Andy Weir, the Livermore High School graduate whose novel “The Martian” was made into a popular movie three years ago, will discuss his journey from software engineer to celebrated science fiction author at Livermore’s Bankhead Theater next Thursday evening.

His talk will be part of the Rae Dorough Speaker Series.

Before his novel made him a New York Times bestselling author, Weir was a software engineer. The earliest beginnings of his career took place at Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore, where he spent a summer as an intern at age 15.

After computer science studies at the University of California-San Diego, he worked at such software companies as AOL, Palm, MobileIron and Blizzard, a video game producer. At Blizzard, he helped develop the highly popular Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.

“The Martian” is a kind of near-future Robinson Crusoe survival story, the tale of a U.S. astronaut who is accidentally left behind on Mars and has to devise clever ways to survive in an extraordinarily hostile environment.

Weir credits his father, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, with stimulating both an interest in space and a love of science fiction.

He first published “The Martian” in installments on his personal website, taking pains to get the science right and benefiting from occasional comments and corrections from readers with technical expertise.

He moved the novel to Amazon, which has an effective self-publishing feature, after being encouraged to do so by readers who found it easier to navigate the online bookseller’s website.

It soon dominated Amazon’s science fiction bestseller list, and from there went on to hardcover publication by Random House. A paperback version made the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year, topping the list for 19 weeks during that time.

20th Century Fox picked up movie rights and, in 2015, turned the story into a major movie starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, directed by Ridley Walker.

Since then, Weir has published a science fiction novel called “Artemis,” about life on the moon late in this century.

Weir’s Bankhead talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 15.

Tickets are available online at or may be purchased at the Bankhead Theater box office, 2400 First Street, Livermore, Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m., or by calling (925) 373-6800.