Fiction: “Live and Let Die” by Ian Fleming

live and let dieMy Project Bond research continues apace – if by “apace” you mean “very very slowly, but at least I haven’t abandoned the project totally, so there’s that.”

Live and Let Die is the second book in the original James Bond series by Ian Fleming, and this is my second read of the book. I just reread my first review of it (handily found here), and there’s really not a whole lot I want to add to it, to be honest.

[[Holy shit, I actually did a kindof okay job reviewing a book? I can read that review and know the majority of the plot, and nothing was spoiled, and in addition, there’s also some literary criticism? Maybe I’m not completely pants at this thing like I thought maybe I was?? I’m scared too, you guys. Don’t worry, I’ll be back to being shite at this sometime next week.]]

I can say that I’ve added three movies to the list of Bond movies I’ve watched: MoonrakerSpectre, Skyfall – digression, but it’s so weird to me that my first review of this book was before Skyfall came out. I mean, that is weird. Is it weird to find something you may have written, like a journal entry, or something from a diary you wrote in years past, where when you were writing that, you had no idea what was going to happen, and then an event happens and it changes your perception of other things?

Like, when I originally reviewed Live and Let Die, my favorite Bond movie was still a tie between Goldfinger (because Goldfinger is the universally-acknowledged Best Bond Anything Ever, No, You’re Wrong, Shut Up), and Casino Royale (because reasons, namely the scene where Le Chiffre tortures Bond in the chair) (holy shit when I first reviewed Live and Let Die I did not know that Mads Mikkleson would soon rise from relative Bond Villain obscurity to the King of Cannibals, Hannibal Lecter. I didn’t know Hannibal was a thing!! That’s so weird to me right now).

[[Also, super!digression, but speaking of Hannibal, Facebook reminded me that one year ago today was when I learned of Hannibal‘s cancellation. I would like to link you to that finger-quotes “review,” because that post — along with the above-linked finger-quotes “review” of Moonraker — is easily in my top five favorite blog posts I’ve ever written. Cheers. And also, the person who left the voicemail wasn’t actually Hannibal.]]

So back then, I didn’t really have an inkling of wanting to talk about James Bond. Casino Royale was good, but it wasn’t genre-shattering or anything. But Skyfall – you know what, I’ll get into this as I write my Project Bond book, but, haters to the goddamned left, Skyfall is a fucking masterpiece.

It wasn’t until Skyfall that I saw potential in digging into Bond’s character. Sam Mendes did so much with the character – giving him even more of an emotional tie to M, his backstory with the Skyfall lodge – it intrigued me. In addition, people were all up in arms over the fact that the gadgets and Bond girls were taking a backseat that they hated the movie, and I just wanted to prove them wrong.

Then, the whole, FUCK THIS GUY over Idris Elba being “too street” to play Bond last fall, and ta-da. Project X was born.

One thing that I did notice in this re-read was the usage of death imagery. Even more than just the title, Bond and the villain, Mr. Big, both spend a couple of paragraphs each talking about their attitudes towards death. One could also argue that Mr. Big is described in a way to evoke the idea that Mr. Big is Bond’s intellectual equal. A big (sorry) deal is made over Mr. Big’s genius, and the only person who comes close to ending his criminal empire (or, spoiler alert!, who does end said empire) is James Bond.

There’s a quote from Auric Goldfinger in the movie named for him, where he describes his desire to be the best criminal in the world, and I believe the same speech could be applied to Mr. Big:

Man has climbed Mt. Everest; gone to the bottom of the ocean. He’s fired rockets at the moon, split the atom, achieved miracles in every field of human endeavor … except crime!

I look forward to delving deeper into Bond as a character. Hopefully just in time for them to realize that Gillian Anderson is the optimal choice to play James Bond.

WATCH THIS AND TELL ME I’M WRONG I FUCKING DARE YOU

give it to me NOW.gif

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Fiction: “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

pride & prejudice

So I have no idea what this review is going to look like. Dear High School Students Who Are Beginning to Write Their Essay on Pride and Prejudice Approximately Twelve Hours Before The Essay Is Due Who Happened to Find My Blog Via Google: I fucking feel for you. However, I must advise you: I’m writing this review four fucking months after I read it, and to make matters fucking worse, I’m smack-fucking-dab in the middle of my upty-ninth attempt to finish Deadwood, and Al Swearengen is not only at the top of his game, but also impacting my fucking words.

