Hey everyone and welcome back to another Mitchell’s Musings. It’s a feature where my husband gets to share his thoughts on the books he’s been reading lately.
This past week, we both read Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. The Ven diagram of books that we both enjoy is fairly small, but every once in a while we find books that combine my husband’s love of hard sci fi, with my adoration for compelling characters and an intrigueing plot.
We are thrilled to share our individual and collective thoughts about Project Hail Mary.
About the BookProject Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Published by Ballantine Books on May 4, 2021
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission--and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. And he's just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that's been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it's up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian--while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.
About the Author
Andy Weir built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California.
So obviously I liked this one. Y’all haven’t heard from me in who knows how long and it’s not like I didn’t read anything. I found Project Hail Mary to be one of those special kinds of books that only comes around once in a while. Is an emotional rollercoaster that has left me missing the protagonists and wondering how many years will need to go by before I can really enjoy a reread.
Finding yourself on a spaceship remembering nothing would be a trip…literally :-P. And that’s the exact situation Ryland Grace, an ex research biologist turned middle school science teacher, wakes up to. We are there right along with him as he remembers humanity’s plight and carries out a mission that is way bigger than anything he has ever dreamed of accomplishing.
If you ever sat in any part of a science class and found yourself more intrigued than bored this book is for you. As I read, I couldn’t always tell where real science ended and the scifi magic would begin, but perhaps that was the point. Intended or not, I was shouting eureka right along with all our heroes every step of the way. Weir takes complex scientific concepts and makes them easily digestible, fascinating, and it all contributes to the progression of the story. Very rarely do I make it through a book once the author starts sacrificing plot so they can hear themselves sound smart for a few thousand extra words.
I was hooked from beginning to end. Weir had the ability of continueing to surprise me. It’s a journey through space. We all know the story is going to be about all the stuff that goes wrong, but he had a way of pacing the mayhem so the moments of security didn’t turn into boredom nor did I get desensitized and miss out on a pit in my stomach with each fresh new hell the characters were called to endure/overcome. Honestly if there is one negative thing to be said it’s by the end I was so emotionally exhausted I’m still having a hard time getting invested in another book.
My favorite part of this book, though, is when I read it. Project Hail Mary is about how mankind comes together in the face of a global threat. After spending the last year living through a global pandemic, I NEEDED this story about the best in humanity. It’s easy to be cynical and see all the ways people are a bunch of savages that won’t endure inconvenience to save themselves, let alone anyone else. But a beautiful story like Project Hail Mary leaves me looking a little harder to see the best in people and all the ways we do come together. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I don’t want to add too much more to what my husband said above. This ultimately hopeful novel is probably my favorite of Weir’s. I enjoyed The Martian, but I LOVED Project Hail Mary. I especially loved the first half where Grace was trying to figure out who he was and how he ended up on a space ship hurling through space. I was on the edge of my seat with each new revelation.
Very rarely does a book make me stop whatever I’m doing and just listen to it, allowing myself to be immersed in the story, but Project Hail Mary did it for me. There were numerous times where my husband and I would sink into profound text message chains about some deeper aspects of the novel and I always love when a book can do that for us.
If you love Weir’s comedic tone, his accessible but complex scientific jargon, and a high tension plot, then you want to pick this one up! Overall, we both gave this one 5? and recommend it to anyone who loves the works of Blake Crouch and Sylvain Neuvel. I’m
What About You?
Do you enjoy hard sci fi novels? Have you read Project Hail Mary? Let us know in the comments!