At the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Somers tagged five books that resist the handwave with believable futuristic technology ("The Handwave is a powerful thing is sci-fi: the ability to fix a problem with a science-y sounding solution that isn’t even remotely plausible"), including:
The Martian, by Andy WeirRead about another entry on the list.
If “hard science fiction” makes you think of physics lessons and noiseless space explosions, The Martian might surprise you. This story of a lone astronaut stranded on Mars after an accident destroys his communications gear is thrilling not only because of the Murphy’s Law-like series of disasters our hero endures, but because of the simple, small-scale scientific principles he employs to stay alive, from basic chemistry to simple survival smarts. This one should be required reading for the 100 people hoping to be part of the Mars One mission.
The Martian is among James Mustich's five top books on visiting Mars.