If there’s anyone out there who doesn’t already know the plot of Pride and Prejudice, raise your fucking hand.

Goddammit, E.B.

[[sidenote: I spend at least five minutes of every Deadwood episode cursing out E.B. Farnham and his goddamned jackassery.]]

Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen’s classic tale of classist marital strife. Mrs. Bennet wants to see her five daughters get married off, because their estate is entailed to a male cousin. Basically, when Mr. Bennet kicks the fucking bucket, the females of his family will be cast out upon their shapely rears without so much as a farthing to their fucking name.

Jane, the eldest Bennet, falls in love with Charles Bingley, new owner of Netherfield Hall. He falls in love with her likewise; but his love is curtailed by the misguided advice of his trusted friend, Mr. Darcy. Darcy doesn’t think that Jane truly loves Bingley, because she doesn’t swan about like any other fucking —

[[here’s where my writing exercise comes to blows with my actual feelings, re: Pride and Prejudice: my attempt to write in Al Swearengen’s voice wants to say “fucking whore” here, but my normal sensibilities wouldn’t allow that.]]

[[to be honest, I also don’t want anyone to think that I hate the book because of all the swearing – far from it. I love this book – having come to love it after a few years of detesting it, and then also being fairly meh about it. But Al Swearengen would be the first to fucking tell you that copious amounts of fucking profanity does not mean that the cocksucker using those terms hates the thing of which he’s fucking speaking.

so please note: I really do love Pride and Prejudice. But I also love exercising my creative writing skills, and “Al Swearengen reviewing Pride and Prejudice” is an excellent exercise, second only to “Addison De Witt reviews Hamilton“.]]

So Mr. Darcy not only turns Bingley away from Jane, but he dares insult Jane’s younger sister, Elizabeth, behind her fucking back. He almost goes out of his way to be fucking miserable to Elizabeth, and when Darcy and Bingley return to London, Elizabeth is glad to have seen the back of him.

Elizabeth goes to visit her friend, Charlotte, who married the male cousin who has the entail to the Bennet estate (it should be noted that the male cousin, Mr. Collins, a right fucking hooplehead if ever there was one, attempted to marry both Jane and Elizabeth first; when Elizabeth rightly turned his proposal down, he  moved on down the fucking lane to Charlotte). The hoopleheads live on the property of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who happens to be Mr. Darcy’s aunt. When Darcy also visits the estate, he gets Elizabeth alone at the parsonage and fucking proposes, completely blindsiding her. She rejects him, and he goes on his fucking way, the way a man should, because no means fucking ‘no.’

Later, Lydia runs off with Wickham, a right fucking cocksucker who shares a history with Darcy. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth (until nearly the end of the book), Darcy works behind the scenes to get Wickham to marry Lydia so that she is not “ruined,” but Lydia’s such a spoiled little brat that she would have deserved a good ruining. Anyway, Elizabeth finds out about Darcy’s involvement with the whole fucking situation, and when she thanks him for his efforts, he tells her he did it all for her.

[[Okay, I’ve finished watching this episode of Deadwood, so my exercise is over. I actually do want to point out a couple of things, and I need my Alaina-voice to do so.]]

First of all, let’s talk about Mr. Darcy and how he is yet another fictional character who has ruined me for all non-fictional men. Sure, he starts off as an asshole, but through his conversations with Mr. Bingley’s sisters we the reader find out that his dickishness is brought on by an attempt to hide his feelings. And, to his point, Mrs. Bennet is an awful, embarrassing character; an opinion of Mrs. Bennet could indeed set someone off from one of her daughters.

And so Darcy wrestles with his feelings – he doesn’t understand why Elizabeth enchants him so, and he struggles to subdue how he feels because a) marrying into the Bennet family would be a step down from what he has, and b) who wants to marry into a family with such a shrewish mother-in-law? and c) I don’t think he knows what love was up until Elizabeth, so maybe he doesn’t know what he’s feeling.

His wrestling with himself, to Elizabeth, comes across as being an asshole. So when he visits her in the parsonage, and he starts pacing back and forth, she has no fucking idea that this is what he’s going to say:

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” [p. 213]

It’s not until the last four words of that paragraph that Elizabeth even knows how he’s feeling. For all she knows, up until “admire,” he could be gearing himself up to say “loath and detest you and your family.” She doesn’t know!

