Cover for Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

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?

I’m a huge fan of the science fiction genre, but I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t without its flaws. I’ve been known to say that a lot of authors in the genre get a little too caught up in their big ideas and forget that characters, you know, matter! The result is there are no shortage of sci-fi books in my DNF graveyard; books with shallow, unchanging characters who exist to just move the plot along.

I’ve not read a lot of books by Andy Weir–The Martian is the only other novel of his that I’ve tackled–but somehow Mr. Weir somehow manages to consistently escape this trap. While, in “Project Hail Mary”, science and the scientific method absolutely sit front-and-center, ultimately it’s the characters that truly shine through in this book. The result is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat story that has us cheering, hoping, and despairing as we’re shown what it truly means to be a hero.

As an aside, I want to note that the main reason this review exists is because my wife went and publicly called me out in her review of the book! Though now I feel like I’m encouraging her to publicly shame me, given it clearly produced results…

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