Surviving Mars

What’s it about?
Watch the trailer. It’ll do a better job describing it than I ever could.

Why should you read it?
Because The Martian is a damn good adventure story. Take a normal, albeit gifted, person and strand him on Mars. What are the challenges? What will go wrong? How will he deal with it? It moves at a good clip, though there are parts where it bogs down a bit. Switching between his viewpoint and NASA’s is an effective way to take care of the parts where it gets slow.

I should tell you: this book is *heavy* on the engineering, and it’s very Macgyver-y. It was initially self-published and I suspect that if it had gone through the normal publishing process most of the math & science would have been edited out. But it’s in there, and it helps the story because so much of the action is centered around using science to make sure he lives.

A Modern Superhero



What’s it about?
Tigerman is about war and superheroes and what if the Iraq and Afghanistan wars bred a superhero from the British troops? What on earth would he be like? Why would he be created? What does that say about Western society? Plot-wise, there’s a soldier, suffering from PTSD-lite, who’s been stationed on a make-believe island near Yemen that is about to environmentally self-destruct. There’s an attack on a local cafe, and a boy asks the soldier to avenge the cafe owner. How does he do that under the nose of a local UN force, and what are the ramifications?

Why should you read it?
Because Nick Harkaway is a pretty awesome author. He’s got the right amount of swagger and touch for narrating international politics. (John le Carre is, literally, his father. It runs in the family.) His stories are funny and touching and in this book he has a sentence where he uses the f-word as every major part of speech. I laughed out loud a number of times. Recommended.