THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING NOVEL
A BARRACK OBAMA READING PICK
A lone astronaut.
An impossible mission.
An ally he never imagined.
'The most enjoyable hard SF I have read in years' GUARDIAN
'Weir's finest work to date. . . This is the one book I read last year that I am certain I can recommend to anyone, no matter who, and know they'll love it.' BRANDON SANDERSON
'If you like a lot of science in your science fiction, Andy Weir is the writer for you. . . This one has everything fans of old school SF (like me) love.' GEORGE R.R. MARTIN
'Brilliantly funny and enjoyable. One of the most plausible science fiction books I've ever read' TIM PEAKE, astronaut
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, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it's up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery-and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he's got to do it all alone.
Or does he?
An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could imagine it, 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.
'One of the most original, compelling, and fun voyages I've ever taken.' ERNEST CLINE, author of Ready Player One and Ready Player Two
'Undisputedly the best book I've read in a very, very long time. Mark my words: Project Hail Mary is destined to become a classic.' BLAKE CROUCH
'Andy Weir's brilliant Project Hail Mary...is one of those stirring sci-fi novels about every government on Earth banding together, through science, to save civilisation from collapse. I loved it.' THE TIMES
'A suspenseful portrait of human ingenuity and resilience [that] builds to an unexpectedly moving ending. A winner.' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
'Weir returns with gusto . . . his writing flows naturally, and his characters and dialogue crackle with energy. With this novel, he takes his place as a genuine star in the mainstream SF world.' BOOKLIST
- ISBN10 1529100615
- ISBN13 9781529100617
- Publish Date 4 May 2021
- Publish Status Out of Print
- Out of Print 13 October 2022
- Publish Country GB
- Publisher Cornerstone
- Imprint Del Rey
- Format Hardcover
- Pages 496
- Language English
Well... I ended up really enjoying it and because I had delayed reading until the last minute and didn't want spoilers at book club ended up staying up until 3am to finish. Had I given myself adequate time, I WOULD have been able to put the book down but it was worth the lost sleep to find out what happened BEFORE book club.
I did struggle with the science a bit, this book is heavy in it. There were definite sections where my eyes got glassy or my head started to hurt. But I get why he included it. The science explanations were part of the characters - it helped understand who Dr. Grace (and, to a lesser extent, Rocky) were. The brilliance of how Andy Weir wrote Dr. Grace is that he's a Jr. High School Science teacher, so it makes sense that while he knows this really high level stuff, he knows how to explain it in more simplistic terms. I won't lie, there were parts I STILL didn't get (like how time is impacted by space travel - thanks to Lark for explaining that one to me at book club), but I got really good at just taking the character's word for it on things LOL!
So the science heaviness aside, the characters and the situation are compelling enough that I was okay pushing through that science. Dr. Grace is SO HUMAN. He struggles with what's right vs what he wants. He makes some really dumb mistakes (well dumb for someone of his intelligence. For me, those mistakes would be genius LOL). He is sarcastic and has a dry sense of humor, which I love. And he grows so much from the person he was when the book starts to the person he is at the end. I enjoyed the way the story was told in flashbacks, I think it really added to the experience of Dr. Grace's partial amnesia. And I LOVED Rocky. I don't want to spoil anything, but Rocky is the "unexpected ally" mentioned in the book's description. He might have made this book for me.
The book did leave me with lots of unanswered questions, which is a little frustrating since it's nearly 500 pages long. But I understand why Weir decided to go the direction he did -- to answer my questions he might have had to write a second book. To do it well he would probably have to. Personally, think I would enjoy that book a slight bit more than this one because it would be a lot less Science Fiction (I guess that's no shocker that my questions are not in the science bits!).
I'm glad book club pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me to read this book, it was absolutely worth it!
This book was amazing. I loved the style of writing, and seeing Ryland working out issues. My favourite POV is first person, and feeling like you're in their head. I loved how much science was in this, and although I definitely didn't understand it all, I enjoyed reading it and was impressed how Weir would've had to keep it all straight to be able to explain it right.
