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Project Hail Mary

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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?

476 pages, Hardcover

First published May 4, 2021

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About the author

Andy Weir

48 books43.1k followers
ANDY WEIR built a career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, THE MARTIAN, allowed him to live out his dream of writing fulltime. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects such as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California. Andy’s next book, ARTEMIS, is available now.

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5 stars
244,159 (63%)
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3 stars
26,921 (6%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 49,252 reviews
Profile Image for Nataliya.
713 reviews11.3k followers
September 3, 2022
“I’d have to do the math to know for sure but — I can’t help it, I want to do the math right now.”
This book is half science experiments, half wacky buddy comedy — and it just works so so so well! That nerdy glee I felt on every page of The Martian is back full force. By golly*, I am so gosh-darn* happy right now. Geez and fudge and Holy Moly!*. (Yeah, this book’s protagonist tends to sound like he’s 85 — he’s just not a foul-mouthed sort of a scientist):
*
“The whole world put you in charge of solving this problem, and you came directly to a junior high school science teacher?”
“Yes.”
In The Martian, Mark Watney woke up with an antenna sticking out of his chest and realized he had to science the shit out of it if he wanted to survive on Mars. In Project Hail Mary, Ryland Grace wakes up from a coma with a bunch of tubes sticking out of him (including that spot where the sun don’t shine) and realizes that he has no memory of what happened — and eventually, through a bit of complicated science, realizes and remembers that he’s the sole survivor of a mission that’s the last ditch chance to save Earth from a star-eating microbe (“Evolution can be insanely effective when you leave it alone for a few billion years.”). For life that needs the output of the Sun it’s not good news. And yes, he also will need to science the shit out of it.
“How did you do it? What killed it?”
“I penetrated the outer cell membrane with a nanosyringe.”
“You poked it with a stick?”
“No!” I said. “Well. Yes. But it was a scientific poke with a very scientific stick.”

It’s obvious how wonderfully nerdy Andy Weir is. It’s obvious how happy random science stuff makes him — and that enthusiasm is infectious (not Astrophage-infectious but pretty darn close). As he says in this interview,“My favorite part of writing is the research, and the math, and the figuring all that stuff out.”
“The largest nuclear reactor on Earth makes about eight gigawatts. It would take that reactor two million years to create that much energy.”
How can you not love a book that shows such resourcefulness and competence in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds? Done with overexcited enthusiasm in the most endearing way, full of sarcastic self-deprecation and humor as coping mechanism, and teaching us science the same way as a very good junior high science teacher may explain concepts to a group of overexcitable preteens. And you betcha that Weir shows his work, and even those not well-versed in science should be able to get it as he really makes it very accessible and non-daunting.
“No, that’s not creepy at all. Being in a spaceship twelve light-years from home and having someone knock on the door is totally normal.”

Luckily, unlike Mark Watney, Ryland Grace is not quite alone. Yes, discovering the desiccated bodies of his crewmates makes him think that “I’m going to die out here. And I’m going to die alone” — but And it plays out in the best possible way, because Rocky is by far one of the best SF characters ever. I mean it. Ever.
“I don’t want to look dumb in front of the .
Because they’re surely watching me right now. Probably counting my limbs, noting my size, figuring out what part they should eat first, whatever.”
————
“Humanity’s first miscommunication with . Glad I could be a part of it.”

There are no space battles or invasions or bad guys (well, minus the star-eating microbe that’s doing its star-eating microbe thing while threatening the existence of at least two sentient species in the universe) — nothing that would be typical for the genre. Instead we have smart science and solid reasoning and friendly collaboration that are at the forefront and serve to even out the seemingly insurmountable odds. There is a problem that needs to be solved — and so we are going to solve it, and it’s so much fun. Andy Weir is back in full force, and I’m ridiculously happy about that.
“What I’m really looking for is something like “Information” or “Here to save humanity? Press this button to learn more!”
————
“I decide on a more tactile approach: I’m gonna start pushing buttons!
Hopefully there’s no “Blow Up the Ship” button.”

Just like The Martian, it’s one of those books that restore the faith in humanity even for the most jaded of us. Because when we put our minds to it we can cooperate and collaborate and do wonderful things.
“But there’s no reason aliens would follow the righty-tighty-lefty-loosey rule, is there?”

Oh, and I think I highlighted about half of this book, and I’m running out of the ways to include quotes in my review, so yeah. I love it.
“Oh thank God. I can’t imagine explaining “sleep” to someone who had never heard of it. Hey, I’m going to fall unconscious and hallucinate for a while. By the way, I spend a third of my time doing this. And if I can’t do it for a while, I go insane and eventually die. No need for concern.”

5 stars, safely Astrophage-free.

——————
Also posted on my blog.

——————

My Hugo and Nebula Awards Reading Project 2022
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,067 reviews38.1k followers
January 3, 2023
Happy book birthday to the most anticipated sci-fi novel of the year!🥳

I can proudly honestly excitedly announce a GRANDIOSE WINNER now!

I know my overcooked brain cells don’t have enough capacity to absorb every complicated, detailed, elaborated scientific facts and fantastic world building which amazed me at least thousand times but I fell so hard what I could understand which is enough for me to enjoy this book!

It truly hugged my inner weirdness and nerdy proportionally!

Since the Martian I was expecting something equally blistering, earth shattering, marvelous from this author! After the disappointment feelings I got from Artemis, I am truly satisfied with my space journey, intriguing mystery and another one man against the universe to save lives theme!

Ryland Grace wakes up from miles away from his home, lying down on a soft bed, surrounded by cameras watching his every move, wearing breathing mask tight on his face, naked, connected to more tubes he may count! And this is not the only weird thing about his situation: he is accompanied by two corpses and as a computer keeps asking what is two plus two.

Did I also mention he didn’t remember anything about himself including his name! And as we discover more about him by catching glimpses from his past, we realize this man is only hope to save the universe and he’s the sole survivor of desperate deep space mission ( you may call it suicide mission) Through the scattered quick flashbacks, we gather more information how he was assigned for this project !

I don’t want to spill more about details which I always do : because the surprise elements and unexpected twists are important to enjoy this journey!

Even though this looks like a long journey, narrated by one man who barely gathers his memories and rediscovers his identity ( so ironic, right, a world’s future depends on a man who tries to redefine who he’s and how he finds his real mission to exist), this book is truly a precious, addictive gem! It is smart, complex, entertaining but in the meantime thrilling, claustrophobic: the dark parts equally balanced the witty, enjoyable parts.

And let me tell you something, I loved to spend my time in Ryland’s mind. He was such a great narrator who has dark and witty sense of humor. You easily engage with him and deeply feel his dilemmas, struggles!

Overall: maybe it’s too early to declare but I feel like this will be my best sci-fi reading of this year!

I’m so thankful to Mimi Chan and fantastic Goodreads team to share this remarkable, one of the best reads of the year with me!

I highly recommend this extra smart, compelling, entertaining, well crafted novel! I’m planning to reread again in near future! At some parts I found it more enjoyable than Martian!

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
November 25, 2021
I think my job is to solve the Petrova problem.
…in a small lab, wearing a bedsheet toga, with no idea who I am, and no help other than a mindless computer and two mummified roommates.

Guess I was wrong to resist reading this for months. Thing is, I liked The Martian and really really disliked Artemis. In fact, Weir's second novel bored and annoyed me so much that I was set against ever reading his future books. But after seeing positive review after positive review and having friends tell me to read this, I finally did. And Project Hail Mary was so much fun. And science-y. And a bit sad. But mostly fun.

It's a different sort of story, but Project Hail Mary contains a lot of the stuff that made The Martian good. The stakes in the novel feel immense, the chance of coming up with a plan and getting out of the central predicament seems tiny, and all of this science drama is juxtaposed with the narrative voice-- basically, a funny, can't-help-but-love-him nerd who manages to put his brain to work in the direst of circumstances.

We begin with Ryland Grace waking up on a spaceship with no idea who he is and how he got there. Exploring his surroundings, he quickly discovers that his crew mates are dead and he is humanity's last hope for survival. I won't reveal his mission because I think learning about it through flashbacks is part of the fun, and the more we learn the more impossible his mission seems.

I'll leave it at that. The book alternates between the past in the run up to the mission as we discover the huge problem humanity faces, and the present in which Ryland Grace attempts to save our planet. The world of the novel gets bigger and wilder and I have to say I very much enjoyed the adventure and mystery.

