Good insights, but I would just add that The Martian is not entirely secular. To the contrary, in fact, there is a scene early on when Mark Watney realizes that the only item that could be used to make fire is the wooden Catholic cross another crew member left behind, and as he's lying in bed he says (to the cross) "By the way given my situation I'm hoping you're OK with this. I'm counting on you..." which could almost be taken as a prayer. And later on there is a scene in which Mitch Henderson asks Vincent Kapoor if he believes in God, and Kapoor reveals that his mother was a Baptist and his dad a Hindu, so he believes in several. Henderson replies that "We'll take all the help we can get." OK, so not a ringing affirmation of the exclusivity of Christianity, but it is remarkable that these scenes were included, and they are not treated as revealing some weird peccadillo of the characters, but rather the entirely natural, reverential reaching out of human beings to whatever or Whomever might lie beyond the universe.I would also add, though not entirely relevant to the main focus of the review, that the only family situations presented are the solid, salt-of-the-Earth man-and-woman marriages in which the men are entirely devoted to their families (and in one case his many children!), and the natural outcome of a man and a woman newly coming together (Beck and Johanssen) is starting a family.
Thanks for bringing these up, JD Walters! By the way, I've read your stuff in the past and, even when I disagree, I respect a lot of what you have to say and often find it thought-provoking. I'm not sure if you still blog, but if not I hope you pick it up again someday, because I, for one, would be interested in reading. All the best!
Thanks! I appreciate it. I am indeed thinking of blogging again but I have other priorities right now. But I'll let you know when I start.