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Project Hail Mary: A Good Yet Very Dry Adventure to Save the World

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Andy Weir is one of those scifi authors people seem to love. He’s the next Michael Crichton or Phillip K Dick, according to some. And I kind of get it to some extent. I read The Martian. It was a well put together book, but at the same time he had this dryness that made it hard to connect with, like I do with author scifi authors. But I felt it wasn’t bad and was willing to give this author another try. So I gave Project Hail Mary a try, and here is my review.

So what is it about? It follows a man who wakes up with no memory strapped to a table being fed by a robot. He manages to break away to learn he is alone on a tiny spaceship and slowly he begins to regain his memory. From there on out, the book follows two a story lines. The first takes place in present day as he realizes he’s on a suicide mission to save Earth from a sun eating bacteria. He is to research a sun in another galaxy and communicate back to Earth what is protecting this alien sun, so Earth can save their own. The second storytelling is told in flashbacks. It takes place on Earth, leading up to how this man went from a simple middle school teacher to the only one who can save the Earth. And there are many twists and turns along the way, including help from an unexpected alien ally who is trying to save his planet as well.

The good? I really like fiction that actually uses science. It makes everything seem so real and grounded, and I love seeing that. Also, the lead who finally remembers his name to be Ryland Grace befriends an alien and they have a genuine friendship. It’s strange, but it’s so great. Their chemistry is perfect. And I feel these two working together and learning from another was the heart of this story. Also, the alien’s design, I found very interesting and unique. He actually did seem to be very alien when compared to other works of scifi. Also, I did love the mystery of how Grace got on this mission. It was so intriguing as it all unfolded.

The bad? This book for me had similar issues that the Martian did. It had this very dry, non engaging writing style. And I felt it might be so, because it was too scientific. I know. I said I love science in my science fiction, but there were long stretches of the book where Ryland is doing particle experiments concerning light or looking at slides. And I get it. Trial and error to save the world is full of frustration and let downs until something finally goes right. This is the game of science. I worked in a lab before. But reading about lab work is quite different from doing. Reading about someone doing it in this fashion is so much more boring than explaining how things work. And I felt much of this could have been shortened. Yes. It may have shortened the book dramatically, but it really would create a better paced more exciting book. I just found myself so bored by these scenes, I started speed reading through them because it was such a slog otherwise. Also, I didn’t like the ending. It can be interpreted a few different ways, and I personally found it a bit depressing.

Overall, this is not a bad book, but it was a slog. For me, it was very hard to finish at parts. With a huge chunk of the book comprising lab work, it had this inherit dryness that can keep some readers at arm’s length when they rather be more engaged in the core story. But despite its flaws, I don’t think it’s bad. But it’s not a must read either. It’s very average.

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Overall Rating: A Good Yet Very Dry Adventure to Save the World

3 smoothies out of Five


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