It's not five stars for me because I felt it ran on a little long in the middle with the characters having one nerdgasm after another (which seems to be a thing with Weir) and I also saw the "twist" coming, if you can call it that . But the later chapters of the novel were really strong and quite... bittersweet, actually.
Profile Image for Yun.
505 reviews18k followers
May 8, 2022
Thoroughly imaginative, scientifically sound, and emotionally stirring, Project Hail Mary slayed me and is destined to become one of my all-time favorite books!

Ryland Grace wakes up in a spaceship light years from Earth. The problem is he doesn't remember who he is or what he's supposed to do. But whatever it is, it must be important, or he wouldn't have been sent on this mission with two other astronauts. Unfortunately, neither of them survived the journey, so he is all alone. And he is Earth's last hope for survival.

One thing that completely amazed me was how believable and plausible the science is in here. There's nothing worse than reading a science fiction book and realizing that the science part is all sham. Not here, folks. Not only is the premise intriguing and ingenious, but the whole thing actually makes sense. And it's easy to grasp and digest, divided into small bits that any layman can understand.

For me, science fiction falls into two categories: the Twilight Zone kind where kooky things are going on and explanations are a bit handwavy; or things are happening based on real science and there are actual explanations for everything. And this book falls solidly in the second, which is my favorite kind.

Science aside, this story is so much more. It is about hope and finding connections in the most unexpected of places. It's overcoming fear and adversity. It's digging deep within yourself, rising to the challenge, and becoming all that you are capable of.

I'm not sure how Andy Weir came up with the idea for this book, though I can't help but wonder at its sheer audacity. It was compelling from the first page, and it just got better and better. It was utterly unputdownable.

