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Project Hail Mary: A Novel Hardcover – May 4, 2021
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ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST BOOKS: Bill Gates, GatesNotes • New York Public Library • Kirkus Reviews • “An epic story of redemption, discovery and cool speculative sci-fi.”—USA Today
“If you loved The Martian, you’ll go crazy for Weir’s latest.”—The Washington Post
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?
An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could deliver, 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.
"Brave Girl, Quiet Girl: A Novel" by Catherine Ryan Hyde
From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a gripping and emotional novel about friendship, motherhood, and the journey toward finding a place to call home. | Learn more
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“Weir spins a space yarn in a way only he can. Fans of his earlier works won’t be disappointed.”—Newsweek
“Andy Weir proves once again that he is a singular talent. Project Hail Mary is so fascinating and propulsive that it’s downright addictive. From the first page as Ryland wakes up not knowing who or where he is, I was hooked.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six
“Reading Project Hail Mary is like going on a field trip to outer space with the best science teacher you’ve ever had—and your class assignment is to save the world. This is one of the most original, compelling, and fun voyages I’ve ever taken.”—Ernest Cline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Ready Player One
“Two worlds in peril, a competent (but flawed and human) man, a competent alien, unending scientific puzzles to unravel, with humanity itself at risk, this one has everything fans of old school SF (like me) love. If you like a lot of science in your science fiction, Andy Weir is the writer for you.”—George R. R. Martin, New York Times bestselling author of A Game of Thrones
“I loved The Martian, but I actually find Project Hail Mary to be Mr. Weir’s finest work to date. It’s somehow both exciting, yet also personal. I’m constantly amazed by how well Mr. Weir continues to write wonderfully accessible science fiction without compromising either the science or the fiction.”—Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author of the Stormlight Archive series
“Brilliantly funny and enjoyable . . . one of the most plausible science fiction books I’ve ever read.”—Tim Peake, ESA astronaut and internationally bestselling author of Limitless
“Thrilling doesn’t even begin to describe Project Hail Mary, which is undisputedly the best book I’ve read in a very, very long time . . . I cheered, I laughed (a lot), I cried, and when the twist arrived and the book revealed its true target, my jaw hit the floor. Mark my words: Project Hail Mary is destined to become a classic.”—Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of
Recursion and Dark Matter
“A joy to read . . . with Project Hail Mary, Weir is leaning hard into all that made The Martian kick.”—Locus
“Readers may find themselves consuming this emotionally intense and thematically profound novel in one stay-up-all-night-until-your-eyes-bleed sitting. An unforgettable story of survival and the power of friendship—nothing short of a science fiction masterwork.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; 1st edition (May 4, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 496 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0593135202
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593135204
- Item Weight : 1.64 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.54 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #87 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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"The Martian" was a great story. "Artemis" was a great story. This one is better than either of those. If you like science fiction with actual science, this is for you. If you like stories with interesting, well developed characters, this also has that. If you want excitement and a thrilling plot, here you go. If you want romance and sex, well, there you're completely out of luck. But if that was the kind of book you wanted I doubt you'd be reading this review anyway. Speaking of, why *are* you still reading this review? Go read the book!! It's way better than this.
To be frank, I believe in climate change. I believe the climate changes every three months (roughly); they're called seasons. What I don't believe in is soft science and doomsday predictions based on data that's easily manipulated by activists to say anything they want.
The second problem I have with the book so far is that it reads too much like the The Martian, but without the emotion. There's no reason to like or dislike the characters beyond the superficial aspects of their personalities. Everyone is two-dimensional. The main protagonist spends his days dodging his emotions, and every supporting character on Earth is a stereotype--without enough personality for me to care about any of them.
Maybe things will get better as I continue to read, but only if the author puts away his soapbox and get's back to story-telling.
1. The characters are individualized and (mostly) likeable. It’s really nice to have a male protagonist in a sci fi book who’s compassionate, caring, and human.
2. Plot twists and turns kept me reading in spite of some long tedious sections.
3. Alien life forms are creatively and imaginatively rendered.
4. A bit of humor here and there helped enliven the story.
1. The author is mainly concerned with engineering solutions to survival problems–one after the other after the other. Some of these are exciting, but there were just too many.
2. The plot drags on and on as one technical problem after another takes center stage. If you’ve been dealing with computer, electrical or mechanical problems in your own life, you might find the endless series of equipment disasters a bit frustrating to read about.
Made my inner nerd squeal with delight on many occasions.
