Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir A Novel
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.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster in this “propulsive” (Entertainment Weekly) new science-based thriller from the bestselling author of The Martian.
“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
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.
Reviews of the customers about the Novel:
I don’t even remember pre-ordering this book. It just showed up in my Kindle app this morning. So I decided to read the first chapter before starting work. Four hours later, I can finally put the book down since I’m done.
“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.
- Mr. Doug:
This book is simply outstanding. There you go. A 5-word review…but I’m not wrong.
A spiritual sequel to The Martian that had me grinning throughout the entire book.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.
Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of Project Hail Mary for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.Project Hail Mary is The Martian turned up to 11. This is Weir’s best novel to date, and that is certainly saying something when the same author wrote one of the best science fiction novels (and debuts) of all time just under a decade ago.
Liked Mark Watney? You’ll love Ryland Grace.
So, I loved The Martian. I thought it was one of the most original, well-written stories I had ever read and felt it came out of nowhere (at least, up until the movie was announced). Artemis, to me, was sort of a letdown in ways, though I ended up enjoying it more via audio thanks to the wonderful Rosario Dawson. Two completely different novels, both with witty and sarcastic protagonists, and both taking place in, well, space.
Project Hail Mary is more The Martian in terms of the storyline: sole survivor/crew member who must use what is provided him to survive and return to Earth. But that is where the comparisons end.
Weir takes what we all loved in The Martian >Weir-ian one-liners and wisecracks in the face of impending death mixed with a massive overhaul of science that he beats you over the head senselessly with< and takes it up a notch (with a special little addition that I won’t spoil for you). Threads from the past and present culminating in a story for the ages with a race to save Earth and a protagonist you cannot help but get behind.
What I love most about Weir’s writing, aside from the humor, is the science. While a ton of it should fly over my head (nothing goes over my head… my reflexes are too fast), he explains it in such a way that it all makes sense and I now have a Ph.D. in all things space-related. I mean, science was one of my favorite subjects growing up, but I won’t say it was my best subject… because it wasn’t.
A previous reviewer said: ‘”The Martian” was a great story. “Artemis” was a great story. This one is better than either of those ‘. WRONG! This one is MUCH better than either of those! Instant classic.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.
I received the new book today to ration the pages so I didn’t binge it in one session. So I binged it in one session. Andy has a knack for totally engrossing hard science-based stories that make you keep on turning pages to find out how the protagonists get out of the last big mess he got them into. And Mr. Weir doesn’t disappoint! There’s at least one plot point that he admits is a stretch… but going through the story is educational as much as it is exciting. If I ever get called upon to heroically save the world from an invasive interstellar infection I’m sure I could deliver… Now I need the film to get made so I can enjoy the whole thing afresh.
- C. M. Tilley:
I’ve always thought that the best works of science fiction are those where the creator has put in the work to world-build their scenarios. Just like with fantasy, the realism (or apparent realism) of science fiction is what can make a truly great book. Andy Weir has definitely achieved that here, all the while maintaining a fast pace, cracking plot, and the main character that you’re really rooting for.Project Hail Mary succeeds everywhere the Martian did before it, with a slick-ly executed plot, great prose, genuinely good humor, 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 and 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 are 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!
- Tom Salmon:
An absolutely super read, just can’t put it down. Andy Weir’s writing is engaging, and a delight to read. Science Fiction like this is so much better (for me at least) than Science Fantasy. Andy’s trick is to make it believable and that’s the fun of it.
- Karen Campbell:
If you liked the Martian, you’ll love this. Ryland Grace wakes up on a spacecraft with no idea how or why he is there-or even who he is.
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 humor, 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?
- Mark Chisholm:
I think Andy Weir has written three full-length novels. The Martian, Artemis, and this one, Project Hail Mary.And… despite the breathless headlines, I personally don’t think this is his ‘Finest work.’ That one is reserved for “The Martian,’ which, is so good, such an incredible modern classic that I suspect Weir will never quite match it again.
However, this does come close, which means it’s better than nearly every other sci-fi book written. It’s clever, witty, joyful, and sad at the same time. For a book in a genre full to the brim with utter bilge – and yep, I’ve read quite a bit of it, Weir’s achievement deserves all the plaudits it can get.
And, putting aside the genre Weir writes in, he really is a superb author who has the chops to go with his imagination. I suspect no matter what Weir wrote about he would do a great and entertaining job.