When I'm reading a book, I'm always looking for that special rare experience where the book touches me and I walk away irrevocably changed. This book made me laugh, think, hope, and marvel. It doesn't get any better than this.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
See also, my thoughts on:
The Martian
~~~~~~~~~~~~

This was a pick for my Book of the Month box. Get your first book for $5 here.
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
376 reviews2,793 followers
September 30, 2022
Yes yes yes. Good book. Good book. Good book.

Ryland Grace, the coolest middle school science teacher ever, slows opens his eyes to discover himself on a spaceship. However, he can't remember his name or his exact mission. Will this scientist discover and fulfill his mission in time to save humanity?

Project Hail Mary had a very conversational tone, the prose was so smooth and not clunky, and I highly, highly recommend the audiobook. The energy and enthusiasm of the narrator was infectious. Project Hail Mary was extremely entertaining, and the storytelling was top-notch.

Overall, highly recommended if you want to read an entertaining book with a bit of non-boring science mixed in.

2022 Reading Schedule
Jan Animal Farm
Feb Lord of the Flies
Mar The Da Vinci Code
Apr Of Mice and Men
May Memoirs of a Geisha
Jun Little Women
Jul The Lovely Bones
Aug Charlotte's Web
Sep Life of Pi
Oct Dracula
Nov Gone with the Wind
Dec The Secret Garden

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Profile Image for Bill Gates.
Author 9 books505k followers
Read
January 25, 2022
Like most people, I was first introduced to Weir’s writing through The Martian. His latest novel is a wild tale about a high school science teacher who wakes up in a different star system with no memory of how he got there. The rest of the story is all about how he uses science and engineering to save the day. It’s a fun read, and I finished the whole thing in one weekend.
Profile Image for Taylor Reid.
Author 18 books125k followers
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May 4, 2021
I love accessible sci-fi and I truly do not know how Andy Weir makes his books so readable and yet so comprehensive in terms of the science. This is a page-turner. It’s so much fun! Ryland wakes up alone on a spaceship and doesn’t remember who he is, what his mission is, or even where in the universe he is. Everything just gets wilder from there.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,367 reviews9,433 followers
March 6, 2022
UPDATE: $3.99 on Kindle US today 3/6/22

5 Stars ⭐️

I loved the Martian, loved Artemis but Project Hail Mary was everything!

The book starts out with some cray and you don’t want to put it down because you want to know what the hell is going on!!

The story goes back and forth from the present to the past and how it all came to be.

My favorite part was when Rocky came onto the scene. I love him so much and if you read the book and don’t love him, there is something wrong with you.

The book has plenty of science, humor, edge of your seat moments, friendship, the fight for survival, and some wonderful bittersweet crying moments. All of that could just be me. Kudos Mr. Weir for adding another favorite book to my list!

PS. Rocky was everything!! Just had to reiterate my love for him and OMG, that ending!! It was so good 😫

**Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for a copy of this book.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

BLOG:https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot....
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan .
944 reviews1,884 followers
June 7, 2022

I have read two books by the same author simultaneously a few times in my life. But I never had such a contrasting opinion about two books like this book and Artemis. I liked the book The Martian by Andy Weir. So I was sure that I was going to love both these books. But I was totally mistaken and was off to a roller coaster ride with these books. Andy Weir perfectly showed us what exactly failing forward means. Artemis was an utter disaster and one of the worst books I have read this year. It was released in 2017. The author learned from all the harsh criticisms the book received and came up with a stunner one week ago called Project Hail Mary. This is an absolute gem of a book.

This book teaches us many vital concepts. The whole of Earth's future is lying in the hands of the protagonist, Roland Grace. To make things even worse, he doesn't even know who he is when he wakes up one day in his ship with the rest of the crew dead. You might be thinking this might be something like Robert Ludlam's Jason Bourne meets Christopher Nolan's, Joseph Cooper. Initially, we might feel like that, but we will understand that it is entirely different, having so many different layers when we dive deep into this novel. We will land up in some realms that no other author has explored, and we will be deeply immersed in it that we will lose track of time and sleep like the protagonist. We will need someone like Rocky in this novel to remind us that we are human beings and we need to sleep to function properly.

There are twists and turns galore, but there is no mind-bending twist like we see in Blake Crouch's books. This book makes us emotional, but nothing will break our hearts or drastically change our life. We can't also see philosophical musings like in Ursula K. Le Guinea's books. But still, this novel is unique, and we can see the brilliance seen only in the novels written by Isaac Asimov and Arthur C.Clarke.

What I learned from this book
1) Science behind Project Hail Mary
There are many complex empirical scientific theories discussed in this book, but most of them can be understood by an ordinary person, and only a few will go over your head if you love to read science fiction. We can see that the author had done fastidious work for writing this novel.

Almost all branches of Science are discussed vividly in this book. Roland Grace might have been a disgraced molecular biologist, but he is well versed in nearly all branches of science. We can see him discussing Formal science (mathematics, statistics, and computer science), Natural science (physics and various subdivisions of it, chemistry, biology, astronomy, medicine (particularly biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology and pathology), engineering), and even Social science (sociology, psychology, and economics).

Grace is trying to solve an elusive problem without even knowing who he actually is, which makes his journey even more complicated. I want to discuss a lot more about the scientific ideas addressed in this novel. But if I say one more word, it might become a spoiler and ruin your reading experience of this fantastic novel. So I m leaving it to you to explore and enjoy your own way.
"I penetrated the outer cell membrane with a nanosyringe."
"You poked it with a stick?"
"No!" I said. "Well. Yes. But it was a scientific poke with a very scientific stick”

“I’m a scientist! Now we’re getting somewhere! Time for me to use science. All right, genius brain: come up with something! …I’m hungry. ”


2) Empathy
This book might be coming under the genre of science fiction, and it truly lives up to its expectations, but if someone asks me what the thing I loved the most in this book is, my answer will be the empathy shown by the characters towards others. Unlike the author's earlier books, where the protagonists were impetuous, arrogant, and toxic to a certain extent, the characters in this book are entirely different. The friendship between Rocky and Roland Grace will touch our hearts.
“Well, you’re not alone anymore, buddy,” I say. “Neither of us are.”


"Another similarity you and me both willing to die for our people. Why? Evolution hates death."
"It's good for the species, I said. "Self -sacrifice instincts makes the species as a whole more likely to continue."


3) An interesting way to look at evolution
Andy Weir interestingly uniquely discusses about evolution in this novel. Some people will find it hard to digest when he says that evolution is lazy. But it is true that we can also view it from such an angle
"Intelligence evolves to gives us an advantage over the other animals on our planet. But evolution is lazy. Once a problem is solved, the trait stops evolving."


4) Friendship
We will see one of the unique friendships we have seen in recent times in this novel. It will take some time for us to understand the chemistry between Grace and Rocky. The bond between them becomes so strong that they are ready to sacrifice their lives to save the other person. They use very few sentences between them during the conversation, especially in the initial part. Still, we can see honesty, humor, love, generosity, trust, care for each other, encouragement, supportiveness, and dependability between them. They develop some telepathic connection between them and can predict the other person's behavior and act according to that. Among all the books I have read and movies I have seen, I was able to see a similar chemistry only in the film made together by Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison.

“I've gone from "sole-surviving space explorer" to "guy with a wacky new roommate." It'll be interesting to see how this plays out”


5) Ice age
We have seen many books, cartoons, and movies dealing with the topic of the ice age. This book is also dealing with the same concept. Even though we will feel it a little hard to believe, I think this is one of the very few books that tried to explain the reason behind the ice age in the best possible way.
“That would mean ice age, like right away an instant ice age.”


6) Astrophage and Tau Ceti
These are the two new names you will hear the most while reading this novel. The way the author describes about it is simply brilliant.
“Astrophage, the word alone makes my muscles clinge up, a chilling terror that hits like a lead weight.”


7) World building
This book will teach us how to do proper world-building. Everything in this plot is explained to the minute level with appropriate scientific data. The way the protagonist describes the Astrophage life cycle is simply brilliant. This is one of the best world-building I have seen in a novel.
“A teeny tiny thrust on a teeny tiny mass can be an effective mode of propulsion”


My favourite three lines from this book
“Human beings have a remarkable ability to accept the abnormal and make it normal.”


“My subconscious mind has priorities and it is definitely telling me about this.”


“It’s a weird feeling, scientific breakthroughs.”


What could have been better?
The complicated scientific information in the initial parts might be boring for some readers who don't love to read science fiction. But the best part of this novel is that we can enjoy this novel even if we don't fully understand the scientific facts discussed in it if we show the patience to continue reading after the initial part where we are bombarded with a plethora of scientific information. There are some areas in this novel where you will feel slightly similar to the author's earlier book, The Martian.

Rating
5/5 This is certainly a masterpiece that everyone should read. If someone like Alfonso Cuarón, Robert Zemeckis or Christopher Nolan decides to make the movie of this novel, I am sure that it will give us a transcending cinematic experience and win many accolades and Oscars. Even though I am envious of my friends who were able to read this book way before it was published, I am still feeling blessed as I was able to read it just after it was published.
