Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Project Hail Mary

by Andy Weir


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 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

Reviewed by Berls on

4 of 5 stars

One thing you should know about me before reading this review... I'm not a Science Fiction fan. I wouldn't go so far as to say I dislike it - I just don't generally LOVE the popular Science Fiction books/movies/tv shows. For example, I do not like (but also don't hate, just meh about) any of these popular franchises: Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, or X-Men. The ONLY reason I picked this book up was that it was our September COYER Book Club pick and I wanted to be able to talk about it. I didn't actually intend to finish it, or at least not quickly.

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!

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 25 September, 2021: Finished reading
  • 25 September, 2021: Reviewed