Surviving Mars and Surviving Loss Are Not So Different

February 2, 2015 9:53 PM

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Let me just start off by saying that I am decidedly NOT a science-fiction fan. Klingons and Trekkies and books and films involving planets, wormholes and warp speed travel leave me longing for a book about here and now reality (and if I can't read psychology or memoir, I would prefer to read about California Tax Code or the taxonomy of larval states over Sci-Fi). You see, I find inner travel and the adventures of what happens inside of humans so fascinating that I don't need to leave the psychology section of the bookstore to find a whole planet of alienation, inner vortexes and learn about how men are from mars and women are from Venus, so to speak -- and this kind of alienation is real and never results in people going to Star Trek conventions dressed up like Darth Vader. That said, sometimes when I hear from a trusted source a book that has meant a lot to them, I am willing to leave the narrowness of my preferred reading material and venture into alien territory. Such an event recently occurred. A trusted source had recently read a book that had kept her up all night, and she was so excited about it she recommended it to me, with an emphatic and important caveat, "I don't like science fiction either." I could tell from her tone how much she loved the book and how this book was different than what she expected from the genre and so I decided to risk it and download the Kindle version.

Now here is the surprising part: I am loving The Martian by Andy Weir. The Martian is a story about an astronaut who is left for dead on Mars after a space storm requires his crewmates to abandon the mission and leave Mars. In the last several days I have eschewed a few demands on my to-do list to f...

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