Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Publisher Blurb:

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.

My Take:

This is it. Interstellar travel aboard the most sophisticated spaceship ever built. A crew with a mission to save the world. So far away that new technology enables the scientists to stay in stasis while they fly through space. Yet, when Ryland Grace wakes up his mind is blank and it’s only through his deductive reasoning does he figure out the goal of the mission…

Told in a shifting time sequence that gives you the action before and during the planetary emergency, Project Hail Mary kept me reading for several reasons.

  1. Problem solving: If you’re looking for something closer to The Martian than Weir’s Artemis, then you are in luck. The science is full to follow, or try to follow as I did, ha!
  2. Ryland is a teacher… (he had been a scientist in a relatively small field of crazy space science). And he misses and is worried about his kids when he’s pulled away on this global assignment.

Now one thing that was meh at times… Slight spoilers: Ryland makes first contact. An alien he names Rocky who is pretty wild. So we get to see and study the particulars of life: communication, sustenance, rest, brain power, etc. Rocky gives Ryland companionship and help… I liked it, but… but… I kept thinking about if the book needed the alien, the “buddy” and did the inclusion change the book for the worse. I haven’t come to a conclusion. I think it’s hard for me to imagine what that alien is going to look like and act like… And I’m not sure it’s exaclty what I would have envisioned.

Project Hail Mary was a complete page-turner for me. The scifi speculation was impressive and made my mind wander a bit. A very good cast of characters and the ending was very satisfying.

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