Learning from the Book Blurb and the First Line of ‘The Martian’

Author: Andy Weir

This post contains no spoilers so read without trepidation.  However, you have probably already read this book because its been out a while, a movie has been made and the BOOK IS AMAZING!

Genre – Science Fiction or just plain fiction?

Again, my local chain bookstore had shelved this in a strange location, resulting in my wandering the aisles aimlessly, which I do whenever I get into a bookstore anyway. However, I like logic and it was shelved illogically in the literature section.

Umm… unless, I just woke up from a 20 year stupor, I’m pretty sure we haven’t visited Mars yet. This would put this book into the realm of science fiction. *sheesh*

Book BlurbThe Martian paperback

‘When a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, astronaut Mark Watney finds himself stranded on Mars’s surface, completely alone.

Armed with nothing but his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–Mark embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?’

This blurb is fantastic. Only three sentences long and it does its job brilliantly. The first sentence tells you the setting is Mars, and the main character is Mark Watney, an astronaut. The next sentence characterizes the protagonist. You learn that he is smart and skilled with a ‘gallows sense of humor’. The blurb is setting you up to like him before you even read the first page.

The words used in the blurb evoke images that bring the book to life: ‘stranded on Mars’, ‘armed with nothing but his ingenuity’ and ‘dogged quest’. The hyperbole of ‘impossible odds’ in the last sentence makes the reader want to discover if he succeeded. Also, the last sentence is a question, which engages the reader.

Knowing that I’m going to have to come up with a book blurb of my own, I really appreciate one done so well.

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