Page 1 of 4

The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:04 pm
by ericvschultz
Hi Andy - first things first: I find the story absolutely brilliant. A great idea, excellent execution, suspense and humor galore...and I think your greatest strength is your voice: when your characters are talking (or in Mark's case, recording his log), the dialogue is very natural - it's hard to believe you made all these people up. So kudos to you!

You mentioned in another thread that this is just your first draft and that you appreciate your readers pointing out any plot holes, etc, so hopefully this thread can serve as a clearinghouse for any such posts.

Here's my first question: what happened to Mark's data stick? You've made excellent use of the contents of his crewmates' sticks (I love the disco complaints)...but shouldn't he have had one full of material to his liking?

Eric

Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:59 pm
by Andy
Yes! Absolutely! Thank you. I definitely want people to point out any problems they see in the text. From grammatical errors to plot holes.

As for Mark's data stick: Good point. I hadn't thought of that at all. I should come up with something for that, and then have him get sick of it. After all, he had a lot more free time than he was scheduled to have. So he moved on to his crewmates' hobbies.

Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:49 am
by pablohunny
... Just typed out my opinion of what happened to the memory stick and then realised that might be a bad thing to do.

So here it is again teeny tiny: (He lent it to Martinez who had it in his pocket/ attached to his person when they fled for the MAV)

This post may be edited as I try to figure out how to make that tricky for Andy to read if he doesn't want advice from crazy cat ladies. :)

-A-

Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:06 am
by Andy
That's actually a good idea. Or something like that. Something that denies him his data.

Always happy to take advice. :)

Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:57 pm
by pablohunny
Well, while I'm on a winning streak, I have a question. How come NASA had the technology to leave Mark stranded on Mars, but couldn't give him a dictaphone to update his log? In the overturned Rover he says he he is "reaching up to the computer to type this". Great for comedic purposes, but a bit ST:TOS, no?

-A-

Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:26 pm
by ericvschultz
Yes, regarding the data stick, I think you have to have to lose it or destroy it. Here in 2012, my *phone* can hold hundreds of books and thousands of songs, so if Mark had access to his, he would undoubtedly have enough of his own material that he wouldn't be forced to listen to disco :)

(my cheesy thought was that when he was impaled by the antenna, it also went through his data stick)

Eric

Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:03 pm
by Andy
pablohunny wrote:How come NASA had the technology to leave Mark stranded on Mars, but couldn't give him a dictaphone to update his log?


Same reason we're typing in to this forum instead of recording our voices and posting mp3s. It's just easier and more convenient.

ericvschultz wrote:regarding the data stick, I think you have to have to lose it or destroy it.


Yeah. I'll need a plausible way for it to get trashed. I'm sure I can come up with something. It's not like all the equipment is in top shape after the storm.

Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:19 pm
by ericvschultz
Chapter One Edits / Questions

As I crested the rise, I saw something that made me very happy and something that made me very sad: The Hab was in-tact (yay!) and the MAV was gone (boo!).

Is there a reason that you hyphenated intact?


Entering the Hab, I doffed the suit and got my first good look at the injury I’d sustained. It would need stitches.

I'm not a medical expert, so I'm just asking a question here. How serious would an impalement injury of this nature be and would Mark be up to doing EVAs within three days (in Chapter Two, by Sol 10, he has made three EVAs to look for the communication dishes).


The Hab had secondary and tertiary communication systems, but they all had the same general design. All three systems had lost their dishes to the storm.

Chapter Six explains that the Hab had a primary and a backup communication system (dish-based), and the MAV had a total of three systems (which flew away). So you're short a tertiary (dish-based) system.


My Favorite Line:
As I groggily came to, I wondered why I wasn’t more dead.

Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:49 am
by Andy
There are other problems with the Sol 6 disaster. Most notably that Martian dust storms don't cause any physical threat other than visibility problems. With Mars's extremely thin atmosphere, a 150km/hr wind has basically no momentum.

I'm working on some alternate catastrophes for Sol 6 that meet all the narrative requirements. Long story short, the second draft is going to have some significant changes to Sol 6. But it'll leave him in the same situation, so the story can proceed as written from there.

Also, unrelated, I've done a lot of work lately on the orbital path of Hermes and the whole timeline will be compressed a bit. But that's ok because I have a lot of blank days where he doesn't have a log entry at all. There'll just be fewer of them.

Once I'm done with the first draft, I'll probably make a temporary forum for people to post plot holes, science errors, and any other concerns with the story. I especially want to be thorough on science errors.

Re: The Martian - Plot Holes, Clarifications or Questions

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:15 am
by pablohunny
Andy wrote:
pablohunny wrote:How come NASA had the technology to leave Mark stranded on Mars, but couldn't give him a dictaphone to update his log?


Same reason we're typing in to this forum instead of recording our voices and posting mp3s. It's just easier and more convenient.


I don't buy it. Sure, due to the poor bandwidth you can't transmit audio files to earth and in case of disaster the logs need to be retrievable (until the communication array gets blown away in an apparently unlikely sandstorm) which means you need a text version. So why not speak your thoughts, have them recorded and automatically converted to type? Not sure if type is the noun I'm looking for there.

Point is, the only reason execs still have secretaries taking dictation and typing it up manually is because we've got at most ten years to go (assuming the apocalypse gives us another miss) before voice recognition technology is sufficiently advanced to reliably translate it. I don't know precisely when Mark Watney is alive, but I'm guessing it's set a bit further in the future.

And also, it would be far more convenient for me if I could speak into my phone and it types my words into a forum or GTalk channel. Those things are hard to type on :(

-A-