Ryland Grace wakes up in a spaceship light-years from Earth, and he is the last hope for survival.
Andy Weir’s latest science fiction adventure, Project Hail Mary, marks a welcome return to form for fans of The Martian, after his lackluster second novel, Artemis. There’s the same hyper-focus on fine details of technology and science, one of Weir’s hallmarks, along with a series of critical events that our intrepid main character needs to overcome through a combination of scientific knowledge and inventiveness. Ryland Grace, who narrates the novel, also bears a distinct resemblance to Mark Watney: he’s an enthusiastically geeky and inventive scientist with an engaging voice and sense of humor, faced with a life-and-death situation.
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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. We find out what is happening at the same time that Grace does which is interesting. Turns out these three were the earth’s “Hail Mary” team, sent into space to try to stop an alien life form that is taking away our sun’s energy.
“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.”The Book Guide® Editor
Grace is on a mission to save Earth from the fact that its 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.
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.
Project Hail Mary (2021) By: Andy WeirDune (2007) By: Glennon Doyle
by The Book Guide® Editors4.9/5 Excellent