Published by Ballantine on May 4, 2021
Genres: Science Fiction
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Also by this author: The Martian
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.
MacGyver in space, with all of humanity at stake
Andy Weir has done it again! Project Hail Mary has all the tension, suspense, humor, and cool science of The Martian, but this time, the stakes are much higher than one man’s survival…
Dr. Ryland Grace wakes in a space ship light-years away from earth. His fellow crew members are dead, and Grace can’t remember anything about how he got there: not his mission, not his companions, not even his name. However, his understanding of science and math seems to be intact. Slowly, as his memories begin to return, the enormity of his task hits him: he and the Hail Mary are out here in a desperate attempt to save the human race.
The story plays out in the present, frequently interrupted by flashbacks as Grace’s memories return…rather conveniently from the oldest (before Earth’s peril is discovered) to the newest (just before the Hail Mary‘s launch.) As the main character and first-person narrator, Grace has much in common with The Martian‘s Mark Watney: both men are practical, intelligent, highly motivated, inventive, and well-versed in math as well as a broad spectrum of the sciences. I don’t recall reading the words “science the sh*t out of this,”* but that’s the basic attitude of both characters.
Grace and Watney also share a similar sense of humor, and a similar “voice”—a voice not unlike Weir’s own, if you’ve ever seen or heard an interview with him. There is, however, one significant difference between Grace and Watney, which we don’t find out about until toward the end of the book (at which point it has become irrelevant, if unexpected.)
I’m feeling a bit constrained in writing this review, because I am trying to avoid spoilers of any kind. So I will just say that there are some surprise twists, a number of extremely satisfying moments, and one very special secondary character…
Don’t start Project Hail Mary unless you have plenty of time to read it! The book will keep you on the edge of your seat; you’re not going to want to put it down.
* The line, “I’m gonna have to science the sh*t out of this,” was actually written for the film by screenwriter Drew Goddard.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Seasons 2021: Summer
- TrekAThon (Round 1)