Oct. 9 Demo Story

This is my subheadline.

Sample Student, Writer

This is my demo text. Imagine that you are stranded on a barren, desolate wasteland of a planet. The dustlike soil cannot support plantlife; the terrain is rocky, unpredictable, and mottled with giant craters; temperatures are bone-chillingly cold; and frequent dust storms whip across the landscape, wreaking havoc. Everyone on earth is unaware that you are struggling to survive in such a hopeless and hostile environment because NASA, the media, and your mission crewmates all believe you to be dead. You are utterly alone with close to zero chance of rescue.

What would you do?

Most people would give up. They would dwell on the 99 percent chance that no help will come and spiral into despondency and depression, perhaps even ending their own lives so that the suffering is not prolonged.

Botanist, mechanical engineer, astronaut, and self-proclaimed dork Mark Watney is not like most people. When faced with the disastrously grim scenario outlined above, he employs all of his creativity, ingenuity, determination, and wit to survive on Mars and to contact Earth for help. The events that follow are chronicled in Andy Weir’s The Martian, a gripping page-turner that has been adapted into a highly anticipated film.

Whether you plan to see The Martian in theaters or not, I highly recommend that you give the book a try. It is one of the most thrilling reads that I have encountered in a long time, but it is also a stirring testament to the power of the individual will to survive and to the great lengths that people take to help others.

The book’s narrative sequence switches between Watney’s first-person accounts of his experiences and third person descriptions of events surrounding his rescue. Watney’s narration is all part of a log that he continues to compile so that people on earth will have record of his times on Mars after he dies. The tone of the log becomes increasingly optimistic as Watney realizes that he might be rescued afterall.

But how does a person get stranded on Mars in the first place? The Martian takes place some time in the future, when NASA and other organizations have the funding and technology necessary to launch ridiculously expensive space exploration projects. Watney is the fifth member of the six-person crew of Ares 3, the third installment of a six-mission project that seeks to learn more about Mars.