In space, no one can hear you scream. Over the last several years, fiction has taken a particular interest to the science fiction genre. More specifically, the horror sub-genre. We've been treated to the likes of 28 Days Later, Under the Skin and various episodes of Doctor Who. But science fiction and horror always feature a common feature: the willpower to survive.
And of course many titles within the science fiction genre run around the survival theme. Gravity, Moon, 2001: A Space Odyssey...these are a few of the more prominent titles in this regard. One of the more recent titles to join these is The Martian, and it has a different tone in comparison to some of the other ones. How so? It has a sense of humor to it (albeit a dark one).
Andy Weir's novel is filled with gallows humor, which to be honest is frequently omitted from other fiction of this nature. The novel features a nice balance between that and scientific facts. (Even if you're not well-versed when it comes to science, you can still enjoy the book.) Also, it's nice to see something not take itself too seriously. ("In your face, Neil Armstrong.")
While Ridley Scott's adaptation omits a few scenes (and Drew Goddard's script features less of the novel's dark humor), it's still as entertaining as what Weir initially wrote. And the climax is decidedly way more suspenseful in action. (One can only go so far with the written word.)
So which is better: Weir's novel or Scott's film? Both are quick to grab the audience. Weir's novel has a decidedly more sardonic tone while Scott goes back to his Alien roots for his film to amp up suspense. So it looks like there's only one solution to this problem. (To be honest, it's not much of a problem to begin with.)
What's worth checking out?: Both.