The Martian, by Andy Weir
That was a darn good book. I only wish I hadn’t seen the movie before reading this book (thanks to Randy for letting me borrow it), because the tension would’ve been 100x more palpable if I hadn’t known the plot. Oh well.
If you didn’t already know, The Martian is a sci-fi novel about Matt Damon (actually, Mark Watney), an astronaut on the fictitious Ares 3 mission to Mars who, through a series of mishaps, bad luck, and good luck, ends up abandoned by his crew on Mars. The story tells of his struggle to survive, and the world’s struggle to rescue one man. It’s gripping, it’s hilarious, and as far as I can tell, pretty accurate as science fiction goes. I can definitely relate to the epic quest to shave weight off of every spacecraft component imaginable (flashbacks to the mass scale in AAE senior design).
The author is a computer programmer who wrote science fiction stories in his spare time, finding success with The Martian, his first published book. He did a ton of research into orbital dynamics, historical spacecraft designs, hypothetical missions to Mars, and.. botany. Andy Weir, you’re my goddamn hero.