Monday, 8 June 2015

The Martian



One of my occasional off topic asides - the forthcoming film The Martian , directed by Ridley Scott. This is 'based upon' the highly recommended book of the same title by Andy Weir.

I've read a lot of SF over the years, and for me The Martian was one of the best I have read recently for its adherence to science and the professionalism of the protagonist ,dealing with difficult problems in a reasoned and logical way. What impressed me is that the book didn't fall into the mainstream vogue of breaking any crisis is down into soap-style emotional dramatics. Instead, here we have a character that is trained to deal with extreme situations and demonstrates how to do it.

Its primarily told from the protagonist's point of view - astronaut Mark Watney - through his daily journal entries. Some reviewers have criticised the way the character apparently uses nerdy humour and puns, which detracts from the harrowing situation. I disagree. I think this is missing the point. These are log entries - what is the character supposed to say? Close journal with an Eastenders-style dush dush dush!? Regardless, the book is gripping and definitely one on the 'hard to put down list'.

So it's with nervous anticipation that news of the imminent release of the film, with the usual failsafe tag line attached 'based on the book' is announced. It's directed by Ridley Scott, a director who in my opinion can be brilliant (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) or not so good (Prometheus, Exodus -Gods and Kings). Matt Damon is the lead. I suspect the science of the book will be dumbed down and much replaced with over-emotional dramatisation to reach a wider audience. Let's just hope Ridley cane restrain it enough to protect the scientific intelligence of the book.