This book was so close to being a perfect read for me. The only downside was the sheer amount of techno-babble but yet I can't fault the author from putting it all in there. Let me start with a brief synopsis of the book:
A six-man crew was sent to Mars. While there, a sudden sandstorm came up and in process of fleeing to the ship, a crewman was severly injured. The remaining crew thought he died but because of the storm they had little time to investigate. With such high force winds, they couldn't even see through the storm to find his body. They escaped the planet and began their journey home.
I jumped ahead a bit there because we know right from the start that he lived, as the bulk of the story is told via his journals. This is really the diary of a man who had been left for dead on an inhospitable planet and his desire to live. That makes it sound very emotional...it was really more exciting than that.
Back to my original comment about the techno-babble...via his journals he is explaining in detail everything he does to survive (like the process of spltting molecules back to their basic elements). Keep in mind this guy is an astronaut. Without it being technical, I would have a serious problem believing he was really an astronaut. Those guys are brilliant and not just in one area. They need to know about a lot of things because if something happens in space, no one is coming to the rescue. Not quickly anyhow. This also means you spend a lot of time reading about processes you don't care about. For the author, it was really a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario so he opted for authenticity.
Which leads me to some comments I've seen written about this. A lot of people don't think someone incredibly brilliant would joke and make the comments that this guy does. In fact, all the brilliant people I know well are just like this guy - my brother being one of them. This is probably the closest anyone could come to the real personality of a guy in this position. I have to commend the author on this guy's character because it is perfect.
Obviously, I would recommend this book to almost anyone. If you can't handle techno-speak, then it isn't for you but everyone else should read it!!