The Martian (by Ridley Scott)

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Last week, I posted my thoughts on Andy Weir’s The Martian. It’s easily one of the best science fiction books of the century. Fortunately, Ridley Scott’s film adaptation is very faithful to the novel. I won’t summarize the plot again (just read it here), but if you like the book, you’ll like the film. That said, there are a few notable differences that make the film a unique experience.

The film starts off before the accident that leaves astronaut Mark Watney stranded on Mars. We as viewers see the Hermes crew collecting samples before everything goes to hell. We see Watney struggle through those first painful hours when he’s still recovering from the accident. By contrast, the novel starts off after the accident, when Watney has already come up with a plan for survival. Continue reading “The Martian (by Ridley Scott)”

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“The Martian” by Andy Weir

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I’m (finally) going to see Ridley Scott’s adaptation of The Martian tonight. In honor of that occasion, I am posting my review of the original novel. I’ll post a review of the movie early next week.

The story of The Martian is simple. Mark Watney, a botanist on a mission to Mars, is accidentally abandoned by his crewmates when the mission goes south. Watney then has to figure out how to survive with the materials the crew left behind. However, the story is also deceptively original. This isn’t a book about the first manned mission to Mars (we have plenty of those). This isn’t about colonizing Mars or finding signs of life. If I were to compare it to any recent sci-fi story, I’d say it reminds me of the recent film Gravity, another survival story. Continue reading ““The Martian” by Andy Weir”

“Red Mars” coming to TV!

M1_Red_MarsOver 20 years after its publication, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars remains the most convincing depiction of mankind’s colonization of Mars. There had been several attempts to bring Red Mars to TV, but all had failed. Now, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski has announced that he plans to adapt Red Mars as a five-episode TV miniseries on Spike TV.  As I’ve noted in my Babylon 5 reviews, JMS is a serious writer who knows how to bring complex characters to life.

I am a bit concerned that the current plans only include Red Mars, not Robinson’s two sequels, Green Mars and Blue Mars. Red Mars is not exactly a standalone novel. Without revealing any spoilers, it’s fair to say that Robinson write the books as a trilogy. I’d be interested to see if JMS tries to wrap up the entire story at the end of the miniseries or deliberately leaves it open-ended.

“The Martian” by Andy Weir coming to the Big Screen!

The_Martian_2014The website Shortlist has put out a list of popular books  slated to become movies in 2015. Of these, I’ve only read Andy Weir’s The Martian, which is excellent. I will post my review of the book closer to the movie’s release date.

Fortunately, with Gravity and Interstellar, Hollywood seems more willing and able to produce intelligent science-fiction films. Gravity in particular might be a good model for The Martian. Ridley Scott my favorite director and I’m sure the movie will look visually stunning.

I’m a bit less confident in the casting. Matt Damon has been cast to play the lead, scientist Mark Watney. Damon has never impressed me as an actor who can pull off the quirky, brainy type – and Watney is nothing if not quirky and brainy. Still, I’m definitely looking forward to this film.