Profile Image for Julie In Wonderland.
250 reviews88 followers
August 2, 2021
Andy Weir cannot write and I'm tired of people pretending he can.

First, let's talk about characters- well, there is no character here. I only see a vague man-shaped science textbook in an astronaut suit. Wait, let me put my glasses on. OH, I know him. Quirky, wisecracking, nerd who likes space.. It's Mark Watney.



Mark Watney's alone in the space, again. Oh. Can you believe his luck? Anyway, he's alone and he's quirky and nerdy and that's all very nicely boring but hold on.. there are flashback scenes. We get to meet other people. A diverse group of scientists from many countries to save the world. YAY.

No, I take that back. No YAY. This is no diverse group of scientists. This is a collection of bad, outdated racial and character stereotypes stolen from bad Hollywood movies from white directors. Sure, the Russian drinks vodka. Asians speak with horrible accents. (I was ready to punch the narrator at that point.) Kids are all polite and interested in lessons and all laugh at the teacher's jokes. (This Mark Watney Pro Max is a schoolteacher and Andy Weir's never been in a classroom) The bossy female boss is bossy. Scientists make sex jokes that are not funny if you're not a 14 year old virgin. (Remember that famousThe Martian boobs emoticon? I just love Andy Weir's characters.) And of course, every one lovessss our hero. There's even a line in the book along the lines of 'everyone likes you better' . Yes, really.



It just grates on my nerves. It's obvious the author does not have much experiences with human relationships but instead of using that and giving his characters more life and making them awkward and human, he has to have them become HEROes: perfect little Gary Stus who are smart and nerdy social butterflies, and most popular guys in the multiverse.

Wait, there's an alien. Oh my god, finally something interesting.......annd it's not. Rocky, the alien's character, had to be offensive to aliens if aliens read badly-written sci-fi books. He waves and thumbs up and mimics our hero because
1, that's logical we all mimic when we see another species make weird signs with their appendages and
2,because the alien has no culture of his own apart from what a 12 year old kid thinks how aliens eat, sleep and shit.

Once they got talking, (yes they talked. I'll get to that later.), we finally learn Rocky's personality. It must be quite different from humans, coming from a different universe and all but wait a minute. He's nerdy and quirky and is talking like a certain human we know. *Gasps He's Mark Watney with eight legs.

By now, we've already got a Mark Watney in the spacecraft Hail Mary. There is a Russian Mark Watney on Earth with vodka. Another Mark Watney with boobs. An Asian Mark Watney. Now there's an alien Mark Watney. It's an abundance of Mark Watneys. Who said this is not sci-fi horror? Mom, pick me up. I'm scared.



So let's take a look at the plot maybe that's where the five star reviews get their stars from. But... but....there is no plot. I actually liked the idea of an apocalypse causing aliens being single celled bacterium kind of organisms but that's it. Apart from this, the rest of the whole plot is a childish daydream that could be concocted by any middle grade school children who have watched star trek once.
It is juvenile to the point of embarrassing. A junior school-teacher is the hero Earth sent for the first ever interstellar mission? Okay. Sounds unrealistic but okay.
Then he's the first person to be allowed to experiment on the astrophage (the alien space invaders). That's it. Just him in a laboratory. For a world-ending scientific discovery.
One person is coordinating the entire multinational mission. And she's exempted from any legal repercussions. She's absurd to the point of not resembling a human female. Andy Weir would have us think she's a real human woman but I bet she's a robot and Andy Weir doesn't even know it.

Two of the entire 3 person-crew died leaving only our hero. (Not a spoiler. Happens at the very beginning.) That's probably because Andy Weir knows he can't handle more than the astounding number of one character. So, he killed them off. Nice.
He met an alien and everything goes smoothly because Our HERO figures out the alien language in record time. Of course. And not just general phrases but really long, completed sentences. Combine that with their shared personality or lack there of, makes their conversations sound like a kid playing astronauts and aliens by himself.

And this all happens in the first chapters. The rest is just massive info dumps from our hero (I'll just keep saying our hero because that's what the MC and Andy Weir wants us to think. H.E.R.O.) because he's so smart and awesome and convenient problems arising only to be solved by, you guess it, our hero because he's so good at science stuff and, you know, so smart and awesome.

This whole plot is a slap to the face but the ending? It's a kick to the groin. It's like Andy Weir thinks 'Well, you've endured this whole fairy tale, might as well get this cheesy and extremely implausible ending shoved down your throat. Goodbye.'

This is not a book but a wish fulfilment of a childish sci-fi fantasy Andy Weir must have thought up during one boring physics class back in middle school and it's utterly embarrassing. If I had written it, I would not have showed it to my cat, let alone a publisher. At the end, Andy Weir did not make me care about Mark Watney Pro Max nor about Earth and apocalypse or Rocky even. Everything's just over the top and ridiculous. It's like a parody. Not a real novel.

I saw that it's already been bought to be made into a movie. The Martian movie was 100000 times better and if this is turned into a movie, who knows? I might enjoy it. Maybe Andy Weir is better suited at drafting movie ideas than actually writing these not-books. Because honestly, this is the second time I've tried his writing and both times, I felt like I was trapped in an elevator during blackout with someone I can’t stand.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,424 reviews8,979 followers
December 12, 2022
When Ryland Grace awakens from a coma, he discovers he is on a spaceship. He doesn't know why, or how, in fact, he can't even remember his own name.

Checking his surroundings, Ryland quickly determines he is alone; the two other crew members evidently not making it out of their comas. Well, shoot, not good.



Figuring he has nothing but time, Ryland sets about investigating his surroundings in the hopes of determining his purpose for being there.

As his memories slowly return, he understands the importance, and improbability of his task. He's on a solo mission to save Earth from an extinction-level event. So, no pressure.



I absolutely adored this story. I am one of the few people left on the planet who hasn't read, The Martian yet and after reading this, I'm disappointed in myself.

This was incredibly well-written; fast-paced, clever and hilarious. I loved Ryland's character so much. His analytical, yet humorous nature, truly made this story shine.



As a longtime Sci-Fi fan, I can honestly say, this is one of the best books I have ever read in the genre. Everything about it was gripping from start-to-finish.

The way Weir constructed the mystery behind Ryland's circumstances and then plotted the reveals, chef's kiss!!!



I highly recommend this, even if you don't tend to read Science-Fiction, I believe this story can be enjoyed by Readers of all genres.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It was a remarkable reading experience, one I will remember for a long time!!

Profile Image for Petrik.
654 reviews39.8k followers
December 17, 2022
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

ARC provided by Goodreads and the publishers—Ballantine Books, Cornerstone—in exchange for an honest review.


3.5/5 stars

Andy Weir is back with a new novel suitable for fans of The Martian.


“Stupid humanity. Getting in the way of my hobbies.”


I’m sure I’m not the only that became a fan of Weir’s work because of The Martian. For years I’ve heard such amazing things about The Martian, and it’s not until three months ago that I caved in and finally read The Martian. I was blown away by how good it was. It’s an incredible thing, especially because I’ve watched the movie adaptation first, and I knew how the story will go already. And still, I was impressed, entertained, and felt satisfied from reading the novel. I know that Artemis has been mixed received; I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t say much on this novel. However, if you’re a fan of The Martian, I really don’t see how you’ll end up disliking this one.

“Sometimes, the stuff we all hate ends up being the only way to do things.”


If you haven’t heard of the premise of Project Hail Mary, I’m going to sum it up briefly now. Ryland Grace is a lone astronaut with a task to save Earth from disaster, but he’s alone, and he has no memories of what has happened before. He has to find a way to save Earth from disaster, and then come back home, all by himself. See? It’s practically the premise of The Martian with a new addition of saving the world. I won’t lie, there were times where the plot and the structure of the storyline felt too similar; I enjoyed it, but an extra distinction would’ve earned this book a better remembrance strength in my head. That being said, this isn’t a carbon copy of The Martian; Weir still managed to make Project Hail Mary a different book besides the incredibly similar premise and storytelling structure.

“I feel like Sherlock Holmes. All I saw was “nothing,” and I draw a bunch of conclusions! Conclusions that are wildly speculative and with nothing to prove them, but conclusions!”


Ryland Grace, as a character, felt pretty much like a non-foul-mouthed Mark Watney. Other than that, the voice of his narrative felt highly similar to Mark Watney; whether this is a good thing or not, it’s up to each reader to interpret. Personally, despite the similarity to Mark Watney, this was a good thing for me because I was indeed in a mood for reading a POV of a character that can act positively despite their harsh circumstances; I got what I wanted here. I did, however, found that the scientific details were too much.

“Human suffering is often an abstract concept to kids. But animal suffering is something else entirely.”


I’m not claiming that I understood every scientific detail in The Martian, but in my opinion, Weir did a superb job in balancing the science info-dump in The Martian along with the characterization, plotting, and humor. The Martian never stopped feeling super intriguing and captivating to me. That’s not the case in Project Hail Mary, not at first, anyway. The heavy discussions on mathematics and physics were simply over my head, and there were so many of them in the first half of the novel that it felt to me like I was transported back to high school to fail these two lessons again. Fortunately, the second half remedied the pacing; the balance between plot, characters, dialogues, and scientific info-dumps was handled significantly better. And similar to The Martian, the ending of Project Hail Mary was enormously satisfying.

“Maybe it’s just the childish optimist in me, but humanity can be pretty impressive when we put our minds to it.”


