Books to Read if You Liked The Martian

02 Oct 2015

The Martian Movie comes out TODAY! If you haven’t built up enough excitement for it, just watch The Martian trailer. The Martian was a great book for a number of reasons: the allure of astronauts, the dangerous situations, the struggle of man against overwhelming odds, Mark Watney’s unbreakable humor, the NASA team doing their darndest, and maybe even a glimpse of the future.

Unfortunately for us, this isn’t a book that’s likely to have a sequel. What are some books to read after The Martian? We’ve compiled a book list based on the criteria above.

Note: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.

Books to Read If You Liked The Martian by Andy Weir


The Right Stuff– Thomas Wolfe: NASA is incredibly prepared and advanced in The Martian, but they didn’t begin that way. This highly acclaimed non-fiction account allows a unique insight into the lives of aviations most brilliant, reckless, and brave pilots set to a task very different from the flights before. Sitting on a stack of explosives and getting rocketed into the atmosphere? It takes a lot to do that, and this is the story of the people who had, well, the right stuff.


Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage– Alfred Lansing: Survival. Humans have been surviving for a couple thousand years. Some have been better at it than others. Mark Watney was faced with an incredibly unique experience. Many explorers had similar situations. One of them was Polar Explorer Ernest Shackleton, a man who set a large number of records exploring the South Pole. This story recounts his attempted expedition to cross Antarctica overland, and the struggle to survive after their ship was first ice packed, then crushed. It may not take place in space, but there are still places on Earth nearly as inhospitable as Mars. Get ready to hold your breath for a few pages.


Into the Wild– Jon Krakauer: Mark Watney didn’t choose to live off the land, but he wouldn’t have survived without his agricultural ingenuity. With no surface life, foraging was out of the question. Into the Wild is nearly the exact opposite: a young man escapes society to live off the land. But the goals of the protagonists are one in the same, and their ingenuity is similar, even if the outcome is much different. The story of Christopher McCandless received a lot of attention when it was adapted to film in 2007, so if you’ve only seen the movie, do yourself a favor and check the book out.


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy– Douglas Adams: Part of The Martian’s enjoyment value comes from its main character, and Mark Watney is quite the character. From the boasts of his Martian feats to his hatred of disco, Andy Weir made a convincing character that could laugh in the worst of times. Space isn’t generally a place for humor, but the author made room for it on the desert planet. If you appreciated the laughs and you’re looking for books to read like The Martian, the answer is 42–I mean, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. A completely ridiculous romp across space, time, and restaurants, you won’t regret this read. Just remember to bring your towel.


Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program– David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek: The NASA depicted in The Martian has trouble with funding even through its the process of launching missions to Mars. An overwhelming show of international public support helps them overcome financial difficulties to rescue Astronaut Mark Watney. The history of America’s support for space missions had its peak during the Apollo missions. This book reccounts how NASA effectively sold the government, the media, and the public on the Lunar Missions.


Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier– Neil De Grasse Tyson: Mark Watney was able to do some incredible things to survive on a lethal planet. For a long time he made an inhospitable host planet into a habitable home. It wasn’t easy, but with a lot of knowledge and skill, he lived. With the recent discovery of water on Mars, a colonization effort doesn’t seem like such a distant possibility. Neil De Grasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and cosmologists, wrote this book about the sad state of America’s current Space Agency. It might not be adventure packed or harrowing, but it offers the view of an incredible future.


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