S&L Podcast Rewind: 'The Martian Influx' Redux

With the huge success of the film adaptation this month, we thought it would be fun to travel back in time to our interview with The Martian author Andy Weir and Influx author Daniel Suarez

If you're interested in picking up where that episode left off, you can follow this link to the Soundcloud page (audio should start at the 45:05 mark).

As noted, Patrons will receive this episode at no charge. Enjoy!

Download episode directly here.

S&L Podcast - #176 - Martians and Panda Pants

Veronica is back from China to regale us tales of motorboating pandas, but first we announce our June book pick and wrap-up The Martian by Andy Weir. Is it as scientifically accurate as so many say? We get an aerospace engineer's perspective. 

Direct download here!

Watch the hangout here on YouTube.

WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?    

Tom: Smithwick's     
Veronica: Anchor California Lager    

QUICK BURNS  

So what do you think of this year's winners?
Nebula Winners    
Former PC Gamer editor Gary Whitta is writing a Star Wars film    
LOCKE LAMORA TV series in the works: update    
FINALISTS: 2014 John W. Campbell Memorial Award    
H.R. Giger passes away    

PICKS    

Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi    
Dreams of Gods & Monsters    

Find more upcoming releases at swordandlaser.com/calendar    

BARE YOUR SWORD   

Godzilla (2014)    
Fan-Made Trailer For Jim Butcher's Next Dresden Files Book    

BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION    

June book: Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
WARNING: Hachette and Amazon are having a fight which may affect shipping times for print copies. Might want to buy print copies elsewhere for the time being.    

Order Promise of Blood from Powell's
Order Promise of Blood from Amazon

Brian McClellan interview on Sword and Laser   

Wrap-up the Martian    

Peril overload.    
think a movie adaption is possible?    
-- Ridley Scott in talks to direct Matt Damon in The Martian    
What does NASA think about The Martian?    

FEATURED REVIEW: The Martian by Andy Weir

Welcome to our Featured Reviews! In this series, we'll be highlighting book reviews by the S&L audience. If you want to submit a review, please check out the guidelines here! -Veronica

Review by Dara Heaps

The Martian starts with our protagonist, Mark Watney (a smart Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation to me) getting struck by shrapnel from a communication satellite as he and his crew mates evac on Mars, leaving Watney behind. This premise could be very dry with all of the technical details about oxygenators and CO2 scrubbers and water reclaimers but author Andy Weir  makes it interesting. Watney has such a great voice and he's very funny, pulling the reader into the story and immediately making Watney sympathetic. 

Lucky for Watney, he is a botanist and mechanical engineer, making him well-suited to survive alone on another planet. He's able to fix problems that arise (make water from rocket fuel, build things out of spare parts, repair his home) and grow some food from Earth soil mixed with Martian soil (yay potatoes! Boo human manure. Smelly business). To keep things interesting, (Mark is alone. Things would get boring if things didn't go wrong) bad things sometimes happen. It's fun to see how Mark figures out how to solve these problems with his limited resources.

The book also follows NASA personnel on Earth as they make plans to rescue Mark. We also spend some time with Mark's crew mates aboard the Hermes. These characters aren't as fleshed out as Watney is but that's alright. After all, this is Mark's story. The NASA folks have interesting interactions and plenty of disagreements about the right course of action. I enjoyed the Earth parts as much as Mark's parts.

Not only is the plot to The Martian gripping but the writing is great as well. It's descriptive but not overly technical without sacrificing the emotion. The research that went into this book shows. Everything that happens seems totally plausible. The technology is basically modern day with perhaps a few advanced pieces of hardware but nothing that's space magic. I'm kind of floored that this is Weir's first novel. It completely blew me away. Maybe in a few years, this will be turned into a movie. Gravity meets Moon!