We don’t know any sci-fi fan that didn’t enjoy The Martian, which happens to be Andy Weir’s novel debut.
The story follows a survival struggle after an epic mission encounters a one-in-a-million freak accident. The Martian keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout.
Mark Watney’s unwavering determination to survive has ensured that this is a story to read and re-read again. But, what next?
Here are some alternative novels to reignite that blind faith in human determination that’s been missing since the first time you read The Martian.
1. Fuzzy Nation
Fans of The Martian will love this because: It’s a world in which one man works alone, 178 light years away from company headquarters on earth.
John Scalzi is the creator of Fuzzy Nation, but this novel is in fact a re-write of H. Beam Piper’s 1962 novel Little Fuzzy. Disaster in the form of a cliff collapse sees our protagonist Jack Holloway uncover jewels of inherent value, jewels he must protect and return to their rightful owners – the Fuzzies – before the company he previously worked for can get their hands on them. It’s an edge-of-the-seat read that we’re certain will be enjoyed by fans of sci-fi and, in particular, The Martian.
2. The Martian Chronicles
Fans of The Martian will love this because: It too is set on Mars, chronicles disaster during an attempted expedition, and survival struggles ensue.
Ray Bradbury has created a series of short stories that detail human colonisation on Mars. The stories as a whole encounter the devastation of the near-extinction of the Martians and the parallel near-extinction of the human race. Similar to The Martian, the reader is forced to wonder page-after-page whether survival is even a possibility.
Fans of The Martian will love this because: It encompasses an experiment on micro-organisms conducted in space – and it goes disastrously wrong.
Tess Gerritsen is an incredibly detailed author; being a former doctor her writing style is full of medical terminology and scientific accuracy. In Gravity we follow protagonist Emma Watson as she struggles to contain a deadly microbe that is threatening the life of the crew aboard the vessel in which she’s harboured. The reader waits with bated breath as Emma’s husband and NASA try to retrieve her from space, before it’s too late. This is certain to have enthusiasts of The Martian hooked.
4. Packing for Mars
Fans of The Martian will love this because: It tries to depict exactly what it would be like to live on Mars, something I’m sure we’ve all pondered at some point (especially after reading The Martian).
Mary Roach forces readers of Packing for Mars to consider a complete spectrum of what it really would be like to live on Mars, from life without sex to what would happen if you needed to throw up in your space helmet. This nonfiction novel from science author Roach really does answer just about every question you may have ever wanted to ask about life on Mars since you first read The Martian.
Fans of The Martian will love this because: The story focuses on the effect of goings on in space, and their subsequent effects on inhabitants of Earth.
Robert Charles Wilson’s sci-fi novel Spin won the Hugo Award for best novel. The novel’s protagonist is a 12-year-old boy, Tyler Dupree, who with his two best friends – twins Jason and Diane Lawton – witnesses the simultaneous disappearance of all stars. The Big Blackout, as the inconceivable event becomes known, begins a domino effect of sorts. For die-hard fans of The Martian, this is a must-read.
6. Red Mars
Fans of The Martian will love this because: It depicts an unwavering human determination to survive.
Red Mars is the opening novel in “The Mars Trilogy” created by Kim Stanley Robinson. This award-winning series chronicles the overpopulation of Earth and the disintegration of it ecologically. What ensues is desperation to create a new livable world. On Mars. This is just what fans of The Martian have been looking for.
Still not sure? Try these books instead.
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
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Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
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