Saturday, 18 July 2015

New SE Book Club Discussion Thread!

So, here's a new thread!

I know a few of you guys have finished it, or are on the way. Let's talk more, and have more spoilers!

I for one, felt ambivalent about the NASA scenes - they made a lot of sense, and kept the plot moving, and gave you some sense about what was happening, but at the same time, I read them as fast as possible so as to get back to Mark's exciting adventures. Anyone else?
[SFW] [SE Book Club] [+6 Good]
[by lrdcthulu@1:27pmGMT]


sanepride said @ 6:26pm GMT on 18th Jul [Score:2]
Haven't read the book but looking at the cover I say don't bring him home. He's a lunatic. He'll head-butt your space helmet till it leaks and blow up the ship trying to enter through an unsealed airlock.
rndmnmbr said[1] @ 6:50pm GMT on 18th Jul [Score:1 Informative]
What's funny is, in the book, he does blow up an airlock and headbutts the inside so hard that his helmet leaks.

Also someone else blows up a different airlock to make all the air leak out, for good reasons.
steele said @ 7:13pm GMT on 18th Jul
I predict 'Leaving Matt Damon stranded alone on a planet' is going to be The Next Big Trend in movie making. If you think about it, Elysium was part of the natural progression.
Ebichuman said @ 4:23pm GMT on 18th Jul [Score:1 Interesting]
I really found the main character hard to like. The casual jokey tone often felt forced, and I felt like the character was more a snarky clown bestowed with magical science abilities (and just the right amount of fallibility to move the story forward) than a three dimensional human.

But like HoZay, I really liked the problem solving, and it just made it easy to grab and read on the subway, since there was always something waiting to be resolved.
lilmookieesquire said[1] @ 5:15pm GMT on 18th Jul
I had no problems with the main character in that I think he was trying to stay positive and not be depressed- like that's how he would have handled an ongoing crisis and he was specially selected for those traits.

What I found hard to believe is that other people would have wanted/liked to hang around him. For a guy being alone and abandoned on mars, I thought the personality was perfect- but he didn't seem particularly charismatic, no?

edit: and I fancy they didn't really. Like he was kind of more tolerated, especially given that he was trapped on mars and everyone thought they were likely talking to a dead man.
rndmnmbr said @ 6:04pm GMT on 18th Jul [Score:1 Underrated]
He seems to get more snarky and jokey as time progresses, and to me that indicates a slow emotional breakdown from isolation, and greater amounts of humor to offset that breakdown. And the humor slowly gets more juvenile because he's alone and doesn't have anyone to bounce it off of.

By the time NASA re-establishes contact, he's been alone on Mars for three months, believing that everyone thinks he's dead, and all too aware that he probably won't be able to grow enough food to survive until Ares 4. Of course he's a little off.
moriati said @ 8:19pm GMT on 18th Jul [Score:1 Informative]
I read (I think) that the book grew out of a series of blog posts - that it wasn't originally intended, certainly not started, to be a novel and I think this has an impact, particularly on the flow of the first half of the story.
HoZay said @ 3:16pm GMT on 18th Jul
I enjoyed the book, but I also enjoy solving problems with numbers and quick estimates. For a lot of people, the whole interior monologue would be super boring. I'm curious to see how this will translate to an interesting movie. Maybe more vehicle crashes, or more violent weather events. A barely-perceptible dust storm?
lilmookieesquire said @ 4:12pm GMT on 18th Jul
I thought the book was dry in a way that suited it perfectly and enhanced the story.
I also thought the characters internal monologue contrasted nicely with that.
I really enjoyed the failures in the book- the Hab seams failing; the protein bars fiasco; the accidental completed circuit with the drill.

I thought the book lost a lot of intensity when he was reconnected with NASA and I thought he'd obviously have to lose contact with them again or the book would be too boring. (The one man challenge/survivor story gets lost)
knucklehead said @ 4:17pm GMT on 18th Jul [Score:3]
Felt similar, but whole reconnect with NASA was made up with "Boobs". Also I feel like the movie will have to be a series of montages.
steele said @ 5:14pm GMT on 18th Jul
It'll be interesting to see what they do. They could introduce a wilson for him to talk to and explain what's going on...:P

It wouldn't surprise me though if they skip over a lot of explaining the science stuff and use voiceovers of his letters to the crewmates as soundtracks to his getting shit done montages. break them up with the crisises/nasa-back at the ranch and you could get a decent rhythm going on while still creating an emotional connection to the character and his plight.
lilmookieesquire said[1] @ 9:14pm GMT on 18th Jul
I thought there's lots of excitI got stuff to space out.

Exciting stuff
-the original storm (shabby stabby)
-additional dreams:flashback to more of the storm
-Hab pops, violently thrown out
-protein bar fiasco
-suspenseful rover tips
-Launch from mars

Intersperse the plot
throw in some nasa guys running around as their supervisor yells at them

Boring stuff:
The general set up
Dealing with the poo poo/peepee gags
Wife and kids at home (not in book but awesome movie fodder)
Potatoe growing montage
Showing how he suits up the eva
Exiting and entering the air lock
Showing how the rovers work
Explaining the equipment
Showing him exploring and getting the pathfinder etc
Shots of people hoping he gets back, crying people, shuttles launching into space with a count down...

You probably got an hour and a half right there

Edit: I think Steele is onto something. I predict "Rover ol' Buddy".
steele said @ 11:50pm GMT on 19th Jul [Score:1 laz0r]
"Spuds McKenzie" :D
lilmookieesquire said @ 1:23am GMT on 20th Jul
steele said @ 1:35am GMT on 20th Jul
Don't forget to add Brawndo on myspace! :O
Bruceski said @ 5:23pm GMT on 18th Jul
The people felt very real to me. Things like "we simply didn't think there would be any reason someone would be on Mars without access to the lander so we put all our redundant communications stuff on it" and "at this rate it would be easier just to... wait, let me crunch that..." that's how engineering happens.
rndmnmbr said @ 5:51pm GMT on 18th Jul
There was just one science bug that bit me: all food sent up into space is gamma irradiated to kill bacteria and prevent spoilage. Gamma irradiation will also render potatoes unable to sprout. So either future-NASA isn't irradiating their food anymore, and that begs the question of how else they kept the potatoes from sprouting and/or spoiling on the way to Mars, or Watley was going to get awfully hungry waiting for a crop that would never happen.
HoZay said @ 6:17pm GMT on 18th Jul
Yeah, the viable potatoes was a big suspension of disbelief for me.
rndmnmbr said @ 6:55pm GMT on 18th Jul [Score:1 Underrated]
After more consideration, potatoes would be the optimal choice if you were going to ship off unsterilized food to Mars. They're long-lasting to begin with, and with careful refrigeration they would make it and still be viable. However, the thought that NASA would send up unsterilized food is the difficult stretch for me.
Jodan said @ 7:12pm GMT on 27th Jul
one thing that got me was how much sunlight was getting into the hab. or did he have uv lights i dont remember him talking too much about windows.
rndmnmbr said @ 10:42pm GMT on 27th Jul
Ooo, that one slipped by me. And seeing as the Hab was designed to block solar radiation for crew safety, and that would include UV... yeah, I doubt the Hab's interior lighting would have been good enough to grow crops. There's a good reason why weed growers burn up thousands of kWh on high-intensity grow lights, and without some amazing efficiency gains in solar panels, there's no way he could have powered that kind of lighting even if he had it.

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