I went into this book mainly blind, I knew that it was about a man waking up on a rocket in space and having no memory. So there were quite a few twists that I really enjoyed discovering. You really can't say anything else about this book without spoiling it. So I'll leave it here with, I loved this book and I really enjoyed reading it.
Can Andy Weir capture what we loved about The Martian and recreate it for Project Hail Mary? Having read the novel, I think I can safely answer that question. Yes! This novel wrapped up all of my favorite parts of that narrative and bundled it into something new.
Ryland Grace has found himself all alone in the emptiness of space. He wasn't supposed to be alone, and now the fate of humanity rests on his lonely shoulders. He and his crew had a mission, and it must be completed, regardless of the cost or risks.
If Grace can't figure out how to work his ship solo and conduct the research necessary, it is all of humanity who will be paying the price. He's officially their last hope, so no pressure, right? Thankfully, a sudden twist is about to even out Grace's odds.
“I penetrated the outer cell membrane with a nanosyringe."
"You poked it with a stick?"
"No!" I said. "Well. Yes. But it was a scientific poke with a very scientific stick.”
If you're looking for a book that is full of science and humor, then you're about to hit the jackpot. Project Hail Mary is thrilling, hilarious, and literally bursting from all of the scientific information Weir managed to cram inside.
To be clear, all of those scientific elements were thematically appropriate. Much like the botany experiments, Mart Watney was forced to conduct. It all played a role in Ryland Grace's adventure, fleshing out the story and making it feel real. Horrifying real at times, if I'm being honest.
Ryland's story in Project Hail Mary unfolds over the course of the novel, with two different points in time taking the lead. There's the time before his mission, and then (naturally) his time aboard Project Hail Mary. I was actually surprised by how much intrigue the 'before' time brought with it. You'd think all of the suspense would come from his time spent exploring space. You'd be wrong.
“When I’m stressed out, I revert to imperial units. It’s hard to be an American, okay?”
Readers will probably notice that Grace and Watney have quite a lot in common. They're brilliant, clever, funny, and oh right – totally isolated for long periods in their novel. They face isolation and death in the middle of space, thousands of miles from the nearest human.
Naturally, you might think all of these similarities make Project Hail Mary feel a little dry. But that's not the case; I'm thankful to report. The premise of the novel is vastly different, for starters. Secondly, it felt like there's a lot more going on in this novel: more characters, different threats, the works.
One thing I will note: The Martian had some odd pacing, thanks to the way it was originally released (in serial format online). It had something dramatic happening at regular intervals to keep the readers invested. I feel like Project Hail Mary also had this effect, where there is SO MUCH happening. The guy never gets a break! Perhaps the novel could have ended sooner without some of those events. Though I'm not sure it would have led us to the same ending without those moments, so I'll happily take this novel as is.
Overall I really enjoyed Project Hail Mary. I'm already dreaming of how it would look on the big screen, and I hope it follows its older brother on that path. Fingers crossed! Until then, I'm just going to sit here and hope we'll get another book announced within the next year or two.
Thanks to Ballantine Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
This was a really fun read. I won't say more because nearly everything is a spoiler, but I'm so glad I read this.
Ryland Grace goes on a suicide mission to save earth only to discover humans may not be the only intelligent life in the solar system in this hard adult science fiction.
It took me forever to read this book partly due to the timing and partly due to the genre. I’ve had a really hard time reading in October. My family has had some non-COVID medical issues, and it’s been difficult adjusting to our new normal. Additionally, the election shenanigans and the stress at work have killed my ability to concentrate on anything other than happy re-reads. My review might have been different if I had read the book at a different time.
Project Hail Mary is going to appeal to die hard science fiction fans, but it left me completely behind. The complex science of the story was not accessible to a lay science person. I never connected to the main character. He didn’t feel believable or realistic as the protagonist. Rocky is the most likeable and complex character, but it’s Ryland who needs to carry the story. The book uses one of my least favorite writing techniques – an overuse of flashbacks to explain the character’s actions. It was actually utilized well in this book, but I still hate the technique. Others will probably enjoy the balance between the past and present.
tl;dr This book never captured my attention – the complex science left me confused and I never connected to the main character.