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20 Engaging Books Like “The Martian” For Sci-Fi Lovers

Embark on New Adventures With These Compelling Books Similar to "The Martian"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 9 2024

20 Space Exploration Reads Like The Martian | Sci-Fi Picks

“The Martian” by Andy Weir is an enthralling story of survival, innovation, and the human spirit, set against the barren backdrop of Mars. It blends hard science with captivating storytelling, chronicling astronaut Mark Watney’s solitary battle to stay alive after being stranded on the red planet.

The blend of precise scientific details, humor, and sheer determination to survive makes “The Martian” a unique and cherished work of modern science fiction. If you enjoy stories that explore human endurance in outer space or are fascinated by the technological complexities of space travel, you will find this list of 20 books similar to “The Martian” both exhilarating and inspiring.

Get ready to embark on voyages filled with discovery, science, and the unknown.

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “The Martian” by Andy Weir


1. “Artemis” by Andy Weir

Set on the Moon, Weir’s follow-up to “The Martian” combines his trademark scientific accuracy with a compelling heist story.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Hard science fiction with rich technical detail.
  • A strong, resourceful protagonist.
  • Elements of humor amidst survival and adventure.


2. “Seveneves” by Neal Stephenson

When the moon explodes, humanity must race against time to ensure its survival off-planet, leading to epic space odyssey.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Focus on accurate scientific and technical details.
  • A gripping survival story in space.
  • Themes of human resilience and innovation.


3. “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir

A lone astronaut must save humanity from an extinction-level threat in another scientifically packed and witty novel by Weir.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • A deep commitment to scientific accuracy.
  • Solitary protagonist facing insurmountable odds.
  • Blend of humor, science, and survival.


4. “The Expanse Series” by James S.A. Corey

Starting with “Leviathan Wakes,” this series offers a thrilling mix of interstellar intrigue, realistic science, and vibrant characters.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Realistic portrayal of space travel and living.
  • A compelling survival narrative.
  • A blend of science fiction with human drama and politics.


5. “The Calculating Stars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

After a meteorite wipes out much of humanity, the push to colonize space takes on new urgency in this alternate history.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Attention to scientific accuracy and detail.
  • Strong, pioneering characters.
  • Themes of survival and overcoming adversity.


6. “Red Mars” by Kim Stanley Robinson

The colonization and terraforming of Mars are at the forefront of this scientifically rich and detailed narrative.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Hard science fiction focus on Mars.
  • Exploration of human endurance and adaptability in space.
  • Complex characters grappling with moral and ethical dilemmas.


7. “2312” by Kim Stanley Robinson

In a future where humanity has colonized the solar system, a mystery unfolds against a backdrop of scientific and technological feats.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Rich detail on future scientific advancements.
  • A deep exploration of space colonization.
  • A gripping, high-stakes plot.


8. “Aurora” by Kim Stanley Robinson

A generation ship bound for a distant star faces the complexities and challenges of space travel and colonization.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Focus on the realities of space travel and colonization.
  • Fascinating scientific concepts.
  • Exploration of human resilience and social dynamics.


9. “Saturn Run” by John Sandford and Ctein

An unexpected alien spaceship near Saturn sparks a competitive space race in this scientifically grounded thriller.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Hard science fiction with technical depth.
  • Human ingenuity and exploration themes.
  • Political and international tensions amid space race.


10. “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers

A space opera that delves into the lives of a diverse crew as they embark on a risky mission through the galaxy.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Focus on character development and interactions.
  • Themes of exploration and facing the unknown.
  • A detailed and richly imagined universe.


11. “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi

In the future, the elderly are given a chance to join the interstellar infantry, leading to discoveries and battles in space.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Innovative scientific and technological concepts.
  • Themes of survival and adaptation in space.
  • Engaging and fast-paced narrative.


12. “The Sparrow” by Mary Doria Russell

A Jesuit priest leads an expedition to a distant planet, raising questions of faith, civilization, and what it means to be human.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • The intersection of science, exploration, and humanism.
  • Deep philosophical and ethical questions.
  • Intense human and alien interactions.


13. “Children of Time” by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Humanity’s last survivors find a terraformed planet inhabited by a civilization with a very different evolution.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Themes of survival in space.
  • Intriguing scientific premises.
  • Exploration of human adaptability and ingenuity.


14. “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury

A collection of stories about the colonization of Mars, exploring the clash and fusion of Martian and human cultures.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • The exploration of Mars as a central theme.
  • A mix of science fiction with profound human insight.
  • Themes of isolation, exploration, and survival.


15. “Rendezvous with Rama” by Arthur C. Clarke

A mysterious alien spaceship enters the solar system, prompting a crew to explore its wonders and dangers.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • The awe and mystery of space exploration.
  • A detailed scientific approach to alien encounters.
  • Themes of human curiosity and the unknown.


16. “Pushing Ice” by Alastair Reynolds

The crew of an ice miner spaceship is flung into deep space when their target moon suddenly propels into the cosmos.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • A gripping tale of survival in uncharted space.
  • Strong character dynamics under pressure.
  • Science fiction that’s grounded in plausible physics.


17. “Anathem” by Neal Stephenson

In a cloistered academic society, the discovery of an alien spaceship brings long-standing philosophical ideas into action.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • A deep dive into scientific and mathematical concepts.
  • The blend of adventure with intellectual exploration.
  • A richly developed alternative reality.


18. “Lock In” by John Scalzi

Not space-focused but exploring the impacts of a virus on society and technology, showing humanity’s adaptability and resilience.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Innovative use of technology in the face of adversity.
  • Themes of survival and societal change.
  • Engaging and thought-provoking narrative.


19. “Leviathan Wakes” (The Expanse Series) by James S.A. Corey

A detective and a ship’s officer uncover a solar system-wide conspiracy that threatens humanity’s presence in space.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Hard-hitting science fiction with detailed world-building.
  • An intense, page-turning plot.
  • The human drive for survival and discovery.


20. “Hull Zero Three” by Greg Bear

A man awakens on a failing spaceship with no memory, piecing together the ship’s purpose and its destination.

Elements in common with “The Martian”:

  • Survival against the odds in a harsh environment.
  • The mystery and intrigue of space exploration.
  • Thought-provoking scientific speculation.

In conclusion, the spirit of exploration, the challenge of survival, and the wonder of scientific discovery that captures readers in “The Martian” can be found across these diverse narratives. Whether you’re looking for tales of interstellar travel, alien encounters, or the colonization of new worlds, there’s a book on this list to ignite your imagination and take you on unforgettable adventures.

So, strap in and get ready for lift-off into stories that push the boundaries of space, science, and the human will to persevere. Happy reading!


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