Our favorite book of 2014 has a shiny new cover in anticipation of the movie being released this year.
While we wait to see his space survival story hit the big screen, we caught up with The Martian author Andy Weir to ask him some questions about the book and movie.
When did you realize you had written a huge hit?
I didn’t really know what the sales numbers meant at first, because I didn’t have anything to compare them to. But once it appeared on the NYT bestseller list I knew it was a hit.
When not writing, where can you be found?
At home or nearby taking a long walk. I walk quite a lot, actually— about five miles a day. It’s how I think plotlines through.
The book seems to be written with a sense of enthusiasm for space travel or an idealized future. Did the book start there, or did you initially focus on Watney’s story?
There was definitely a focus on Watney’s story. The enthusiasm for space travel and optimism about the future are just my own beliefs leaking through.
With the film’s release, there may be a dramatic increase of new readers (and viewers). Is there a key part of Watney’s story that you’d like to be sure they don’t miss?
I just want them to enjoy the book.
That’s my only goal in writing: to make something the readers enjoy. There’s never a moral or a lesson— I’m not trying to push any agenda and I’m not trying to teach anything. I just want the reader to think “that was cool” when they finish.
I’m really excited for the movie and looking forward to seeing it.
If a kid told you, in 2015, that they want to be an astronaut when they grow up, what would you say? What would Mark Watney say?
I’d say “You’ve got a really good chance at it. When you grow up, you’ll probably be able to buy a ticket to space.”
Mark Watney would say “Are you out of your f***ing mind, kid!?”
What are the next steps you hope to see NASA or other spacefaring agencies take in terms of space exploration?
I’d like to see them do more to encourage commercial spaceflight. I’m happy with what they’ve done and I’d like to see more of that.
Competition amongst booster manufacturers is the surest way to drive down the cost to LEO [Low Earth Orbit], and lower costs to LEO give us a future in space travel.
Do you have any science fiction book recommendations for readers?
I recommend Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
Want more? Check out our Geeky Reading Playlist inspired by the book.