Has everything I ever wanted in a sci-fi book, just didn't realize it until now.
Read it. That is all.
If you mixed Asimov's "The Gods Themselves" and Heinlein's "Citizen Of The Galaxy" and added in a few gallons of Clarke and Niven it would be like this. I'd write more, but I'm off to re-read the novel.
We have this interstellar infection that eats the energy of the sun and causes it to get dimmer. We have to save the world from an imminent ice age so we scoop up some of this amazing stuff and figure out that it absorbs, and can be made to emit, incredible amounts of energy. Hey, I have an idea! Let’s use it to power a star ship to near light speed! We’ll build the ship by utilizing universal love, cooperation and sheer human ingenuity and send some suicidal humans to Tau Ceti to figure why that star isn’t getting sick, although also infected. (Well, one of them isn't suicidal but we bully him into going anyway.)
Wait!! We have a source of amazing amounts of energy and we use it to send our two-and-a-half heroes off to save the world? What about using all that incredible love, cooperation, ingenuity and boundless energy to keep the earth warm while we figure out how to kill the bug? Well, that won't fit our little trolley-car moral dilemma plot, will it? Can't use that.
Top reviews from other countries
He has to work out why he’s there, and what he has to do, from scratch. And then work miracles. Or in the words of Mark Witney in the Martian, ‘science the s*** out of it’.
Written in a similar style to the Martian, with sections alternating between Ryland-on-Earth and Ryland -in-Space, it’s hard not to picture Matt Damon as Ryland, but though they share the same love of science trivia, and self-deprecating humour, they are very different.
There’s loads of geeky science as he McGyvers his way from one situation to another. Maybe a little too much if you’re not a science nerd or sci-fi fanatic but I loved it.
I loved the quirky characters of all the ‘supporting actors’ (This is so definitely going to be a film!), especially Rocky. Oh, Rocky! Just... read it, ok?
The Martian was amazing. Artemis was awful, really, really, awful. This is somewhere in-between. It's trying really hard to be as good as The Martian but also feels like it's trying really hard to be something the author is unable to achieve on his own. It's clunky, cliché and just a little too much like it was written to get another movie deal.
Project Hail Mary succeeds everywhere the Martian did before it, with a slick-ly executed plot, great prose, genuinely good humour and of course a tremendous amount of science. As a microbiologist, I perhaps enjoyed Project Hail Mary even more, and (avoiding spoilers) absolutely loved the attention to detail in the main conceit of the story, as well as the internal logic and experimental approaches used by the main character. So refreshing to see research written in this way, and so well!
The story itself is gripping from beginning to end, and reminded me a lot of Dennis. E. Taylor's 'Bobiverse' mixed with a bit of 'Arrival' for good measure. The narrative flips between the present day on the Hail Mary, and the events that lead up to Ryland Grace waking up alone and with no memory at the beginning of the book. I can honestly say the plot surprised me so many times, and I loved the way Grace develops as a character by the end of the novel. The central friendship between two characters in the story was a joy to read, and had me tearing up by the end! I spent the last third of the book on tenterhooks as the stakes continue to escalate, and really struggled not to read the whole thing in one go.
If you enjoy hard sci-fi or liked the Martian, you will definitely love this book. Even if you think you're not interested in a science-heavy story, I think the pacing and the optimism of the writing is more than enough to make this book a wonderful, exciting read. I will certainly be reading again soon - the biggest struggle now will be waiting to see what Andy Weir writes next!
However, this book does focus a lot more on the science which for me was just perfect. The cellular biology and the flight physics were just wonderful. The description of the Astrophage and the other alien life forms was very well worked out. Detailing the alien environment and then mapping on the biology needed to exist in that environment was a master stroke.
The central action sequence needs special mention for the quality of the writing and the way in which I became totally invested in the survival of the central characters. Wonderful just wonderful. Spinning, burning, thrashing about in space is difficult to write and Weir's narrative was so well written.
Finally I would like to mention the character of Stratt! Her character had me laughing with glee every time she appeared. A wonderful creation, and her interaction with any other character in the book was just priceless. I really hope nobody ever sees her as a role model. That would be bad, very bad!
This book and 'The Martin' feel like they are the descendants of books like 'A Fall of Moondust' by Arthur C. Clarke. Where a series of complex problems arise and the characters in the book, have to use science to solve the problems. They are the Sci-Fi equivalent of classic detective novels where the readers follows the sleuth as they unravel the mystery.
Very enjoyable read.