And people will say that Darcy is not romantic; that being so mean to Elizabeth and then coming into her guest room and basically saying, “I love you, and even though I hadn’t given you any inclination to that up until now, we should marry because I say so” isn’t romantic. But when you look at the literary definition of romantic, to mean “marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized” [Thanks, Merriam Webster!], then Mr. Darcy is the exact definition of romantic.

And speaking from the perspective of someone who never has any idea if someone is flirting with me (see this review for an entirely real conversation between myself and my Dear Friend Kerri; it’s below the quote from When Harry Met Sally…), this is what I expect to happen in my life. I’ll be dealing with someone – a stranger; the Aaron Burr to my Alexander Hamilton (“we keep meeting…”); and I don’t love him. He’s kind of a dick. But he’s the one to break the ice and tell me that he loves me, because I have not experienced what romantic love looks like outside of novels.

Want more proof that Mr. Darcy is romantic and, also, imaginary? When Elizabeth declines his proposal, he accepts it. He does write her a letter in an effort to explain his point of view in the whole Wickham mess; and at the beginning of the letter he tells her that he’s not writing her in an attempt to change her mind; he’s writing to give her the full view of the story. Do you hear that, Tinder Guys I’ve Heard So Much About But Never Interacted With Because Yick? No means no means no.

Mr. Collins, the Original Hooplehead, does not understand the basic concept of consent, as evidenced here:

“When I do myself the honour of speaking to you next on this subject I shall hope to receive a more favourable answer than you have now given me; though I am far from accusing you of cruelty at present, because I know it to be the established custom of your sex to reject a man on the first application, and perhaps you have even now said as much to encourage my suit as would be consistent with the true delicacy of the female character.”

“Really, Mr. Collins,” cried Elizabeth with some warmth, “you puzzle me exceedingly. If what I have hitherto said can appear to you in the form of encouragement, I know not how to express my refusal in such a way as may convince you of its being one.” [p. 124]

It also doesn’t hurt my esteem of Pride and Prejudice that one of my favorite books and movies is based on it, to the point of a) naming its male romantic lead Mark Darcy, and, in an inspired twist, b) hiring Colin Firth to play Mark Darcy in the film, after playing the formative Mr. Darcy in the BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice; this would be Bridget Jones’s Diary.

I could go on about how Elizabeth is also one of the first feminist characters in literature – or, at least, more feminist than what we’ve seen for a couple of centuries; I’d wager that Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing was a feminist, but when centuries pass and we’re left with Emily from The Mysteries of Udolpho for a while, Elizabeth’s determination to marry for love seems downright earth-shattering – but I’m not going to. For two reasons: 1) I need to go the fuck to bed, and 2) I also won’t write the goddamned essay for the high schoolers; they should look shit up on Wikipedia, like I couldn’t, because it didn’t exist back then.

Also, if you haven’t watched Deadwood, you should get the fuck on that.

[[sorry i said ‘fuck’ so much.]]

Grade for Pride and Prejudice: 5 stars

 

 

Fiction: “Brooklyn” by Colm Tóibín

BrooklynIn a way, it’s a good thing that I’m currently suffering from a huge bout of Book ADD. I’m still reading the 800-page behemoth that is the biography of Alexander Hamilton (asked of me at the gym yesterday, coming off of my 30-minute bike workout: “What on earth is that light reading you’ve got going on there?”), but I have no interest in any other books. Nor do I have any idea of what I’m going to read when A dot Ham is through. [[iTunes, did you just pull up “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”? Goddammit – let’s see if I can get through this track without crying for once]]

This book ADD is awful, because look, I like reading in bed: lying prone in silence helps me fall asleep. And as interesting as the Alexander Hamilton biography is, it is hard as fuck to fall asleep while reading a book that, should it land on your face, could cause your septum to deviate from the force of the fall.

But the good side to only reading one book at lunch time for the time being is: ostensibly, I should have the ability to complete a few reviews and get almost caught up before my sister gets married at the end of the month. So – here we go.

Brooklyn was the last title I was able to get for my Oscar!Watch!Read project. It’s the story of Eilis Lacey (pronounced Eye-liss), the youngest girl in an Irish family, who emigrates to America – Brooklyn, to be specific – in the 1950s in the hopes of bettering her life. Her brothers have all moved to England to find employment; her sister, Rose, works as an accountant in a mill. Eilis wanted to follow in her sister’s footsteps, but the opportunity simply isn’t there. Also not there are decent prospects for dating and marriage; none of the men in her age group show her any interest.

