The Martian arrives in theaters October 3. If you haven’t yet read the book by Andy Weir, it’s a don’t miss read. It’s a strong scifi story with realistic science and an awesome main character, plus a high stakes story of survival on Mars that you can’t put down.
Hard science fiction with a whole lot of science fact. Disaster strikes a manned Mars mission and one astronaut is left for dead. Except Mark Watney isn’t dead. Alone, with only what remains of the failed expedition site and supplies, he must find a way to survive.
Mark’s character voice is strong enough to get across scientific rules and space program procedures in a way that’s both warm and engaging. The action is believable, and the science stays in service of the plot. And according to friends who would know the difference, the science is correct.
My result: Recommended
But if you’ve already read The Martian, there’s no reason to stop there. Here are eight stellar space stories to enjoy.
If it’s the real science and perils of space travel that get your pulse pounding, check out these true stories about real life astronauts. It’s nonfiction every bit as exciting as the big screen. In Apollo 13, a 1970 moon mission goes disastrously wrong, and it will take extraordinary measures to bring the astronauts home safe. You can learn more about the people who brave the heavens in Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. Find out what life is like in zero G, and how you can find out right here on earth, in Packing for Mars. (And don’t miss the movies. Both Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff have excellent film versions.)
Or, if you want more science fiction with your space travel, check out these great scifi stories. Each story starts with realistic space technology and takes it to a science fiction extreme. Start with Red Mars, first in a trilogy chronicling the terraforming and settlement of Mars. Then take a movie break with Interstellar, Gravity, or 2001: A Space Odyssey.
When you’re ready for another weighty tome, try Neal Stephenson’s SevenEves. Humanity takes to orbit to survive, as Earth dies in a hail of meteors. By the time humans can return home, both the planet and the human race will look very different.
You will love any of these space adventures, from nonfiction to science fiction. If you like The Martian, there’s a whole galaxy of adventure waiting for you.