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"I want us to have a self-sufficient population somewhere other than Earth because 25 years of being a computer programmer has taught me the value of backing things up," says Andy Weir, author of the best-selling novel The Martian, which tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney as he struggles to survive alone on Mars after he's mistakenly left for dead in the wake of a botched mission. It's the basis for the upcoming Hollywood film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, which hits theaters this weekend.
Weir was working as a computer programmer in Silicon Valley when he began writing The Martian in serial form and posting it for free on his personal website for an audience consisting of what he describes as a few thousand "hardcore science dorks." Five years later, he had a book deal with Crown Publishing and a film option from 20th Century Fox.
Reason TV's Zach Weissmueller sat down with Weir to talk about his amazing journey from programmer to best-selling author, the challenges of writing a scientifically accurate space novel, and his thoughts on the future of real-life space travel.
Approximately 15 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Shot by Paul Detrick and Alexis Garcia. Music by Lee Rosevere.
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Original air date: September 29, 2015.