This is the diary of an astronaut that gets stranded on Mars in the not-too-distant future. Working from only the limited resources one might realistically expect to find themselves with in such a situation, can he survive long enough to be rescued? It's a provocative question, and the author is ruthless in his presentation of the difficulties. Our hero pushes his knowledge of physics, chemistry, and biology to the limits, but will it be enough? Obviously, there is limited dialogue, but the author nevertheless presents a very readable story with suitable doses of humor, suspense, and tragedy. The apparent rigor in this story makes it readily applicable to real life (should you ever find yourself stranded on Mars). I loved it, and I can't wait for the author's next work.
To paraphrase the character Birdie in "All About Eve": "What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at his rear end." This is an entertaining read, but somewhat exhausting. All right, not as exhausting as being marooned on another planet, but still...
Although probably integral to the story, I found all the minute details about detaching airlock seals, how many liters of this or that, and the descriptions of everything Watney does tiresome. I found myself skimming almost as much in this book as I used to in any Stephen King book.
Thankfully a good part of the 300+ pages is spent away from Watney, which was a nice break from having to remember what the RTG, OMS, et al meant. It's a quick read and picturing Matt Damon as the hero made it more more fun.