Filled with positivity, intellect, and thrill, to me Project Hail Mary was almost as good as The Martian. I will admit that my expectations towards this novel may be a bit too high, and I’m sure many readers who enjoy—plus understand—the intricate scientific details will have a more enjoyable reading experience. What’s the highlight of Project Hail Mary? Rocky. That’s all I’m going to say on this.

Official release date: 4th May 2021

You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping) | Bookshop (Support Local Bookstores!)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Ben, Blaise, Devin, Diana, Edward, Ellen, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Lufi, Melinda, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Sarah, Seth, Shaad, Summer, Zoe.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
733 reviews3,393 followers
December 19, 2021
AI, Aliens, MacGyvering, global cooling, and corpses combined to another astonishing Robinsonade soon escalating to more complexity and depth than Weirs´ already great, first work The Martian.

Good old flashback amnesia who where what why wtf.
Combine this with the right, cynical, auto self sarcasting worldview POV and one gets tons of humor and edutainment, mixed with a suspenseful saving the earth plot, and the pages can´t be turned over fast enough, at least if there is still enough light because of the

Dimming, dimming little star…
What a great metaphor for exaggerated climate change reversal (more on that later) and what an ingenious double use for both the main plot and delivering a message by icing the badass factor to ultra cool absolute zero.

are the best
I can´t remember many similar, perfect matches from somewhere else in sci-fi, maybe because not many authors ever considered risking balancing the plot on such an relationship. Weirs´gags unfold thanks to good, old cultural differences, innuendos, social criticism, and contrasts, letting the reader permanently question what cool idea might come next and how Weir continues the sci-fi tradition of ironizing the heck out of the dysfunctional human society.

Should one freeze or should one sweat, science isn´t clear on that.
Global cooling or warming, glaciers or tropical greenhouse fun, it´s tricky to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea. Another of Weirs´ingenuities is to draw a completely different picture of our current climate crisis, by just reversing it to something some might hope for, at least for the time until all the damage we´ve done to earth´ weather, soil, ecological, etc systems can be fixed thanks to better tech. For instance with Dysonswarms of billions of small, automated, collective super AI automated, coordinated drones that block sunlight in the space around earth or do some work in the atmosphere like adding or removing the right chemicals from air and water, greening deserts, building superstructures, etc. Until then and tech saves us, each book awakening more public awareness regarding the mixture of the sixth extinction, Venus style super global heating catastrophes, not ever to mention all the wars and humanitarian crises this will cause, is important.

The irony is that we already have many of the technologies that could reduce the speed of self cannibalization, but prefer to put billions and trillions of fiat money in economic systems destroying and worsening the situation, although a simple shift of all the subsidies and central bank made fantasy money, not even physical anymore, just numbers, to use it to green everything in a sustainable way, could be made overnight. Economics is a fringe voodoo scam, one can do everything good or bad with it by just changing the dogmas and boring, badly written holy texts of macro economical yada yada yada. But that all goes too far, back to the show.

People happier with the Martian and Project Hail Mary than Artemis
Duh, Project Hail Mary, and The Martian are different styles, one could say different subgenres, full of humor and totally character and tech survival focused, while Artemis is more of a normal sci-fi novel with its conventions. People shouldn´t expect the always same writing style of evolving, new authors and consider that it might just subjectively not be their kind of subgenre of a genre new to them, but still a good book. It´s true, Martian and Mary are better, but that doesn´t make Artemis a bad book, it´s just not as accessible for not sci-fi heads.

Less is more
Like in many great works, Weir just uses humor, science, some tropes, characterization, social criticism, and innuendos to compress such immense space freighter loads of philosophy, ideas, creative thought experiments, and charm in this short work that one would like to know how long it originally (not just the kind of space opera ( would it have been a megahit or kind of flopped like Artemis instead? We´ll never know) he stopped writing and used elements of it in this one) was before he began finetuning and cutting it to perfection. Or did he first plot everything and didn´t creatively free write too much, I don´t even know what kind of writer he is, what a shame, I should be infected with Astrophages, proto molecules, T Virus, melding plague, etc. at the same time as an appropriate punishment.

Switching between nerdgasm, tragicomedy, and DIY tutorials
Thereby, Weir can be educational, funny, hopeless, and change tone and impact in perfect balance, to always keep all kinds of readers interested. In other cases, social sci-fi gets too sentimental without technobabble, which is itself too static and cold while nobody laughs, but here, all kinds of audiences get some individualized world saving plot possibilities served as stylish as possible.

Astrophaging
Did anyone notice that viruses aren´t just bad in real life, but great for all kinds of sci-fi, video games, and series? Especially if a unique, new combination of theoretical physics, science fantasy, real biochemistry, clarketech, and some billions of years of evolution are thrown into the mix, close to everything can come out and be used as unique, new, never before seen, or thought of plot device. What an incredible microorganism, even able to teach some hard STEM science just by its existence.

Friendship and relationships
Especially in contrast to the hard science focus, it´s astonishing that Weir shines where many sci-fi writers struggle. Creating living, credible characters with everyday problems while making the science accessible, funny, and more infotainment than soporific. Readers prone to both sides of the empathy scale can get so much out of this, because it offers the different perspectives of both cold, hard knowledge and emotional, soft vertebrate behavior.

Combine this with the accessibility to make it easy to love for everyone new to the genre and space science and what comes out is one of the possibly best and masterfully executed new ideas in modern sci-fi.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,284 reviews119k followers
October 6, 2022
Thirty years. I looked out at their little faces. In thirty years they’d all be in their early forties. They would bear the brunt of it all. And it wouldn’t be easy. These kids were going to grow up in an idyllic world and be thrown into an apocalyptic nightmare.
They were the generation that would experience the Sixth Extinction Event.
--------------------------------------
Knock-knock-knock.
No, that’s not creepy at all. Being in a spaceship twelve light-years from home and having someone knock on the door is totally normal.
At least Mark Watney was in the same solar system. At least Mark Watney had a rescue ship that might, at least, have been on the way. At least the sun that was shining down on Watney’s potato garden was not being nibbled to bits by some intergalactic pestilence. At least life on Mark Watney’s home planet was not looking at an expiration date measured in decades. Pretty cushy situation next to the one in which our astronaut finds himself in this story. At least Mark Watney knew who he was.
I slide one leg off over the edge of my bed, which makes it wobble. The robot arms rush toward me. I flinch, but they stop short and hover nearby. I think they’re ready to grab me if I fall.
“Full-body motion detected,” the computer says. “What’s your name?”
“Pfft, seriously?” I ask.
“Incorrect. Attempt number two: What’s your name?”
I open my mouth to answer.
“Uh…”
“Incorrect. Attempt number three: What’s your name?”
Only now does it occur to me: I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I do. I don’t remember anything at all.
“Um,” I say.
“Incorrect.”
A wave of fatigue grips me. It’s kind of pleasant, actually. The computer must have sedated me through the IV line.
“…waaaait…” I mumble.
The robot arms lay me gently back down to the bed.
The astronaut struggles to find out not only who he is, but where he is, and how he got there. Part of that is a running joke in which he makes up names to tell the computer. It’s pretty adorable. After working on a pendulum to help with an experiment, for example, he answers the computer with I am Pendulus the philosopher. Incorrect. He does, eventually, remember his name.

description
Andy Weir - image from his Facebook pages

The title of the book may seem opaque to some folks outside the US. Weir is referring, of course, to a last-ditch play to win or tie American football games. It is called the Hail Mary pass. Keep enough blockers back to protect the quarterback while all available receivers head for the end zone as the quarterback lofts a pass, usually of considerable distance, in the hope that one of the receivers can haul it in through an act of divine intercession. The play is named for the prayer of course.
It’s caused a lot of headaches with the translators. Nobody outside the U.S. knows this phrase. Even English-speaking countries like the U.K. don't have that expression. In most of the language translations, they're changing the title. In one of them it’s just called The Astronaut or something like that. - from the GR interview
In Andy Weir’s latest novel, the survival of life on planet Earth, and whatever other life might be swimming, flying, creeping, or otherwise meandering about in our solar system, is imperiled by an invasive species. (Not really a spoiler, more of an aside. The nasty little buggers have a talent for converting energy to mass and mass to energy. Their little eyes (if they had eyes) light up in the presence of an active power source the way some of us feel compelled by the sight of pastries in a shop window. Which would make our sun a doughnut shop with a few quadrillion hungry customers beating down the door. Not a wonderful situation for the shop. A more apt, if somewhat less entertaining image, is that of a vast swarm of locusts denuding a landscape.

Hoping for an act of god might be worth a shot. His ship, and the project that spawned it, are named for the prayer, even though by way of a sport. Hail Mary full of…um…Ryland? Well, Ryland Grace. It remains to be seen whether or not the Lord is with him, or his ship. But he is not alone, although, after finding that his crew-mates did not travel well, it seems like he would be.

Luckily for Ry, Earth is not the only populated planet imperiled by this galactic pain in the neck. He encounters another, and thus begins a beautiful friendship. I won’t bother with describing Rocky, other than to say that Rocky is not at all humanoid. Through engineering ingenuity and commonality of purpose the two find a way to communicate with and help each other in their mission to save their respective planets. There is a child-like quality to Rocky, as well as a very creative brain, and a universal decency, that will make you care about him/her/it/whatever. There is no one better than Weir at writing adorable.

