10 Books To Read If You Liked 'The Martian'
Now that you've read (and reread) the book and seen the movie, you need to move on to other books to read if you liked The Martian .
Long before Matt Damon took up the spacesuit, The Martian was just a self-published story published on Andy Weir's website. There, it gained a respectable sci-fi audience so impressive it garnered an agent and was traditionally published by Crown, when it may have saved NASA and the entire space program. If you're also a major sci-fi and astronomy nerd who has no problem admitting it, you were probably blown away by this novel, too.
This man vs. nature story, based heavily on futuristic but realistic science, about Mark Watney, a botanist and astronaut stranded on Mars, is as hilarious as it is suspenseful. Even more awesomely, it's also bringing the topic of space exploration back from the dead. Because literature can literally be world- and politics-changing.
If you're still rereading sections about Watney's funny and devastating trial and errors of survival, then there's no doubt you'll love similar sci-fi novels like the 10 listed below. Make sure to schedule a few free Sols in your planner over the next couple of weeks to read all of these intergalactic, science-driven, and beautifully written books that you're bound to love.
1. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
Chances are, if you loved The Martian it was probably due to the realistic and exciting concept of living in space and on new planets. Mary Roach tackles questions on what makes living in the void possible, and how space exploration actually explores more of what makes us human. This nonfictional read is filled with fascinating and understandable scientific discoveries and inventions from NASA, as well as hilarious realities that come with living in zero-gravity.
2. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury's idea of humans colonizing Mars is a bit different from Weir's, but that doesn't mean you won't love another Mars story written by one of the best sci-fi writers of all time. This collection of stories meditates on humanity's prejudices and desires, along with the need to survive. Succumbing to a disease known as the "Great Loneliness," many humans struggle to survive on the new planet, but the few who do have much more than just illness and aliens to face.
3. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
Looking up at the October sky one evening, 10-year-old Tyler Dupree watched as all the stars in the night sky suddenly exploded and vanished all at once. After witnessing the Big Blackout, Tyler and his friends are forever changed as the fate of the Earth is on the line. While this concept is definitely more "out there" than the reality based world in The Martian , it explores astrophysics in an exciting and easy to understand way, along with a futuristic concept you won't be able to stop reading about.
4. Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryth
Taking place 5,000 years into the future, packed full of contrasting characters, and including a political and intergalactic war between Earth and its many other space colonies, this is surely one space opera you'll never forget. Cherryth's world building abilities are stunning, and it's a good thing she has so many other books to choose from, because once you've finished Downbelow Station , you'll be hooked on her epic stories.
5. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
In a futuristic and over-populated world split into two species: Earthmen and Spacers, this science fiction novel and detective story was one of Andy Weir's favorite books growing up. Capturing some of Asimov's optimism in The Martian , it's safe to say that you'll thoroughly enjoy this complex, realistic, and fictional tale of a different type of Earth that isn't too hard to believe.
6. Red Mars (Mars Trilogy) by Kim Stanley Robinson
Can't get enough stories about colonizing the red planet? Red Mars takes place not too far off in the future, 2026 to be exact (and relatively close to the year we think we might be sending people to Mars), where years of scientific research has finally paid off and Mars is about to become an opportunity to conquer for all of mankind. But as changes are made to the planet, there are some who will fight back and attempt to keep Mars from ever being changed. This trilogy will definitely not disappoint any fan of The Martian .
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Mark Watney's sarcastic attitude toward the life-and-death situation he was in was easily one of my favorite things about The Martian . And due to that, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is somewhat of an obvious choice for sci-fi lovers, but specifically in this case due to the comedic charm both books have. Douglas Adams created an instant classic interstellar adventure with two iconic characters, Arthur Dent and Ford Perfect, who set out through space with only a guide of quotes to go off of, and if you haven't read this yet, don't panic! Just make sure to pick it up ASAP.
9. Survivor by Octavia E. Butler
In search of a new planet after leaving a plague-ridden Earth behind, Earth's missionaries find themselves caught between two alien civilizations at war. Main character Alanna is the only human who can see through the lies of the human's new alien hosts, and is the only hope for humanity to survive. This is definitely a hardcore sci-fi story full of imagination, but at its core it's all about surviving, similar to The Martian.
10. Leaving Orbit by Margaret Lazarus Dean
If you want a break from the sci-fi worlds and instead dip your toes in a more reality-centric book, Leaving Orbit is all about the end of the space exploration era and what it means for our future as curious human beings. While NASA just recently reached out to hire new astronauts, the end of space flight doesn't seem as inevitable as it once was, but this book takes a close look at the fascinating history of flight and how far technology has come over the last 50 years. So if your favorite parts of The Martian were the astrophysics and the scientific details, this is one book you'll love getting into.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy