Martian Author, Andy Weir, Answers: Is "Interstellar" A Good Movie?

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Answers by Andy Weir, Science fiction writer. Author of The Martian., on Quora.

A: The atmosphere of Mars is only about 1/200th the density of Earth's. It does get 150km/h windstorms, but the inertia from the thin atmosphere is so small it would feel like a gentle breeze. So there's just no way a storm could do that kind of damage. I knew this at the time I wrote it. I had an alternate beginning worked out where an MAV engine test causes an explosion that leads to all the problems, but it just wasn't as cool. The Martian is a man-vs-nature story and I wanted nature to get the first punch in.


A: The science about black holes is accurate - at least the part about time dilation. And the time travel stuff is internally consistent, if not actually possible. But I feel like some of the basic non-scientific plot conceits are questionable. I assure you, however bad the ecology of Earth gets, it'll always be easier to fix Earth than it will be to colonize another planet.


A: Maybe. It's a tough call, and that's why the people at NASA were divided on it. When Apollo 13 was coming in for re-entry, there was some chance they had a cracked heat shield. There was nothing anyone could do about it, so they just didn't mention it to the astronauts.


A: 1) You have to actually write. Daydreaming about the book you're going to write someday isn't writing. It's daydreaming. Open your word processor and start writing.

2) Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it's hard because you want to talk about it and they're (sometimes) interested in hearing about it. But it satisfies your need for an audience, which diminishes your motivation to actually write it. Make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them.

3) This is the best time in history to self-publish. There's no old-boy network between you and your readers. You can self-publish an ebook to major distributors (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) without any financial risk on your part.

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