.

    As I started reading, I was wondering, OMG, is the whole book going to be just Watney talking to himself, figuring stuff out? I mean, he's likable enough, and I like his attitude, but... Oh, whew, finally the folks down at NASA mission control get into the story. And then much later his former crewmates. Some one-person plays might fly, but not one-person novels!

    So how likely is it that Watney's blood would have plugged up the hole in his EVA suit?
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Oh, BTW, I'm catching the movie this evening at Brewvies Cinema Pub.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    I just finished the book last night. Good, but too many predictable cliffhangers. Lost me a little bit right at the first when there's absolutely no backup for communication with earth, other than on the ascent vehicle which has returned to earth. The HG antennas on current Mars rovers aren't all that big.

    And then there's the five or six 55 gallon drums of impossible adhesive he must have had....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Good, but too many predictable cliffhangers.
    That's one thing that has me concerned about going to see the movie. I'm not a big fan of the one-setback-after-another style of drama.

    "Yes, we've almost made it just have to do this last little thing and we're saving.... oh, another setback..... but wait, we could just do this last almost impossible thing and we'll live and almost there and ..... oh another set-back...." yet you know at the end they're going to make it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    That's one thing that has me concerned about going to see the movie. I'm not a big fan of the one-setback-after-another style of drama.

    "Yes, we've almost made it just have to do this last little thing and we're saving.... oh, another setback..... but wait, we could just do this last almost impossible thing and we'll live and almost there and ..... oh another set-back...." yet you know at the end they're going to make it.
    I got a rolling fit of the giggles exactly because of this. I almost choked to death at one point, when Watney was still determinedly dictating his obssessively detailed log in the teeth of yet another disaster.
    "That seems to be a funny book," my wife said.
    "It's not, it's not," I choked, wiping away a tear.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    Some one-person plays might fly, but not one-person novels!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by StupendousMan View Post
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    I was thinking that might be an exaggeration
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Good, but too many predictable cliffhangers.
    Spoiler alert: he lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    Oh, BTW, I'm catching the movie this evening at Brewvies Cinema Pub.
    OK, the movie......

    ...was really very good. It covered the book quite well, but considerably shortened the mathematical and engineering detail, while still giving the impression of doing all that math. It was realistic. My wife is a harsh film critic and a professor of engineering, and she absolutely loved it. She predicted academy awards, especially for the screenplay adaptation. We'll see.

    Smartly, we went to the 5:00 p.m. show. We could barely get out of the theater/pub, there were so many people lined up waiting for the 8:00 p.m. show.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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