A CONFESSION: I didn’t love Andy Weir’s The Martian. Despite all the people telling me at coffee shops/airports/etc. that it was their favorite book, I struggled to get through the prose. (I know, I know…) The story of astronaut Mark Watney and his fully science-enabled quest to stay alive while stranded on Mars was fascinating, but the book’s use of repetitive plot devices and phrasings . . . made it a slog. In short, it was fine—I just thought it needed a good edit.
Ridley Scott’s The Martian is that edit. Freed of Watney’s long monologues and Weir’s deep explanations of botany and chemistry, the movie is far more agile than the book. It’s no less compelling and a whole lot more fun. (At one point, I actually spent an evening doing my taxes just to avoid delving into another chapter of The Martian.) Simply put, the movie is better than the book.
All together now: heresy!
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The age of fast-and-loose optioning , coupled with the rise of self-publishing—which is how Weir’s novel was noticed—means it’s not only much easier for amateur writers to surface, but for their books to hit the big screen. (See also: Fifty Shades of Grey, theDivergent series.) The thing is, while there are many people with good stories to tell, sometimes their storytelling needs work. But with directors like Scott, who has adapted everything from Philip K. Dick to the Book of Exodus, and screenwriters like Drew Goddard, who adapted The Martian, we’re arguably in the midst of the golden age of book adaptations.
Link to the rest at Wired