Conversation With Space-Geek and Science Fanatic Andy Weir

I’m the same level of smart-ass as [the main character]. It was a really easy book to write; I just had him say what I would say. However, he’s smarter than I am and considerably more brave. I guess he’s what I wish I was.

Q: In one sentence, tell us what your novel is all about.

A: It’s the story of an astronaut trying to survive after being accidentally left behind on Mars.

Q: What inspired you to write The Martian?

A: I was thinking up how best to do a manned Mars mission (because that’s the sort of dork I am). As the plan got more detailed, I started imagining what it would be like for the astronauts. Naturally, when designing a mission, you think up disaster scenarios and how likely the crew would be to survive. That’s when I started to realize this had real story potential.

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Q: Do you have anything in common with your wise-cracking hero Mark Watney?

A: I’m the same level of smart-ass as he is. It was a really easy book to write; I just had him say what I would say. However, he’s smarter than I am and considerably more brave. I guess he’s what I wish I was.

Q: You’re stranded on Mars and you can only take one book with you. What is it?

A: It’s always hard to pick one “favorite book”. Growing up, I loved early Heinlein books most of all. So if I had to pick one, I’d go with Tunnel in the Sky. I do love a good survival story.

Q: How long do you think you’d last if you were left in Mark Watney’s position?

A: Not long at all. I don’t know how to grow crops, nor how to jury-rig the solutions he came up with. It’s a lot easier to write about an ordeal than it is to experience it.

Q: Watney seems to be able to maneuver his way around some pretty major problems with a little duct tape and ingenuity! So he’s a bit like MacGyver in that way. Did you watch the show as a kid? Any favorite episodes?

A: Indeed I did! I loved that show. My favorite episode was the one where engineering students had a barricade contest.

Q: Star Wars or Star Trek?

A: Doctor Who.

Congrats to Pam S., Mary H., Misty Y., Patrick H., Oliver H., and 95 other members of the Read It Forward community! Their entries were selected at random to win a The Martian by Andy Weir.

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Are you a science fiction fan? Leave a comment with your favorite scifi book and/or movie!

ANDY WEIR was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.

About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

  • Mark Dahl

    I am doing something wrong…. I have been trying to enter for a free book for many months now. I just can’t seem to figure out how to do it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Mark A. Dahl

    • Mark, thanks for your question. We give away hundreds of books every week and receive thousands of entries for every one we give away. Winning entries are chosen at random – if you’re filling out the form each week, you’re doing it right! We’re glad you’re here – another terrific read coming to your inbox tomorrow!

      • Mark Dahl

        Where can I find these entries?

        • Which entries do you mean?

          • Mark Dahl

            The entries for a chance to receive a free book. Thanks and I don’t mean to sound so dumb. I am a computer dummy.

  • Cathy

    I just found out I won a copy of ‘The Martian’ and I just Cant wait! Andy, you had me at Doctor Who. Now all you have to say is ‘Babylon 5’ and you have me for life!! 🙂

  • ceblain

    I just read this interview and I know that not only I would love to read this book, but our granddaughter would as well. And I wouldn’t doubt that my husband would see it and want to know about this story too. What a great sounding premise and fun too I imagine even for a serious plight. Would absolutely love to be included in this book contest; thank you for allowing me to enter. Sincerely,

  • jena

    how can i get a free copy of this book it says its in the free spot

  • kat

    won a copy of “the martian”…..soooooo goood!!!! for some reason when i got it, it just didn’t excite me…boy was i wrong. one of the best reads i’ve had in a long time…didn’t want to put it down!!

  • I loved this book! I lost an entire day reading it. I am hand-selling it to every customer who gives me a chance to talk about it. Thank You Andy Weir.

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