Rose corresponds with Father Flood, a priest from their hometown who currently resides in Brooklyn. Through their efforts, they are able to send Eilis to Brooklyn to find work and take classes towards an accounting degree. Eilis makes the journey by herself, and comes down with an awful case of seasickness. Her berthmate gives her tips on how to survive the rest of the week’s journey, and when she reaches Ellis Island she moves through the emigration line smoothly.

She has a room with Mrs. Keough, another Irish lady who runs a boarding house of other Irish ladies. They all work during the week, have dinner together at night, go out dancing on Saturdays and to church on Sundays. At first, Eilis is terribly homesick – the letters to and from Ireland do not arrive rapidly. Her sadness begins to permeate her every moment, including her shifts on the sales floor of the department store where she works. Unlike some other department stores where I’ve worked, Eilis’s manager asks her what’s wrong, and brings in Father Flood for guidance.

At one of the Saturday night dances, Eilis meets Tony Fiorello, an Italian plumber who has a thing for Irish girls. He sweetly walks her home, and they begin dating. Over time – between Eilis’s classes at the local night college, making friends with her fellow boarders, and her dates and time spent with Tony – Eilis’s homesickness goes away. Before she (and the reader) knows it, a year has passed, and Eilis is beginning to see her future in a home with Tony on Long Island.

And then, Rose passes away suddenly. Eilis goes back home to help her mother at the behest of her brothers. But because she loves Tony, and he wants an assurance that she’ll come back to him, they secretly marry before she sails back to Ireland. She is supposed to be gone for only a month. When she gets there, her mother simply assumes she’s back for good, and the assumptions pile on so quickly and effortlessly that Eilis finds herself buried underneath them – she is unable to tell her mother that she met anyone, let alone married him. Her best friend is getting married in six weeks, and it’s assumed that Eilis will stay for the ceremony, so Eilis finds herself writing to New York to extend her stay.

Meanwhile, her friend (whose name escapes me – sorry!) and her friend’s fiance ask Eilis to come out with them, and they bring Jim along – Jim being one of the boys who wouldn’t pay attention to her when she lived in town, but now that she’s lived in America she’s interesting. Eilis finds herself drawn to Jim, and there starts to be a chance that maybe she won’t return to Tony …

Brooklyn is a very quiet, pretty book. The only drama to speak of is all internal to Eilis’s thoughts and desires, and the translation of those thoughts and desires into words are beautifully-written. I was going to call the story “elegiac,” but then I found out that I’ve been using that word incorrectly all these years, because the story isn’t “mournful” whatsoever.

It’s … elegant? No, it’s like … hm. I thought I had the perfect word. Serene? Aside from whatever inner turmoil Eilis experiences? And even then, the turmoil seems minimal. Dammit, I am not as good at this as I thought.

Okay, clearly I don’t have the right word. The feeling, as best as I can figure, would be akin to floating down a lazy river in an innertube, like you used to be able to do at one of the waterparks at Disney World. The world is serene, and quiet, and you are connected to your thoughts because that’s all you have, but your thoughts are pleasant and good. You drift where the current takes you, and maybe you make a decision – left fork, right fork? – but the decision doesn’t have a lot of tension surrounding it. Whatever happens, happens, but you’re directing your own current.

And that’s what Eilis is doing in Brooklyn. At first, the decision for her to move to Brooklyn wasn’t really hers – Rose and Father Flood worked together to present her with this option of moving to America, and she took it because she knew how much Rose wanted it for her to prosper. When she got to Brooklyn, she was out of sorts. She threw herself into her studies, worked hard at her job, and then had the strength of confidence to find herself happy with Tony. Rose suddenly passes, and now Eilis is at her fork in the stream: does she go back to Ireland to help her mother, or stay with Tony in Brooklyn? Her decision is made, but not anguished over. Her decision to return to Tony (oh sorry – spoiler alert!) is made quickly, once the time to make that decision arises, but the decision is made with all the conviction in her heart based on the journey she’s taken.

The film is an exceptionally beautiful film. The colors are spectacular, and wonderfully evoke New York City in the 1950s. Saoirse Ronan inhabits Eilis perfectly, and it’s almost too bad she was up against Brie Larson in Room, because any other year, she may have had a chance at the Oscar. It’s such a sweet film, really. Also, should you decide to rent it, make sure you have tissues handy.

