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Project Hail Mary

by Andy Weir

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir X
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
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  • Published:
    May 2021, 496 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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Power Reviewer
Becky H

Great ending
The sun is being eaten by an alien infestation. Mankind will cease to exist in 50 years. So… Project Hail Mary. Send a crew of scientists to a star that has beaten back the infestation and see how they did it. This being a seat of your pants thriller, things go wrong – quickly. Most of the crew dies. The one left can’t even remember his name, let alone what he is supposed to be doing. Then he meets another alien survivor.
Great story. Believable situations. An intriguing alien society. Good writing. Weir even makes the science understandable. Well worth your time if you like sci-fi, or thrillers, or just a good story with a great ending.
5 of 5 stars
Power Reviewer
Cloggie Downunder

Brilliantly funny, clever and original sci-fi.
“Am I barreling toward the sun, or away from it? It’s almost academic. I’m either on a collision course with the sun or on my way out to deep space with no hope of returning. Or, I might be headed in the sun’s general direction, but not on a collision course. If that’s the case, I’ll miss the sun … and then fly off into deep space with no hope of returning.”

Project Hail Mary is the third novel by American author and self-confessed space nerd, Andy Weir. When he first emerges from the coma, he has no idea where he is, or how or why. It seems to be a spaceship, he’s the sole survivor of a crew of three, and the onboard computer is insisting he proffers his name before allowing access to certain areas, but he can’t remember that either.

“This is like being in a video game. Explore the area until you find a locked door, then look for the key. But instead of searching bookshelves and garbage cans, I have to search my mind. Because the “key” is my own name.”

His memory is spotty, coming in fits and starts; gradually, the fact that he’s a junior high science teacher reveals itself; he’s Dr. Ryland Grace, formerly a microbiologist who spent his career working up theoretical models for alien life. And he’s a long, long way from San Francisco.

The “what” Grayson remembers fairly quickly: a dire problem facing his home planet, and the importance of his mission is clear, a mission to save mankind. The “how” poses a challenge that his scientific mind relishes. When Grayson recalls the “why” that has placed him on the Hail Mary instead of a highly-trained astronaut, he’s dismayed and angry. What is quickly obvious is that he is facing a suicide mission. All alone.

Except it turns out he’s not.

More is difficult to reveal without spoilers, but Weir has neatly constructed a narrative in which flashbacks/memories slowly reveal the exact how and why, but also just what the ship is equipped with and can do. Weir gives the reader sci-fi that doesn’t get too bogged down with dense sci-facts but is interesting and thought-provoking.

Weir’s protagonist is a delight, smart and resourceful; his ever-inquiring mind and excellent deductive powers see him maintain his optimism that he will complete his vital mission. Ultimately, Grayson surprises himself. He’s also got a great sense of humour, so his inner monologue, asides to the computer and other conversations entertain:

“The computer finishes its boot process and brings up a screen I’ve never seen before. I can tell it means trouble, because the word “TROUBLE” is in large type across the top.”

This is a tale with an action plot, twists and surprises, featuring a planet Earth where greenhouse gases are welcome and the Sahara is covered in foil. There are philosophical discussions on behaviour and intelligence, lots of space walks, vodka, beetles and five-legged spiders, laugh-out-loud moments and the odd lump in the throat. Brilliantly funny, clever and original sci-fi.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Random House UK Cornerstone
Victoria

I give this all the stars!
A million thanks to Random House/Ballantine and Netgalley for providing the ARC of Andy Weir’s new novel! For fans of The Martian, Andy Weir seems to be back (after his previous Artemis which I was so disappointed with I didn’t finish). Remember “science the shit out of this” from The Martian? That describes this book to a tee. A fascinating science/adventure/survival tale with SO much heart! Highly recommended for everyone.
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