Weir, the Ted Lasso of science fiction writing, has been trying to work on his character-writing skillset. He is amazed that so many people loved The Martian, despite the fact that his hero goes through absolutely no change during his ordeal. He had given Watney his best personal characteristics, on steroids. Then had a go at a less idealistic character in his novel, Artemis, using what he saw as some of his lesser personal characteristics to inform his lead.
Ryland Grace was my first attempt to make a protagonist not to be based on me. He's a unique character I'm creating from whole cloth, and so I'm not limited by my own personality or experiences. - from the GR interview
I am not sure he has succeeded. The special energy that powered astronaut Watney was a combination of superior technical skills, a wonderful, wise-ass sense of humor, a can-do attitude, and a deeply ingrained optimism. Mark Watney could have been on the Hail Mary in place of Ryland Grace and I am not sure most of us would have noticed, well, except for a couple of personal downsides. The sense of humor is pretty much the same. Ditto for the technical talent and scientific problem-solving predisposition. He may be a tick down from Watney on the optimism chart, but you will get the same satisfaction from watching Grace as you did his Martian predecessor. But while Weir’s character development skills might still be…um…under development, his story-telling skills remain excellent.

The stakes are high, global extermination, multiple global exterminations actually, and the future of life as we know it, and some life we know very little about at all, is dependent on two creatures working together to solve the biggest problem of all time. No pressure. So, a buddy story. A tale of friendship far from home.

The narration alternates between two timeframes. In the contemporary one, Ry uses his special scientific-method powers plus base of knowledge to figure out the situation he is in, and come up with serial solutions to serial challenges. This is totally like The Martian, although this guy is maybe a bit less funny.
I’m a smartass myself, so smartass comments come naturally to me. For me, humor is like the secret weapon of exposition. If you make exposition funny, the reader will forgive any amount of it. And in science fiction—especially with my self-imposed restriction that I want to be as scientifically accurate as possible—you end up spending a lot of time doing exposition. - from the Publishers Weekly interview
The other is the history of how he came to be there. This will also remind one of the back and forth of the on-Mars and Earth-politics alternating streams of Weir’s mega best seller.

Although his writing is out of this world, Weir’s process ain’t exactly rocket science. Like his characters, he uses available parts, plus a base of knowledge, to build what needs to be built. He had a few lying about in his shop.
After The Martian, I had this idea for this massive space epic—a traditional sci-fi pilot with aliens, faster-than-light travel, and telepathy and a war and, yeah, a ten-book series and everything. I worked on it for about a year; it was going to be called Zhek. I got 70,000 words in, and…I realized that it sucked…But there are a few nuggets in Zhek that were solid. There was one interesting character who was this absolutely no-nonsense woman with a ruthless drive to get what she needs to get done and a tremendous amount of secret authority. And she became Stratt in Project Hail Mary. The other thing is, in Zhek there was this substance called black matter, which was a technology invented by aliens that would absorb all electromagnetic waves, all light, and turn it into mass and then turn it back into light…if humanity got ahold of some of that, it would be neat, but it would suck if we accidentally let any of that get into the sun—that would be a disaster. I'm like, “Wait a minute, that would be a disaster! That's where books come from!” - from the Goodreads interview
And divorce lawyer billables. Love his evident excitement at this EUREKA moment. There is a decided innocence to it, and a natural-born optimist’s way of seeing the bright side of life, a characteristic with which Weir very successfully endows his leads, well, some of them anyway.

I quite enjoyed The Martian, despite Watney’s immutable self. And I liked Artemis as well, with its more nuanced lead. This one feels like more of a throwback to his earlier work. If you loved The Martian you are gonna love this one. Tough situation, far from home, charming, brilliant, smartass lead, with an adorable, brilliant, very non-human mensch of a pal, lots of mostly accessible science, and some fabulously interesting concepts. For a book that is pretty down to earth in many ways, Project Hail Mary is absolutely out of this world.
Science teachers know a lot of random facts.

Review first posted – May 7, 2021

Publication dates
----------Hardcover - May 4, 2021
----------Trade Paperback - October 4, 2022

Thanks to Ballantine books for an early look at Project Hail Mary and to MC (you know who you are) for interceding on my behalf to make that happen. You have been an answer to my prayers.

==========In the summer of 2019 GR reduced the allowable review size by 25%, from 20,000 to 15,000 characters. In order to accommodate the text beyond that I have moved it to the comments section directly below.

description
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,328 followers
October 18, 2021
*Spoiler Alert*

You couldn't have prised this out of my hands initially.

However, somewhere at the 60%
region, it got bogged down by too many flash-fires while our protagonist, Ryland Grace, the ultimate Gary Sue and the purveyor of all things Space/Biology/Physics/Chemistry/Engineering/Math/Music/Language/Etc, got progressively more facetious and irritating.

Like a modern-day John McClane (but in space) and with astrophage as the villain. The bumbling White guy who we all know will save the day. He even saved the aliens. Imagine that?

The only good thing about this book is Rocky the Eridian.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,034 reviews2,570 followers
May 24, 2021
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir 

Project Hail Mary gives us the story in several timelines. It starts with Ryland Grace waking up in a room, tubes and lines running from his body, mind groggy and memory slow to return. In fact, it's like he has amnesia. His two roommates died at some much earlier date, their bodies now mummified. He has no idea where he is, who the other people were, what he's supposed to do now. But there is a computerized voice urging him to "eat" slop from a tube and telling him he can't move forward without stating his name. Thankfully, as Grace looks around and performs small tasks, his memory slowly starts returning, in bits and pieces. 

Grace is on a mission to save Earth from the fact that it's sun's energy is waning. Life is dying, life will be completely wiped out unless energy consuming aliens can be eliminated. But why is a science teacher, whose students are 12-13 years old, on a spacecraft? Slowly, we learn everything and by the time Grace remembers it all, there is nothing to do but proceed with a mission that has fallen apart in many ways. 

Beware science and math! But no need to give it much thought if you are like me and are happy to let the character(s) take care of those pesky details. What I enjoyed so much about this story is something else but I don't want to spoil that something else. Grace's backstory is interesting and it's frightening to know what is probably happening back on Earth. Grace is it's only hope but can he do all that needs to be done to make this fractured mission a success?

Published May 4th 2021

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Nicole.
708 reviews1,734 followers
September 9, 2021
3.5 stars

This book while not as good as The Martian it was much better than Artemis. I was worried about reading it after my bad experience with Artemis so I honestly didn’t have high expectations, I’m glad to say I ended up enjoying this book a lot -for the most part.


In case you don’t know the premise, some alien microorganisms (astrophage) are eating the sun’s energy simply put which will make Earth colder and lead to another ice age. The 8th-grade teacher is a scientist who finds himself involved in researching this phenomenon and later he wakes up on a suicide mission to find a way to kill those astrophage and basically save Earth.


Well, credits where it’s due, this book required tons of research and it showed that Weir did his homework and then some more. He tried to explain everything using our laws of physics which was nice and interesting to read about.


I found this book -other than the science- smooth and easy to follow, sure it started slow but I liked being in Ryland Grace’s head and wasn’t bored by it. The book is told following two timelines, Ryland in space and the other whole Astrophage discovery and planning to save Earth preparing for project Hail Mary.


Okay, so why not 4 stars? Well, I had a "few" issues with this book.
✲ It was too similar to the Martian in the concept of “man alone in space doing some crazy shit” although I didn’t mind this while reading, I also can’t not mention it
✲ Grace’s voice was also too similar to Watney’s (I loved that guy) so I’m not sure how to feel about that. While it made the book easier to read, I certainly had some question marks about it. Like why not come up with a new characterization?

✲The science. Ok look, it was cool and I was very interested in it at first. Then it got technical. So much more technical. Needlessly so. I don’t know about footnotes in novels but maybe the overdone details could’ve been added as footnotes or something for those who’d like to read more about it? An external link for those interested?

✲ To borrow Hamad’s word, the characters were comical. They sometimes had a trait and their characterization was focused on that trait, especially Russians. They are always portrayed as stern by American authors, how cliché. Let’s make them the life of the party with their vodka!!!

✲ I hope this will be edited in the final version but oh, we had so many exclamation marks. Even I know enough to realize that the fewer exclamation marks used the better and this book had soo many while they simply could’ve been a period.

✲ For such a book that is based on logic, some things certainly didn’t reflect that. When Grace wakes up he has lost his memory, not technical knowledge just personal identity. So he’s trying to figure out where he’s from. He thinks of every way to figure that out and ohh he doesn’t think metric (also he’s such a cool American scientist!!! Thinks in metric too!). Can’t he speak and he’ll figure it out from his accent? British and American accents are pretty different for example. I’m no native English speaker and I still can distinguish lots of different accents.. his solution to where he's from is pretty simple but no we had to show how smart we are. Also, why would a Canadian know the distance between NY and LA? Why would anyone non-American know?
Another stupid thing was that he’s touching an alien object, he doesn’t wear gloves no. He ends up burning his hands but I found it pretty stupid to touch an alien object without gloves and without making sure that its surface is not poisonous or harmful to human skin…