Anyway. I finished the Oscar!Watch!Read project in time for the Oscars to air, and I really feel like I was able to get a good grasp of the different degrees to which a film’s script can be adapted from a source material. I have a feeling – because I’m a masochist, first and foremost – that next year, I’m going to try and repeat this performance.

Having said that – hopefully, I’ll finish Alexander Hamilton by then. Even better, I hope to have figured out what I’m going to read after it.

Grade for Brooklyn: 4 stars

Fiction: “The Martian” by Andy Weir

MartianTwo Oscar!Watch titles down, two to go! (and then another six books after that, and guys, I am now imposing a deadline upon myself: I need to get caught up with this shit before my sister’s wedding. I do not have time for further dilly-dallying. I mean, good news, the TV season will end soon, and also, I’m currently reading Alexander Hamilton, and that is an 800-page beast. So hopefully, I’ll get caught up with my books by the time I have to drive down to D.C. to pick up a Very Important Photographer, because once I punch out of work on that Friday, there ain’t gonna be no Alaina-Time until June.)

I saw The Martian when it came out last October, and holy shit, you guys – if you haven’t seen the movie, you need to. It was my favorite movie of 2015 until I saw The Force Awakens, and look, if you want to send me off on a rant, then go ahead and get me started on how the fuck the fucking Revenant got nominated for Best Picture when The Force Awakens made me feel ALL THE FEELINGS and the fucking Revenant only made me feel fucking ANGRY.

Someday, when I have either more time or less of a life, I will create the Alaina Awards, in which I reward movies that truly deserve it. And first up for a Reparations Oscar (am I allowed to use that word? God, I hope so) is The Force Awakens.

(I mean, Spotlight was amazing and I’m still exceptionally happy that it did win Best Picture. But The Force Awakens! BB-8, YOU GUYS – BB-8 FOR BEST ACTOR)

Okay. So. Anyway. The Martian. I saw it, and lo, it was amazing. And then I read the book.

The story is about Mark Watney, the engineer-botanist astronaut in a team of astronauts who have been sent on a mission to study Mars. I shouldn’t have to point out that this is science-fiction, but I’m going to anyway. And I should also point out that it’s really fiction that’s heavily-steeped in science, as opposed to fantastical elements. The only Martian in the story is Watney.

Not too far into the astronaut’s mission on the planet’s surface, a dust-storm brews up, and they have to evacuate back to Earth prematurely. En route to the evacuation vehicle, Watney gets knocked off course by debris, and the crew are forced to leave him behind, believing him to have died on impact. They load up into the evacuation vehicle, link up with the shuttle, and depart for Earth.

Watney, however, wakes up the next day to his space suit beeping at him, warning him of his dangerously low oxygen levels. The debris that hit him was a bar of rebar (or something), and while the impact punctured his suit, the hole in the suit was also sealed enough by his blood and stuff to allow Watney to continue breathing while unconscious. He manages to crawl his way back to the Hab (the habitation quarters for the astronauts), suture his wound by himself, and then realize that he’s alive and alone on Mars.

Watney discovers that the storm knocked out all communication with Earth – the evac vehicle had a good amount of the communications devices, but the backup satellites were damaged and are unable to be repaired. So Watney has no way to tell NASA or his co-astronauts that he survived the storm.

So now, he’s truly on Mars. Alone.

But instead of committing suicide, he knows that the next mission to Mars is in approximately 500 sols (Mars-days, slightly longer than an Earth-day). He knows where he is, and he knows where the landing site is going to be, and he knows he can get there. But how can he spare his rations to live that long?

Remember when I said that Watney was a botanist? And conveniently, NASA sent up pre-packaged Thanksgiving dinners, complete with actual potatoes. Watney comes up with a plan to cover the Hab floor with makeshift soil so he can plant potatoes in the simulated Earth atmosphere. But what about water? Well …

Watney records his journey and travails in the Sol Log – astronauts record their doings and discoveries in a log, and even though this is now practically Mission: Watney, Watney continues the tradition. The majority of the book is Watney’s log entries, but there are chapters that return to Earth or the astronauts who are on their way back home.

About a third of the way into the book, an overnight observer at NASA realizes that one of the small rovers near the Hab has been moved since the evacuation. She keeps an eye on it, and sure enough, it moves a bit every day. She brings this information to her supervisor, and that’s when they realize that Watney’s still alive – this after the head of NASA had announced his tragic death.

