I waited, rather impatiently, for a LONG time before my hold on this book became available and well, at least I can say those painful 2.5 months weren’t for nothing!
Here goes my long-awaited book review for Project Hail Mary!
About the Book
Title: Project Hail Mary
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: sci-fi, thriller
Rating: 5/5 stars
“I spend a lot of time un-suiciding this suicide mission.“
When Ryland Grace wakes up alone in a strange hospital room next to two dead people and with no memory of his name, his life, why he’s here or anything about his identity, he is understandably concerned. The situation only escalates once he realizes he isn’t a hospital at all. He isn’t even in the right solar system.
That’s right: he’s the only remaining crew mate of a last-chance interstellar mission to save humanity, and he won’t be able to do it alone– but sometimes help comes from the most unexpected places.
Sure, this is not the most *realistic* book in the world, the ending was just a *tad* on the cheesy side but it doesn’t take itself too seriously and it was just plain awesome.
First off: I have always thought that the Goldilocks Zone doesn’t make sense because how can we just assume that aliens would necessarily always evolve in Earth-like conditions? For all we know, they might need a completely different environment, and this book validated me! I’m not a scientist. But I am now validated.
Many people have complained about Grace and Watney being too similar. Yes, they definitely have the same type of humor:
“I decide on a more tactile approach: I’m gonna start pushing buttons! Hopefully there’s no ‘Blow Up the Ship’ button.“
and a similar personality in general, but they are differentiable. Grace is definitely more pessimistic, for example, and while I appreciated the similarities between the two characters I also liked that Weir made them just slightly different.
“At least being stupid isn’t permanent. I’ll press on. I know I shouldn’t, but I’m too stupid to take that into consideration.“
My favorite part of the book, though, was the scientific accuracy.
The reason I love Andy Weir’s books is because he takes such pains to make everything accurate. (Or, accurate enough that I, a mere plebeian, don’t notice anything wrong with the explanations) I hate reading a sci-fi book where nothing is explained and it’s basically just fantasy with some space ships and aliens. This book manages to come up with a plausible explanation for everything, aliens included, and it manages to be mostly realistic.
The explanation and development of the Petrova Problem was very thorough, and while immersed in the book I found myself half-believing it actually happened. It really does seem like something that could happen. The plot started veering off into less plausible territory later on in the book, but it was possible to suspend my disbelief.
Weir takes extra care to explain the ins and outs of everything instead of simply glossing over difficult areas with the vague “futuristic technology” spiel. The mechanism for interstellar travel is semi-realistic, he accounts for relativity, he explains so much about gravity on the ship and how it was engineered, everything about the situation at the end which I cannot spoil makes sense and the solution is conceivable.
It’s just such a great degree of realism. The first few chapters nearly gave me flashbacks to physics AP exam cramming marathons (“assume air resistance is negligible….”)
And a there’s a thoughtfully realistic, if not a little idealistic, depiction of how humanity might communicate with intelligent aliens (a scenario I have contemplated a few too many times). I’m always skeptical when the aliens in sci-fi books miraculously have the faculties to speak English and are essentially just weird-looking humans. This book does not fall into this trap; it ACTUALLY makes sense.
And sure, the main theme of the book is about courage and humanity working together to save us from extinction and all that but the main takeaway I got from this book is… please, can this happen in real life? I don’t care if the sun burns out– we’re talking about interstellar travel!
Overall, I really enjoyed Project Hail Mary. It was intriguing, exciting, full of good plot twists and turns, and had my exact sense of humor. I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to read a fun, not-too-serious sci-fi book!
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Classical music piece of the day: Joep Beving- Ala
I love this song– I can’t really describe the emotion it inspires in me but it’s so… wistful? Sad? Bittersweetly happy? Listen to it and let me know in the comments.