The good news? There are no predators, hostile aliens or killer robots in sight.
The bad news? Everything else.
So how can one marooned man possibly survive on a hostile planet? That's what's so exciting about the tale. The triumph of smarts, science and determination against incredible odds. It's not just man against nature. It's human know-how against an alien world.
We've seen it done successfully once before in the blockbuster Apollo 13. That film, based on a real life series of events that transpired aboard the failed Moon mission in the early 1970s showed how applying immense problem-solving abilities to "let's take this one crisis at a time"mental discipline resulted in a seemingly impossible happy ending.
The Martian being Science Fiction instead of a real life space drama won't take away from that sense of suspense and tension. And the fact that we're discussing such a possible mission right now makes it even more exciting.
The book has been endorsed by a retired astronaut. Chris Hadfield said this about The Martian: "It has the very rare combination of a good, original story, interestingly real characters and fascinating technical accuracy…reads like 'MacGyver' meets 'Mysterious Island."
Directed by Ridley Scott, the genius behind such diverse films as Alien, Blackhawk Down, Gladiator and Blade Runner, the motion picture is likely to benefit from his visual style and memorable imagery. It stars Matt Damon as astronaut Mark Watney.
With an original release date anticipated in November, the film debut has been moved up and is now set for release one week from Friday, on October 2nd.
Although NASA can't directly support a private enterprise, many of its experts served as consultants on the film, and NASA lent its logo to some of the scenes.
So what might make The Martian a stand out where other Sci-Fi epics that came before fell short?
In my humble opinion, the movie promises to be a winning combination of believable cutting-edge science, compelling human drama, and laugh out loud wit.
Care for a look at the trailer?
"Help is only 140 million miles away."
Want to know more?
IGN.com: Matt Damon Explains Why The Martian is a Love Letter to Science
Newsweek: Matt Damon Spills About The Martian
So how about you? Have you read the novel? Are you planning to see The Martian? What intrigues you most about the story?
Have a great week.