But because there’s limited communication, NASA doesn’t know how Watney’s doing, or even what he’s doing. Conversely, Watney doesn’t know that NASA figured out he’s alive. But Watney, like a lot of us human beings, has an intense drive to survive. So dammit, that’s what he’s going to do.

His first step after figuring out how to grow potatoes in Martian soil is to retrofit one of the rovers for a longer journey. He then takes that rover and travels about twenty sols (because rovers really don’t move that fast) and rescues the Mars Pathfinder rover. When the NASA scientists realize what he’s doing, they contact their top tech guys at Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) to get the MS-DOS stored on Pathfinder to work again, and this gives them communication back to Watney.

The entire book is filled with that type of stuff: something happens on Mars. Watney deals with it. NASA figures out what Watney’s doing, figures out ways to help Watney from Earth. Something else happens, so now both Watney and NASA are on to Plan D.

This is an awesome story, even if at more than a couple of points, I almost shouted, “What the fuck ELSE could go wrong?!” Because there are a lot of things that go wrong. But I do want to reassure everyone that Watney gets brought home.

The film steers very close to the book – what I liked about the film is we could actually see the science behind Watney’s problem-solvings, although the book does a very good job about describing those concepts. (It’s much more user-friendly than The Big Short was in that regard.)

What I really enjoyed about the book and the movie is the character of Mark Watney. He’s a scientist that’s funny, that can make pop culture references, be relatable, and also competent in the face of danger. We don’t always get his “scared” emotions in the book, because we’re hearing about most of the events through Watney’s log entries, and he’s trying to put on a brave face for the NASA recorders who will have to read them once they’re transmitted back to Earth. The movie does take those moments to show how scared Watney is in the face of almost certain doom, which I appreciated.

But the best part of the book, the movie, and the character of Mark Watney himself: are his quotes.

You may have seen this one before, but the juxtaposition is just … so priceless.  The ‘Teddy’ is the chairman (or whatever) of NASA, and Venkat(*) is the lead scientist on the Ares 3 mission.

Teddy swiveled his chair and looked out the window to the sky beyond. Night was edging in. “What must it be like?” he pondered. “He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?”

He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61

How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense. [p. 76]

When NASA and Watney are finally able to exchange emails, we get to see how Watney interacts with the rest of his crew and the scientists back on Earth. Their communications are illuminating.

In other news, I got an e-mail from Venkat Kapoor:

Mark, some answers to your earlier questions:

No, we will not tell our Botany Team to “Go fuck themselves.” I understand you’ve been on your own for a long time, but we’re in the loop now, and it’s best if you listen to what we have to say.

The Cubs finished the season at the bottom of the NL Central.

The data transfer rate just isn’t good enough for the size of music files, even in compressed formats. So your request for “Anything, oh God, ANYTHING but Disco” is denied. Enjoy your boogie fever.  [p. 176]

Mark Watney’s sense of humor has been described as “black humor.” I can attest to that, based on his dining options for his trek to the Ares 4 launch site:

I saved five meal packs for special occasions. I wrote their names on each one. I get to eat “Departure” the day I leave for Schiaparelli. I’ll eat “Halfway” when I reach the 1600-kilometer mark, and “Arrival” when I get there.

The fourth one is “Survived Something That Should Have Killed Me” because some fucking thing will happen, I just know it. I don’t know what it’ll be, but it’ll happen. The rover will break down, or I’ll come down with fatal hemorrhoids, or I’ll run into hostile Martians, or some shit. When I do (if I live), I get to eat that meal pack. [p. 309]

And as if anyone needed any additional proof that Mark Watney is my fictional, botanist engineer counterpart:

[11:49] JPL: What we can see of your planned cut looks good. We’re assuming the other side is identical. You’re cleared to start drilling.
[12:07] WATNEY: That’s what she said.
[12:25] JPL: Seriously, Mark? Seriously?  [p. 260]

(*) The only choice the filmmakers did that I wasn’t appreciative of was the name change of Dr. Venkat Kapoor to Vincent Kapoor. There was no need to Anglicize the character’s name: making that change did not affect the plot, or the characterization. Dear Hollywood: quit doing that. Love, Alaina.

Everything else was good, though.

Grade for The Martian (book): 4 stars
Grade for The Martian (film): 5 stars