Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Andy Weir's The Martian. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Martian: Introduction
The Martian: Plot Summary
The Martian: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Martian: Themes
The Martian: Quotes
The Martian: Characters
The Martian: Symbols
The Martian: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Andy Weir
Historical Context of The Martian
Other Books Related to The Martian
- Full Title: The Martian
- When Written: 2009-2011
- Where Written: California, USA
- When Published: 2012
- Literary Period: 21st Century Popular Fiction
- Genre: Speculative Fiction / Science Fiction
- Setting: The events of The Martian take place on Mars, Earth, and in outer space. The novel is set around the year 2035.
- Climax: When Watney’s modified Ares 4 MAV launches him into space and the drag from the flapping canvas on the front of the ship slows his ascent. As a result, Hermes is no longer on track to intercept the MAV and rescue Watney. On Earth, NASA scientists watch this crisis unfolding, but are unable to help. The Ares 3 crew on Hermes successfully rescues Watney by speeding up the ship and then intentionally breaching Hermes’ airlock to slow the ship in time to intercept the MAV.
- Point of View: Much of the novel is told from Mark Watney’s point of view; these passages take the form of Watney’s log entries during the Mars mission. Weir alternates between the log entries and passages narrated from third-person omniscient and third-person limited perspectives.
Extra Credit for The Martian
Publication History. Weir originally published The Martian in serial form on his website—a fact that explains why many of the novel’s chapters close with cliff-hanger endings. In 2012, Weir self-published the novel as an ebook on Amazon. After becoming an Amazon bestseller, The Martian was picked up by Random House Book’s Crown Publishing imprint. It went on to become a #1 New York Times bestseller.
Film Adaptation. A star-studded film adaptation of The Martian was released in 2015. The cast includes Matt Damon as Mark Watney, Jessica Chastain as Commander Lewis, Kristen Wigg as Annie Montrose, and Jeff Daniels as Teddy Sanders. The film won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, and Damon won a Golden Globe for Best Performance.