New Release Interview: The Martian by Andy Weir



For it being a barren planet, it has been fertile ground for science fiction. And recently. Just two weeks ago, Red Rising by Pierce Brown published. This week, we get The Martian by Andy Weir.

The Martian is a novel that is at once familiar and new. It has its foundation rooted in that most basic of necessities—human survival. Think Apollo 13. Castaway. And Gravity. Yet the story is set on Mars: Man versus the Red Planet. It makes for a thriller unlike any you have read, featuring a complex point of view character named Mark Watney.

Here is more information about The Martian:

Apollo 13 meets Castaway in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller-set on the surface of Mars.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him-and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive-and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills-and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit-he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Here is an interview with the book’s author, Andy Weir:


Shawn Speakman: THE MARTIAN is published today. Congratulations! Tell Unbound Worlds readers about this intense science fiction thriller?


Andy Weir: It’s the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars (his crew believed him to be dead). He has no contact with Earth, and he has to survive with only the equipment he has available for as long as he can.

Shawn Speakman: What came first? The point of view character Mark Watney or the Mars that is trying to kill him?

Andy Weir: I came up with the situation first, then invented Mark to experience it.

Shawn Speakman: To write a science fiction novel of this kind, the writer is usually steeped in science knowledge. What is your background? And how much research did you have to do to write THE MARTIAN?

Andy Weir: I have always had a great love of spaceflight and especially manned missions. I’m the sort of geek who will stay up all night to watch the news and see a Mars probe land. So I started out with a pretty heavy hobbyist knowledge of the material. Then, while writing the book I did tons of research. I wanted the science to be as accurate as I could possibly make it.

Shawn Speakman: Survival is perhaps humanity’s most basic instinct. Have you seen the movie GRAVITY? And how does it compare and contrast to THE MARTIAN?

Andy Weir: Both are about astronauts in trouble and using resourceful solutions to stay alive. But I think that’s where the similarities end. Gravity is made from start to finish as a visual experience, and they have some unbelievably beautiful scenes. It has hard sci-fi elements, but there are also a lot of things glossed over to make a more exciting movie. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think The Martian is much more focused on the realistic science and has a lot more problems for its hapless hero. I think Apollo 13 is a better example of a similar story than Gravity.

Shawn Speakman: I would love seeing THE MARTIAN made into a movie. It could be just as visually stunning as Gravity, just set on the red planet. If you were asked by a director to select an actor to play the role of Mark, who would it be? A newcomer? Or someone we have seen on the big screen before?

Andy Weir: That’s actually in the works. 20th Century Fox has optioned the movie rights and Drew Goddard is set to direct. Of course, I have no say in anything related to the movie, but I think Bradley Cooper would make a great Mark Watney. He does “smart ass” well.

Shawn Speakman: That would be great! What are you currently working on? Another science fiction novel, I hope!

Andy Weir: I’m working on a pitch for my next novel right now. I won’t give away any details here, but it is definitely science fiction and will have the same general narrative style as The Martian.

The Martian by Andy Weir is published today! Return to the Red Planet!

And try to survive…

speakman-shawnShawn Speakman is the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel bestselling author Terry Brooks calls, “a fine tale by a talented writer.”

He is also editor and contributor of Unfettered, a fantasy anthology featuring some of the best writers in the genre. When Shawn isn’t lying for a living, he runs The Signed Page and Grim Oak Press.