Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Title: Project Hail Mary
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Random House UK, Cornerstone
Published Date: May 6th 2021
Length: 476 pages
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.
I still remember when I watched The Martian and then read it long after I watched the movie. It was such a good book. The tone of the book and overall balance made me love it so much more than other books of similar tones. I think with Project Hail Mary, I got the improved version of the author’s writing with far more adventure and entertainment than The Martian and that’s saying a lot.
I think the thing that I enjoy the most about Andy Weir’s books is that despite having a healthy dose of science-y stuff going on in the book, both plot wise and just in general, there’s always something that doesn’t seem like it should or would work in real life and then it sort of does? And this time with that, the author added a buddy to the whole experience which was my favourite thing to read about if I am being perfectly honest. It was those interactions and trying to understand each other that made me giddy and happy. Friendships, man. They get you and then you are hooked.
“I’m a scientist! Now we’re getting somewhere! Time for me to use science. All right, genius brain: come up with something! …I’m hungry. You have failed me, brain.”
In Project Hail Mary, Ryland Grace wakes up from coma with no memory of where he is and why he is where he is. He slowly puts together things from his past and as we find more and more about the past, we are also treated with a real and very imminent problem of what is essentially a dying star because a species of microbes decided to make the stars part of their main diet. It’s an amazing ride with a few horror filled moments scattered throughout.
“We’re as smart as evolution made us. So we’re the minimum intelligence needed to ensure we can dominate our planets.”
I really loved the competence of Mark Watney in The Martian and we can find the somewhat similar traits in Ryland Grace too and this could be the making or the breaking of the book for you. Few have found it to be the breaking point but I like sciencey stuff and people who are sent to space are supposed to be pretty good at science so I had no problems with it. Now, let’s stop my overly happy and nerdy babbling out of the way, it’s hard but I will try my best to review this book without repeating how neat and fun this book is, although that alone should sell you, I think.
No, that’s not creepy at all. Being in a spaceship twelve light-years from home and having someone knock on the door is totally normal.”
When I talked about the buddy, I want to say that Rocky is the best friend anyone could ask for. There’s no dramatic space battle happening, nor is there any scary space things happening other than the usual stuff that we know of but there’s a deadline and Rocky and Ryland have to work together to solve the problem of Astrophage, the microbes that are threatening the star systems while evolving. It’s fun and it’s science-y. I know, I keep saying the word too much but it’s just fun, okay?
“But I have to save humanity first. Stupid humanity. Getting in the way of my hobbies.”
I think Andy Weir’s strength lies in making science sound fun while keeping the stakes high enough to move the book forward. Ryland is intelligent and competent and just nerdy enough to make me happy. There’s so much about this book that makes me happy but I think, in general, it’s just the basic faith in us as people and trying to solve the problem without losing our minds. There are so many quotes that are worth highlighting and I can’t share them all but the few that I shared are enough, I hope, to entice you into reading this.