Mark Watney is much smarter than Alexander Crayton. But then, I suppose, Watney didn’t have alien robots actively trying to kill him during his stay on Mars.
I just finished Andy Weir’s The Martian, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Watney is great. A fun character to read about. I understand why the book has been such a big hit.
I also saw the movie (I actually saw it first) and was surprised at how faithful it was to the book. In fact, except for an extra dramatic touch at the end (I won’t spoil it) and a brief epilogue, the movie stays extremely true to the story in the book. Drew Goddard did a fantastic job with the screenplay.
I’m glad I wrote Earth long before I heard of The Martian. I’m not sure I would have had Alex attempt to cross Mars in quite the same way had I done so. I probably would have written that part entirely differently, not even allowing him to try. I was pleased, though, that Watney used the second rover as a trailer in much the same fashion as Alex attempted.
I highly recommend The Martian, and after you finish reading that, read Earth and let me know what you think Alex might have done differently, or if there even was anything he could have done differently.