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Project Hail Mary: A Novel by Andy Weir

Project Hail Mary: A Novel (edition 2021)

by Andy Weir (Author)

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4,8932892,127 (4.3)261
The sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission to save both humanity and the earth, Ryland Grace is hurtled into the depths of space when he must conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
Title:Project Hail Mary: A Novel
Authors:Andy Weir (Author)
Info:Ballantine Books (2021), Edition: 1st, 496 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Author)


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Showing 1-5 of 280 (next | show all)
When Ryland Grace wakes up and finds himself on a spaceship with 2 dead roommates and no memory of who he is, why he's there, or how he got there, he certainly never expected to find out he's on a mission to save the earth. As his memory falteringly returns and he discovers he may not be as alone as he thought, he will tax his abilities—both physical and mental—and his ship to give humanity a fighting chance.

I haven't been as captivated by a book as I was by this one in a long time. I read it in 2 days, which is at least half the time I'd normally read a book of this length, because I was so enthralled and just kept wanting to come back to it. The story was creative, the characters were engaging, and the math and science were...well, they were math and science. I zoned out a few times when it got a little over my head and scanned the text for the spot where the point would be made. Those moments didn't bother me, though—I just nodded and moved on.

The story tends to go back and forth between the present time on the ship and the recent past back on Earth. The past scenes serve to show both us and Grace why he's way out in space. Even when the reader thinks they know everything necessary from that time (or at least thinks they can infer it), there's a little more to know. Personally, I liked the past scenes as much as the present. It was interesting to see Weir's take on what could happen if catastrophe were looming and humanity was forced to work together or be wiped out.

Understandably, there are not a whole lot of characters in this book, especially those that are given much "screen" time. There's Grace, of course, who may know more than seems reasonable for his past, but I enjoyed the book enough to not be bothered by it. He's got a cheesy sense of humor and a determination that doesn't preclude him from having moments of doubt. Fortunately, he has a counterpart through much of the book who spurs him on when he's ready to give up, and vice versa. Rocky, along with the friendship that develops between Rocky and Grace, is certainly a highlight of the book. There's not a whole lot more I can say without giving at least minor spoilers (though odds are pretty good if you read other reviews you'll be spoiled anyway, as many people don't see the explanation of Rocky as a spoiler...and maybe it's not, but I'd rather be cautious). There are so many times when the interactions between Grace and Rocky made me laugh out loud. It's so great! Also, the ending—never saw it coming!

The question that seems to be on most people's minds is whether or not this book is too similar to Weir's first book, The Martian. There are certainly some similarities, but the plot is very different. Whatney's main conflict is simply survival, then if possible a return to Earth. Grace's main conflict is to do the science to figure out how to save Earth, and...well, for a while, at least, that's pretty much it. They're really only similar in that they're both one man working alone in space. Some will say that Grace is a copy of Whatney. I have read The Martian once and seen the movie twice, so I don't think I know it enough to speak to that. They approach problems and science the same way, so I guess there's that. I also want to mention, for those who are curious, that there is way less language in this book than there was in The Martian. Grace himself only uses "fake" swear words, so the only real language comes from the past scenes, and it's considerably light. Some might be interested to know, however, that this book takes an evolution-as-fact approach to the universe, evolution being a very heavy topic in the latter half or so of the book. It's very common for sci-fi to be written with that worldview, but it is pushed pretty heavily. Overall, though, I highly recommend this book to anyone who even remotely enjoys sci-fi books.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing me a copy of this book to review. ( )
  Kristi_D | Sep 22, 2023 |
What a phenomenal book. Everything about it reminds me of the hope and optimism of Star Trek, WALL-E, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the like. I felt so many things reading this, and five stars isn't even close to what it deserves. Absolutely amazing, full stop. ( )
  xxMOONLITsky | Aug 30, 2023 |
This was nominated by one of the book clubs I participate in. As science fiction (of which I read much some time ago and a little more recently, and by the author of the book that became the movie 'The Martian' (which I enjoyed, even if I thought it was a little far fetched), I was somewhat interested.

It is a chunky book (my book was 479 pages) . It has a 4.3 (out of 5 rating) on Librarything. I don't know how.

Earth is threatened by an extra extrestial cause. There are only years to provide a solution. It involves flying to a distant galaxy, using yet to be utilised technology (only because, until now nations have not cooperated with each other...not that the lack of cooperation has contributed to the threat).

The story is told in two strands: the work on Earth as they prepare for launch; the other post launch. That approach keeps things moving and usefully introduces relevant information at the most opportune time, rather than in a pure linear exposition where the information would have been introduced (and forgotten 250 pages earlier). As such it is useful, but it feels a little manipulative.

The characters are unrealistic. They are a mixture of a bad MacGyver episode and the ET movie. Totally unbelievable. And the back cover suggests there is an interaction with an extraterrestrial, so I have no qualm in talking of that.
It is fine, but there is a lot of 'golly', some 'gosh' and on more than more than one occasion a 'golly gosh' .

These people are trying to save their respective planets, and in the interim face a number of (their own) life threatening situations, and this is all they come up with? Not that I am looking for expletives, but they seem to not react in any realistic way.

There is a cute ending to the story, but for me this a miss. It is said to be an 'Obama book of the year'. I hope that he (whether Barack or not) chose a large number of books that year.

I will have to confess that I almost stopped at half way through, and commenced and finished another book, before coming back and finished this book. I rarely not finish a book as to which I have made a substantial entre into, though I do wonder whether I would have finished it if it were not a book club item....but I keep looking at the very high ratings from others ...

Big Ship

25 August 2023 ( )
  bigship | Aug 25, 2023 |
Just to be clear. I loved The Martian. I got wind of a little while before it got really popular (thank you, Writing Excuses podcast!), got my book club to read and discuss it and devoured it in no time. I also liked Artemis (not as much as The Martian; but apparently more than many other readers).

When I heard about Project Hail Mary and Peter Weir's return to gritty, science-based storytelling and interstellar setting, I knew I had to read it. It had to be my kind of book. Then, I started reading and felt very let down. A first-person account of waking up out of a coma, confused and in a closed room didn't pull me in. I almost gave up before the main character finally started having flashes of memory about who he was and what he was supposed to do. His recollections of Earth and the other characters brought some actual life, albeit stick-figured, cliché-ridden life, to the stage. I stuck with it.

When Rocky showed up, I was as charmed as anyone. And I've got to hand it to Mr. Weir, he came up with some intriguing science-based mysteries to unravel during the second half of the book. The entire story gave me flashbacks to stories from the middle of the previous century, and not always in a good way. There were a few nice modern touches and genuine effort was made to avoid too much handwavium. But I still feel like there was plenty of that.

I give the first half of the book 2.5 stars and the latter 3.5 stars for an average of 3 stars and some hope that the next book from the author is more well rounded and modern.

Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Ballantine Books for providing a free copy of this book in return for my honest review. ( )
  zot79 | Aug 20, 2023 |
I loved everything about this book. The characters, the pacing, the science, the tension. Man, it was excellent. I would give it 10 stars if I could. ( )
  beentsy | Aug 12, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 280 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Weir, AndyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kolehmainen, AnnukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langowski, JürgenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Madejski, RadosławTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, RayNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission to save both humanity and the earth, Ryland Grace is hurtled into the depths of space when he must conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

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