DMC Denver Reads Literature: Part Two

DMC Denver Reads Literature: Part Two

DMC Denver hosted its second “DMC Reads Literature” book club this past week at Little India in downtown Denver. Our choice for this session was The Martian, a current best-seller written by mechanical engineer, Andy Weir. I had originally read the book a few months prior and thought the engineers at DMC would love it because it was rich in technical content. One of the reasons the book is gaining so much acclaim is because all of Weir’s scenarios are plausible, which if you are a regular reader of science fiction, you know is normally not true.

The Martian is about an astronaut, Mark Watney, who gets accidentally left on Mars by his fellow crew members during a storm and must think his way out of his situation and into surviving. 

The book is a bit crude in terms of writing style, and this was one main point of conversation: why the robust language? We agreed it had to do with the fact that for the most part the novel is written as a series of journal entries and when someone is writing in a journal she is less likely to be reserved in her speech.

Some other discussion topics that came up were:

  • The validity/believability of Weir’s underlying message that humans have “a fundamental desire to help one another.”
  • Which of us would most likely survive if we were abandoned on Mars. Otto decided he’s too clumsy to last for very long and would crash his Rover (space vehicle). The group also decided that with my terrible sense of direction I would inevitability get lost and end up driving around in circles: I agreed. 
  • The current relevancy of the novel in terms of Mars launch developments in the real world.
  • Ideas and implications of complete isolation
  • What we would bring with us if we were going to Mars for a year and half. I decided I would value Kindle-like devices a lot in this situation and would demand that NASA provide me with as many books as possible.
  • Mars’ terrain: I didn’t know that the sand on Mars is only red on its top most layer because of the iron's oxidization with air. Apparently, if you were to brush that top layer aside it would be a brownish color underneath. Tim suggested we could sweep aside some of the red sand now and again to create a variation in the ambience.

The Martian was definitely better received than our previous choice, A Clockwork Orange, and we are now in the midst of selecting our next read.

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