The Martian movie is better than the book (and that's OK)

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But you have to balance all that against the fact that it’s a left-wing plot, and water something climate change.


Huh, I thought the nerdery was very engaging in the book. Watney’s narrative voice is pretty hilarious, and he describes things in a way that’s both technical and accessible.

But I’ve got tickets to the fancy booze theater for tomorrow, so let’s see how I like the movie!


@Leigh_Alexander was talking about this on twitter last night. Also Reader Player One.

That’s good to hear. I thought that the book was an interesting series of puzzles, but that it would make a poor film because of that.

My goto case study to compare what movies are good at versus books is Remains of the Day. Because it’s a very short book the comparison doesn’t get bogged down with how much was cut from the book. In the book we have this internal narrative which ends up being a very funny window in to the main character’s thinking. In the movie we can SEE when his emotions are completely at odds with what the character is saying…They are both very good in different ways…

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It’s not that uncommon for a film to be “better” than the source book. Pretty much anything by Stephen King seems that way to me. I guess the Harry Potter ones were too as the prose was so dreadful. In contrast it would be very difficult for His Dark Msterials to exceed the novels, despite the wonderful cast, as the writing itself was so good.

The really interesting cases for me are when I find the original excellent and the adaptation exceeds it. Billy Budd Sailor is one I thought that of, I like the Melville novella a lot but I preferred the film.

But the notion that film is an inherently more efficient way to tell stories is among the stupidest, really flat out dumbass, first lines to lead with. I’m annoyed at that level of cretinousness being quoted.


People’s tastes differ. And I’m usually one for all the “hard science” in books, but to say the writing in The Martian isn’t even competent is a bit of a stretch.


Absolutely agree… and the audiobook really highlights that well.


“At one point, I actually spent an evening doing my taxes just to avoid delving into another chapter of The Martian.”

I kind of had to stop at that point in her thesis. I read the book in 2 days - for people that actually read books, they will find it written plenty tight.

I am looking forward to seeing the movie and I do think that books can absolutely be made into excellent movies.
One of the greatest American movies of all time is Shawshank Redemption. But it’s great because they kept so much FROM King’s novella including direct dialog, and of course, Red’s first person narrative.


That sounds amazing.


Sorry, no way! I disagree quite strongly, right up to the point of saying “Bullshit!” But not for the reasons one would imply.

Let’s say you just made a comparison of your favorite beverage to your favorite food, your favorite stretch of Highway 1 with your favorite hiking trail, etc; The input received are two different animals. The book allows for much more of a narrative, much more of a breakdown analysis of the science involved in a trip to Mars and surviving it. (I will bring this Andy Weir interview up here, not just because it ‘explains’ how the book came about but also because it’s plain fun and educational.)

The movie allowed for the epic scenery to take place, it allowed for more dramatic moments and it was a beauty of a movie. But it cut away explanations that made the book. Yes, they were too long-winded for the movie. They cut out a lot of Watney’s humor. Again, long-winded for a movie. But that’s why the book is so great.

And what’s best, unless a person is illiterate or doesn’t have a televison we can consume both. And that’s something I highly encourage.


I’d rather watch a Tony Scott The Martian.

The only film I can think of that was better than the book it was based on was Jaws. But then I just like books more. Although I love films.

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It’s an iPic. They offer “premium” reclining seats where ushers will bring you fancy food and cocktails during the movie, or regular seats which are like cushy armchairs with a side table. You can still bring in food and booze from the bar, but you can’t get service during the movie.

And you pay out the nose for it either way, but it was the only place I could get reserved seats instead of showing up and fighting the crowd.

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We’ve got an ipic and a few other theaters that do this “fancy booze theater” experience up here in Seattle.
It has gotten to the point (crowd wise) that I will gladly pay the premium to get a good seat. Having a beer and fancier snacks along with is just an extra bonus.

(Seattle people: If you haven’t been to the update Cinerama yet do yourself a favor and do so. The Martian or Star Wars in December are your best bets for doing so)

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The rampant nerdery sure felt more entertaining to read and better justified in the plot than most tech-happy-author-novels I can think of. Seveneves, I’m looking at you.


Whining about the details in the martian. Have space suit will travel had suvat equations in it and that was a kids book.
Tell her to try Greg Egans corpus then come back and tell us theres too much technical detail in the martian.


I confess, I stopped reading The Martian because it truly was

a relentless description of some guy’s science project, as dry as the soil on Mars.

So I am happy to hear that the movie may redeem the author’s idea with a far more engaging telling of it–I’m one of those guys who was captivated as a child by Robinson Crusoe on Mars, so I’m ready to return to that state of innocent awe, in that awesome place, except now with more science.

My only problem was Watney’s narrative voice in the book. He was typing in a log not recording a video/audio log the way he (thankfully) seems to be in the movie. The way people write and the way they speak are very different. Example: Saying “Booyah!” is one thing, typing it out is another. Watney (in the book) typed/wrote the way a person would talk and that bothered me. Also, why IS he typing log entries in and not recording them?

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Does it keep the rifraff out?

I think I quit reading Egan after Schild’s Ladder. The characters were just too alien.

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