✲ Stratt who is basically leading the whole project of saving Earth hasn’t studied ANYTHING to do with science and has people to tell her if this is the right choice or not scientifically.. she was dismissing the very helpful idea of someone if that person didn’t repeatedly demand her attention.

✲ The thing that I found hard to believe is how someone with a doctoral degree is teaching science to 8 grade. I would’ve been fine (but not really) if Grace had been a high school teacher. But middle grade with such a vast knowledge? Oh please. He also apparently has more knowledge than no other 37 years old has. He just knows a lot about everything scientific even if he didn’t do any research in years, even if he hasn’t majored in more than one scientific field, well, biology? Physics? Computer science? You name it. our guy knows about it.

I preferred honestly the present, past perspectives rarely interest me and this book was no exception. Sure I want to know how he got there.. but not in such detail. I just wanted to see how he’ll solve things. I understand however that this was needed in a way to make the book less Ryland heavy. I also liked the ending part.


Overall this book was fun even it got carried away with the scientific details. However, that’s about it, enjoyable. It lacked depth and fleshed-out characters. I would recommend it to Weir’s fans but if you haven’t read any of his books yet, then you should definitely start with the Martian, which I loved even if sci-fi is not my thing. I think it's gonna be liked by many people however and it'll be more successful for sure than Artemis because it's such an entertaining book! Also, it's certainly winning GR's best sci-fi for 2021.


Thanks to publishers and Netgalley for sending me an e-arc of this book

Profile Image for emma.
1,783 reviews42.8k followers
December 15, 2022
In life, I have one favorite thing and one least favorite thing.

My favorite thing is laughing. I am possibly the easiest laugh in the entirety of the human population. I chuckle through every interaction, I giggle at every standup special I've ever seen, I have been known to grin at commercials, greeting cards, and just about all paragons of humorlessness. I love this about myself, both because it makes daily life fun and because when I date men I love watching the horror as they realize that they are not exceptionally funny, I just think everyone is.

My least favorite thing is science. When I was still in school, I was a sickeningly obsessive student, addicted to studying and to good grades and to Learning. But science never made sense to me, and was thus my nemesis. When I went to college, the lack of hard science requirement at my chosen institution sealed the deal in terms of who I would pay absurd money to for several years in exchange for a piece of paper.

But when I read The Martian, I didn't hate the science, so I was excited for this book.

And here is where a cruel joke is played by the universe:

The best part of this book is my least favorite part about human existence, and the worst part is my favorite.

In other words, the science of this is interesting and fun, but the humor is corny and unfunny.

I don't even know what to do with myself.

Bottom line: Perhaps nothing will ever live up to the Martian for me!

--------------
pre-review

i am going to lose my mind.

review to come / 3 stars

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currently-reading updates

i would never, ever, in my life, ever be dramatic.

however, if this book isn't good...i'm going to explode.

literally and on purpose.

--------------
tbr review

i have been chasing the high the martian gave me for years, and i think this will finally get me there.
Profile Image for Kate Quinn.
Author 32 books21.4k followers
May 22, 2021
I can't remember the last time I cried so hard at the end of a book. Wow, wow, wow.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,477 reviews29.7k followers
February 13, 2021
okay. so i almost wrote off AW after the disaster that was ‘artemis.’ but im so glad i gave him another chance, because this was really fun.

im nowhere near smart enough to understand all of the technical and scientific dialogue in this (im also too lazy to fact check and do any research on the concepts discussed), but that did not stop me from enjoying this. and i honestly wasnt expecting much, so the fact that alien lifeforms are present, by way of a precious alien named rocky, really surprised me. rocky was honestly the highlight of this entire book and i loved his bond with ryland.

what i had an issue with was the characterisation (same problem i had with his other novels). AW has gotten a lot of criticism that his MCs are extremely vulgar and crude, and i agree. maybe he heard those complaints because ryland is a complete 180 - like sunday school ‘golly gee whiz’ and ‘aw shucks.’ its almost as if AW made ryland to be a parody of his other characters and its really laid on thick for the first half of the book. does AW not know that humans are complex - they dont have to be one extreme or the other, but can exist happily in the middle?

but regardless of the weird characterisation choice, this is a definite improvement from AWs previous novel. its a space journey i have no doubt readers will enjoy.

thanks random house/ballantine for the ARC!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for carol..
1,504 reviews7,555 followers
September 4, 2021
I have a confession. I’ve dreaded physics ever since that I failed Astrophysics at Harvard Summer School. Unsurprisingly to everyone but me, astrophysics turned out to be a lot more of this
description
and a lot less of stories about red dwarfs, black holes and moon shots. It turns out that I have very little brain for physics: I will understand it about as long as it takes a highly competent teacher to explain it to me and no longer. So when Weir started pulling out the physics calculations in Project, my attention immediately wandered, so much so that I wondered if it was going to be a DNF. Then he pulled a rabbit out of the hat.

I enjoyed The Martian, where Weir used his science cribbing to good effect, solving problems of air, growing potatoes, poop disposal, and heat. Unfortunately, in Project, just like astrophysics, it’s all about the mental gymnastics to make some calculations. Oh sure, there might be exciting consequences down the line. But a lot of the ‘magic’ comes down to pencil-and-paper calculations (or even worse, mental calculations).
You know what’s not exciting?
Math.
I love math, but math is not exciting. It’s orderly and satisfying, but it is not exciting, and although I appreciate how Weir tries to translate solving equations into their real-world applications of velocity, light and heat. As an example, early in the story there’s a bit where our hero is working out his velocity:

“Hmm, 11,872 kilometers per second. Velocity is relative. It doesn’t make any sense unless you are comparing two objects. A car on the freeway might be going 70 miles per hour compared to the ground, but compared to the car next to it, it’s moving almost 0. So what is that ‘measured velocity’ measuring the velocity of? I think I know.

I’m in a spaceship, right? I have to be. So that value is probably my velocity. But compared to what? Judging by the big ol’ picture of the sun over the text, I’m guessing it’s the sun. So I’m going 11,872 meters per second with respect to the sun.”

Pssst--Wake up! Yeah, I feel you; that was me nodding off in class after lunch.
Oh gosh–and don’t get me started on the ‘spin drive.’ Despite including an illustration in the front of the book, it did not compute.

Written in first person, the narrator is the same voice from The Martian, Mark Watney, albeit with substitutions–“darn,” “heck,” “gosh”–for the cursing and overall less personality. There’s a dual timeline, which adds tension to both the historical situation and the current one. Despite knowing the eventual outcome of the historical timeline (obviously, it leads to the current timeline), Weir still manages a couple of surprises.

However, I don’t know that Weir’s writing has improved. Yes, there’s lots of jokes and snark, and humor will carry one a long way. But read this awkward thought, originally singled out for its wry humor:

“I am not rested at all. Every pore of my being yells at me to go back to sleep, but I told Rocky I’d be back in two hours and I wouldn’t want him to think humans are untrustworthy.

I mean… we’re pretty untrustworthy, but I don’t want him to know that.”

Yes, all sorts of questionable construction. ‘At all’–necessary? Just awkward. Yes, I know people speak like this. But there’s a reason most authors leave these meaningless modifiers off their sentences. ‘Every pore’? Really? Our science guy says ‘pores’ can rest? This is the phrase Weir comes up with? And using the word ‘untrustworthy’ twice may be deliberate, but why not use ‘are’ instead of the contraction to emphasize it? It’s these little things that stand out when one reads slowly and/or carefully that really makes Weir a second-tier writer for me. He’s funny, sure. But so was Dave Barry and Erma Bombek. Remember them? Of course not.

I’ll leave discussion on plot points under the spoiler section. Suffice it to say that it both captured my interest but raised my science-disbelief index. Like a magician, Weir is busy showing us his ‘work’ so he can distract us from the real trick: getting us to believe in Rocky. I’m not complaining; after repeated attempts to pull my attention back to the book, Rocky is what sustained it. But there’s a lot of short-handed science there. Interestingly, it takes Rocky to really bring the emotional component into the book. Unlike Mark Watney, who had a family and crewmates, our intrepid science teacher seems to have no one. Literally. It’s hard to connect with a character who isn’t rooted in any relationships. When Rocky shows up, all that changes, which both saves and perhaps moves the story further into the ‘fantasy’ parts of science-fiction.

There was one section where Ryland Grace, the science teacher, is basically saying, “if a spaceship leaves Sol at X speed and another spaceship leaves Tau at Y speed, when will the two spaceships meet up?” This is basically Andy Weir’s answer to all those people making fun of story problems in math. Kind of ‘fun,’ in a curiosity sort of way, but perhaps not all that exciting.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.4k followers
June 13, 2021
I fucking loved this book so much, even more than The Martian and way more than I was expecting to. I love Ryland's character and there were moments in this book he had me laughing out loud which rarely happens for me in books. It's hard to discuss this book without spoilers, but I just absolutely LOVED where this story ended up going, it was so unexpected and so beautiful and it made me cry a few times. This book simultaneously reminded me of Interstellar, Ad Astra, and Arrival, all some of my favorite movies! Reading vlog where I read it: https://youtu.be/IBmz8kzf7DY

Profile Image for Labijose.
926 reviews382 followers
May 27, 2021
Vale, pensé que “The Martian” era lo más de lo más, y que Andy Weir era un autor que volaría muy alto. Luego, llegó “Artemis”, y pensé que quizás había sobrevalorado al autor. Pero, ahora, con “Proyecto Hail Mary”, me vuelvo a quitar el sombrero, con la confirmación de que Weir es un escritor que ha venido para quedarse, y para vender caro su puesto en el pódium.

