The Martian: Andy Weir Explains What He Got Right and Wrong

Software engineer turned sci-fi author talks about his hit book and seeing it adapted to the big screen

4 min read
The Martian: Andy Weir Explains What He Got Right and Wrong
Photo: Chloe Aftel/Contour by Getty Images

Andy Weir is the author of the 2011 sci-fi novel The Martian (Crown Publishers), which became a best seller upon its rerelease in 2014. The book follows the exploits of Mark Watney, an astronaut accidentally left for dead on the surface of Mars; this month marks the release of a movie adaptation directed by Ridley Scott. Weir’s shift to author came after a career in software engineering, which turned out to come in handy in crafting The Martian’s plot. IEEE Spectrum Senior Editor Stephen Cass talked to Weir about writing his novel and the technology of space exploration.

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Special Report: Top Tech 2021

After months of blood, toil, tears, and sweat, we can all expect a much better year

1 min read
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro

Last January in this space we wrote that “technology doesn't really have bad years." But 2020 was like no other year in recent memory: Just about everything suffered, including technology. One shining exception was biotech, with the remarkably rapid development of vaccines capable of stemming the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's roundup of anticipated tech advances includes an examination of the challenges in manufacturing these vaccines. And it describes how certain technologies used widely during the pandemic will likely have far-reaching effects on society, even after the threat subsides. You'll also find accounts of technical developments unrelated to the pandemic that the editors of IEEE Spectrum expect to generate news this year.

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