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The Martian by Andy Weir














Book jacket courtesy of Penguin Random House

About the Author

Andy Weir

Contemporary Authors Online, 2017 Updated: January 09, 2017

  Born: June 16, 1972 in Davis, California, United States

  • Nationality: American
  • Occupation: Novelist


  • The Martian (novel), Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 2014.

Also author of short fiction.

The Martian has been made into a film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon.

Writer. Former programmer for Sandia National Laboratories and for software companies, including AOL and Blizzard.

Best translated novel prize, Seiun Awards, and best translated science fiction book prize, Geffen Awards, both 2015, both for translations of The Martian; John W. Campbell Award for best new writer, 2016.

Born June 16, 1972, in CA; son of a particle physicist and an electrical engineer. Education: Attended University of California, San Diego. Addresses: Home: Mountain View, CA. E-mail:


Andy Weir, who describes himself on his Web site as a "lifelong space nerd," has been writing science fiction since his early twenties, publishing these stories on his Web site. His first novel, The Martian, also began as a self-published work, which Weir posted on his Web site in serialized form over several years. It proved so popular that Weir made it available as an e-book on Kindle. Its popularity led to a lucrative book deal for Weir. The Martian reached number twelve on the New York Times best-seller list in its first week of publication.

The novel, which tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney after he is left behind on Mars when his crewmates mistakenly assume he has died in a massive sandstorm during their mission, won immediate acclaim. Entertainment Weekly writer Sara Vilkomerson described the book as "a riveting adventure saga ... with enough physics and math to satisfy hardcore sci-fi fans" but a protagonist who is sympathetic and engaging enough to make the book a "mainstream hit." Watney, who has served on two previous missions to Mars, must draw on all of his wits and training to keep himself alive over the course of four years, when the next Mars mission will land on the planet. He figures out how to grow food, make clean water, rig up a caravan with which he can travel across the surface, and create a way to communicate with NASA and with the ship that had left him for dead.

Though Maclean's reviewer Kate Lunau observed that Watney lacks depth as a character and has no apparent life outside of his work, others enjoyed the witty voice with which he narrates his always exciting story. Reviewers also admired the novel's technological sophistication and detail. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Tom Shippey hailed The Martian as "techno sci-fi at a level even Arthur Clarke never achieved. It's also a celebration of human ingenuity." Asked by Voice of Youth Advocates interviewer Rebecca A. Hill to discuss his inspirations for the novel, Weir replied: "By far the biggest inspiration was Apollo 13. It showed the space program's ability to react to the unexpected, and was among the finest moments in NASA's history, despite being a failed mission." Indeed, Washington Post contributor Joel Achenbach went so far as to say that the novel "may have saved NASA and the entire space program" by "mak[ing] a human landing and perhaps even colonization of Mars seem plausible at the nuts-and-bolts, airlocks-and-solar-panels level."

Further Readings



  • Entertainment Close-Up, June 3, 2015, "Podium Publishing: The Martian Gets Audie Award: Matt Damon to Star in Ridley Scott-directed Film Version."
  • Maclean's, March 10, 2014, Kate Lunau, review of The Martian, p. 59.
  • Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2015, Rebecca A. Hill, interview with Weir, p. 46.
  • Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2014, Tom Shippey, review of The Martian.



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