I rarely, if ever, review non-historical fiction for this blog, but if you're a fan of the space program, hard sci-fi and a rollicking good yarn, and you haven't read this, run, don't walk, to your nearest online or bricks-and-mortar bookstore and BUY THIS BOOK.
"The Martian" is Andy Weir's first novel: it was self-published in 2011 (first as a free online serial. and then as a 99p Kindle book), and was republished by Crown in 2014. There's a movie in the works, starring Matt Damon (well, it'd either have been him or space nut Tom Hanks, let's face it), directed by Ridley Scott, due out in November 2015.
What's it about? Well - Mark Watney is an astronaut on one of the first manned missions to Mars: he's stranded and left for dead by his fellow crew during a Martian sandstorm, and has to figure out how to survive long enough to be rescued. What makes the book excellent is that Weir genuinely knows his stuff - the science works. According to an interview with Weir, there's precisely one spot where he has to fly in the face of what would be accepted wisdom and NASA practice, but you can forgive him that, and most folks probably won't know enough to realise. It's told through Watney's warts-and-all journal, plus viewpoint shifts to NASA on Earth, and it's an absolute riot - consider Apollo 13 with a dose of Castaway and Gravity.
I'm not going to spoiler it, because, honestly, half the fun is figuring out how he's going to make it. Hence no Wikipedia link, since the page for the book is one massive spoiler.
'Nuff said. Buy the book. The cover's a link to my Amazon associate page for it.