This is a tough highlight to debut a new column because Andy Weir is a newcomer and he’s only published two books and one graphic novel so far. But, I’m sure there is more to come.
Born in 1972 to parents who loved reading, Weir grew up surrounded by science-fiction literature such as the works of Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. I’ve seen a couple of interviews with Weir where he states that reading was a big part of his childhood. I recommend a YouTube search for his interviews. One of the interviews is conducted by Mythbusters co-creator Adam Savage, and another good one is a Talks at Google.
Weir started his programming career at the age of 15. He’s worked for Palm, AOL and Blizzard, working on the Warcraft 2 video game released in 1995. He also had to write some special software to calculate orbital trajectories between Earth and Mars for his book, The Martian, in order to be as accurate as possible. I’m not sure he’s currently working as a programmer. He certainly doesn’t need the income due to the success of his books and movies.
Weir had been writing short stories and webcomics from 2001 to 2011, which saw the release of his first printed novel, The Martian. He had originally published the book by chapters as it was written to his personal website. Fans loved it so much that Weir put it all in a single EPUB (electronic published format for e-book readers) and put it up for download on his site for free! Some users had difficulty manually adding an e-book to a reader. Not everyone is a technogeek. Weir really didn’t want to charge for his book but relented and posted it to Amazon for 99 cents to make the install process a one-click option. It blew up and quickly hit the Kindle best-sellers’ list. It wasn’t much later that Crown Publishing agreed to publish through a literary agent friend of Weir’s. That’s when sales really soared and 20th Century Fox signed for the rights to adapt the book into a movie.
Due to his crippling fear of flying, Weir never visited the set of the movie, which was filmed in Budapest, Hungary.
Since the explosion of The Martian book and movie, Weir has written a second book entitled Artemis, which I wrote a review of back in May 2018 (view that review here: nonahood.to/ArtemisReview). Expect the movie of Artemis to hit theaters in the next few years.
With the popularity of Andy’s imagination and writing, we can expect to see many more books from him.