Y sí, hay muchas similitudes entre su primera novela y esta tercera. Empezando por su protagonista. Aquí se llama Ryland Grace, pero bien podría haberse seguido llamando Mark Witney. Sus caracteres son muy parecidos, su sentido del humor también. Mark tenía que sobrevivir para poder regresar a la Tierra. Grace debe hacerlo para poder SALVARLA, porque hay unos bichitos (y no me pidáis que os explique lo que son, porque yo soy de letras) que se están comiendo la energía del sol, y, consecuencia de ello, la Tierra va a palmarla en pocos años. Así que lo más granado de la población terrícola se agrupa en torno a un proyecto que intente evitarlo. En principio, nuestro protagonista se encarga sólo de la formación del equipo….. hasta que se despierta muchos años después en el interior de la nave, y, de nuevo sólo y desamparado, sin recordar por qué está allí. Bueno, sólo no, hay dos cadáveres en su habitáculo.

Y no le voy a poner las cinco estrellas, porque la cantidad de información pseudo científica es tan abrumadora, que hay momentos en los que desconectas “ligeramente” del relato. Y aún así, creo que se las merece. Pero lo comparo con “The Martian”, y tengo que asumir que disfruté más con aquel que con este. Podrás ponerle pegas en cuanto al estilo narrativo o en cuanto al rigor científico de la novela, pero dudo mucho que eso te impida leértela casi de un tirón. Y siento mucha curiosidad por saber cómo será el Rocky cinematográfico, pues apenas he podido vislumbrarlo según la descripción del autor. En cuanto a Grace, sigo viendo a Matt Damon en el papel.

En resumen, una novela magnífica, muy entretenida y emotiva, sólo un pelín por debajo de su primera. Con sus Astrófagos y Taumebas. ¿Qué no sabes lo que son? ¡Pues ya tardas en enterarte!

September 27, 2021
”Human beings have a remarkable ability to accept the abnormal and make it normal”.

¿Confirmo que este es uno de los mejores jodidos libros que he leído en MUCHÍSIMO tiempo y que seguro se convertirá en uno de mis favoritos de la vida? Confirmo. Andy Weir, necesito que escribas tres libros por año porque eres un genio y adoro tus historias. Okey, momento fangirl acabado.

En Proyecto Hail Mary nos encontramos con la historia de Ryland Grace, un hombre que es, literalmente, la última esperanza de la humanidad para sobrevivir. ¿El problema? Acaba de despertar en una nave espacial a millones de años luz de la tierra, sus únicos dos compañeros de tripulación están muertos, no recuerda quién es y tampoco sabe muy bien cuál se supone que es su misión. Sin embargo, poco a poco su memoria vuelve y se da cuenta de lo absolutamente crítica y casi imposible que es su misión. Pero todo mejora cuando, de repente, conoce a un aliado en el espacio que le ayudará a intentar salvar a toda la raza humana.

De verdad, creo que tendría que escribir unas veinte páginas para poder transmitirles lo mucho que adoré este libro. Para mí era imposible dejar de leerlo, pues estaba tan involucrada con la historia de Ryland y con todo lo que propició el inicio de la misión que necesitaba entenderlo todo. Además, lo que hace Andy Weir con la pérdida de memoria de Ryland es absolutamente increíble. ¿Qué mejor manera de mantener a los lectores en el borde del asiento que haciendo que ellos y el mismísimo protagonista de su libro se enteren de lo que va pasando al mismo tiempo?

Proyecto Hail Mary, al igual que El Marciano, es un libro duro en el aspecto de ciencia del sci-fi. Hay muchísimas explicaciones de ciencia aeronáutica, física espacial y microbiología que, a menos que seas un experto, no vas a entender. Sin embargo, lo espectacular de este libro y de la manera en la que Andy Weir escribe es que, aunque no te estés enterando de nada con respecto a la ciencia, sientes que estás entendiendo y que haces parte de la historia como un científico más y no como un pobre lector absolutamente perdido. Es esa capacidad de engañar a nuestros cerebros la que me asombra de Andy Weir, por raro que suene.

Como les decía antes, una de mis partes favoritas de todo fue ir “recuperando” la memoria al mismo tiempo que Ryland e ir entendiendo cómo, ante una amenaza muy real de extinción de la raza humana, todos los países olvidaron sus riñas, sus presupuestos y cualquier otra diferencia y, bajo el mando de una mujer tenaz, empezaron a trabajar juntos para crear toda la tecnología y los planes necesarios para intentar darle una última oportunidad de supervivencia a la Tierra y a toda la humanidad.

Ahora, quizá esta es la parte más difícil de la reseña porque, además de lo que les mencionaba arriba, lo que más me gustó de todo el libro fue la relación que crea Ryland con su insospechado aliado espacial. Y, claro, si digo algo más al respecto les estaría spoileando una parte importantísima de la historia. Pero solo deben saber que Rocky es un personaje entrañable, inteligentísimo y muchísimo más especial que el 90% de los humanos del planeta Tierra. #TeamRockyForever #FistBump #JazzHands #SiLeyeronElLibroMeEntenderán

Creo que lo último que mencionaré en esta reseña es que las últimas 30 o 40 páginas de Proyecto Hail Mary son de las mejores que he leído en mi vida. En ese último tramo vives todas las emociones posibles: angustia, victoria, sufrimiento, preocupación, resignación… todas están allí. Y el final del libro no fue lo que me imaginaba, pero fue sublime. Definitivamente, este es un libro que deberían leer tanto si son amantes de la ciencia ficción como si no lo son. Les juro que lo van a disfrutar como pocos libros en la vida.
Profile Image for Blaine.
711 reviews569 followers
October 20, 2022
Oh my God, I am so going to die!
I hyperventilate for a while.
I remember what I tell my students: If you’re upset, take a deep breath, let it out, and count to ten. It dramatically reduced the number of tantrums in my classroom.
I take a breath. “One . . . two . . . thr—this isn’t working! I’m going to die!”
...
Maybe it’s just the childish optimist in me, but humanity can be pretty impressive when we put our minds to it.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for sending me an ARC of Project Hail Mary in exchange for an honest review.

It’s impossible to talk about Project Hail Mary without comparing it to the author’s bestselling smash, The Martian. Both books revolve about a man discovering he’s alone, far from Earth, facing an impossible task. Admittedly, the stakes in this book are quite a bit higher. If Mark Watney failed, he would die; if Ryland Grace fails, all of humanity may die. Why? Funny you should ask, because at first Ryland can’t remember either. So the story moves back and forth between what’s happening in the present and memories he’s starting to recover that explain why he’s alone on a spaceship millions of miles from Earth with humanity’s fate in his hands.

Ryland Grace isn’t exactly like Mark Watney, but they’re definitely more similar than they are different. So once again, there’s a lot of deadpanned humor and sarcasm in this story. And like with The Martian, the main character is once again a relatively ordinary person who is somehow also able to perform a staggering amount of tasks—theoretical, engineering, astronaut stuff, and more!—that it stretches the bounds of believability.

With all that said, Project Hail Mary is a difficult book to talk about because it has a secret that I’m simply unwillingly spoil. It’s revealed about a quarter of the way in—early enough that a person could bail if it was a hard pass for them. But while it took me a little while to accept what was happening, once I did I really enjoyed this book. Yes, some plot points get resolved mighty conveniently at times, but that doesn’t stop the story from working really well. It’s fun and very imaginative, with some good action sequences and a couple of nice twists. Maybe most of all, as with The Martian, there’s a sense of joy about science and discovery in these pages that’s just a pleasure to read. Recommended. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

5/4/2021 update: reposting my review to celebrate that today is publication day!
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,501 reviews24.5k followers
April 22, 2021
Andy Weir's latest smart sci-fi thriller, set in space, illustrates his trademark charm, humour and wit despite humanity on Earth facing extinction as an unknown organism, Astrophage, is discovered to be stealing energy from the sun en masse, thereby threatening life on earth in the not too distant future. In a story heavy on science and technology, which might not appeal to some readers, but which I found interesting, Dr Ryland Grace is a scientist who gravitated towards high school teaching after becoming a pariah in the scientific community with his 'wild' theory that you don't need water for life to exist. Grace awakens from an induced coma on the spaceship Hail Mary unable to recall who he is or where he is. However, there are two corpses on board, he is the sole survivor, if only he could remember what he meant to be doing.

In a narrative that shifts from the past to the present, Grace's memory comes back slowly, how he came to be at the heart of global efforts to come together to address the catastrophe in the form of the Petrova task force under the global leadership of its director, Eva Stratt, a driven woman who sweeps aside any obstacles and people who stand in her path with unnerving ease, paying no heed to laws, patents, ethics or morality, accessing the brightest minds, technology and any resource needed in her fight to save the Earth as we know it and its people. We learn of the challenges that arise, and when it becomes clear that there may be possible answers and hope on Tau Ceti, the only place where Astrophage is being destroyed, this leads to the development of the Hail Mary project and the recruitment of the best 3 person crew of astronauts and scientists to go to Tau Ceti, a crew willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

Grace's life brightens up considerably when he encounters the wonderfully quirky and charming Rocky, the two of them develop a beautifully co-operative, poignant and emotionally close relationship despite all their initial communication issues, but can the two of them save their respective worlds? This is a wonderfully engaging read that kept my interest throughout, and whilst I liked Grace, for me, the real star of the show was the unforgettable Rocky. I was completely invested in the challenges and threats Grace and Rocky face, there are twists and turns galore, and a surprising conclusion. I think most fans of Andy Weir will love this, and I recommend this highly to all readers, even those who may not consider sci-fi to be their reading genre. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.
Profile Image for Marialyce (absltmom, yaya).
1,904 reviews727 followers
May 9, 2021
Sadly, although I am truly a big fan of Andy Weir, I have to say this book was not a success for me. It seemed to be too much centered in the science/math vein and I found myself wondering how a Junior High School teacher could achieve the prestige of being chosen for this mission. His "aw shucks" attitude also seemed to be a tad out of character for a man entrusted to save the planet.

I am upset that this book was just not the right fit for me and I realize that there are many others who did and will enjoy this story. I only wish I could have been included in their numbers.

Thank you to Andy Weir, the Publisher, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this story

****I thought I should "add" that I am a former Jr High School Math teacher, so the fact that I didn't like the book made me laugh!"*****
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