The main character is very much in the vein of Weir’s previous characters. Generally warm, positive, and resourceful. It’s a refreshing change from many other books where you end up depressed and looking for a bottle to drown your sorrows. Instead at the end of this book, you feel slightly sad – but fundamentally uplifted at the goodness in people.
Anyway, in a nutshell, the Earth is heading for a bust because the Sun is losing power and a mission is put together to solve the mystery and problem. I won’t give much away as it would spoil the story but the premise is very clever and dares I say it a bit of a McGuffin which, you have to ignore for the sake of the story.
There are a couple more which you turn a blind eye to because the book is so good.
Overall, a book that’s almost as good as the Martian and far better than Artemis which, I thought was a bit of a box ticker.
- Nilufer Ozmekik:
Happy book birthday to the most anticipated sci-fi novel of the year!🥳I can proudly honestly excitedly announce a GRANDIOSE WINNER now!
I know my overcooked brain cells don’t have enough capacity to absorb every complicated, detailed, elaborated scientific fact and fantastic world-building which amazed me at least a thousand times but I fell so hard what I could understand which is enough for me to enjoy this book!
It truly hugged my inner weirdness and nerdy proportionally!
Since the Martian, I was expecting something equally blistering, earth-shattering, marvelous from this author! After the disappointing feelings I got from Artemis, I am truly satisfied with my space journey, intriguing mystery, and another one man against the universe to save lives theme!
Ryland Grace wakes up from miles away from his home, lying down on a soft bed, surrounded by cameras watching his every move, wearing a breathing mask tight on his face, naked, connected to more tubes he may count! And this is not the only weird thing about his situation: he is accompanied by two corpses and as a computer keeps asking what is two plus two.
Did I also mention he didn’t remember anything about himself including his name! And as we discover more about him by catching glimpses from his past, we realize this man is only hoping to save the universe and he’s the sole survivor of a desperate deep space mission ( you may call it a suicide mission) Through the scattered quick flashbacks, we gather more information how he was assigned for this project!
I don’t want to spill more about details I always do: the surprise elements and unexpected twists are important to enjoy this journey!
Even though this looks like a long journey, narrated by one man who barely gathers his memories and rediscovers his identity ( so ironic, right, a world’s future depends on a man who tries to redefine who he’s and how he finds his real mission to exist), this book is truly a precious, addictive gem! It is smart, complex, entertaining but in the meantime thrilling, claustrophobic: the dark parts equally balanced the witty, enjoyable parts.
And let me tell you something, I loved to spend my time in Ryland’s mind. He was such a great narrator who has a dark and witty sense of humor. You easily engage with him and deeply feel his dilemmas, struggles!
Overall: maybe it’s too early to declare but I feel like this will be my best sci-fi reading of this year!
I’m so thankful to Mimi Chan and the fantastic Goodreads team to share this remarkable, one of the best reads of the year with me!
I highly recommend this extra smart, compelling, entertaining, well-crafted novel! I’m planning to reread it in near future! In some parts, I found it more enjoyable than Martian!
I loved the Martian, loved Artemis but Project Hail Mary was everything!The book starts out with some cray and you don’t want to put it down because you want to know what the hell is going on!!
The story goes back and forth from the present to the past and how it all came to be.
My favorite part was when Rocky came onto the scene. I love him so much and if you read the book and don’t love him, there is something wrong with you.
The book has plenty of science, humor, edge of your seat moments, friendship, the fight for survival, and some wonderful bittersweet crying moments. All of that could just be me. Kudos Mr. Weir for adding another favorite book to my list!
PS. Rocky was everything!! Just had to reiterate my love for him and OMG, that ending!! It was so good 😫
It’s alarming to wake up from a coma in completely unfamiliar surroundings, tethered to a bed by tubes and electrodes, with a computer voice quizzing you and robotic arms controlling your movements. It’s even more disturbing when you realize that you have no recollection of your name or your past life and that there are two long-dead bodies in the room with you.But gradually, through a series of flashback memories, Ryland Grace remembers that Earth is facing an extinction event: a Russian scientist discovered that a strange line has developed between the sun and Venus, and it’s causing the sun to lose energy at a rate that’s high enough to cause a worldwide ice age in the next few decades. Grace, a disgraced molecular biologist who abandoned academia to teach middle school science, was one of the scientists investigating the unique microorganisms, christened Astrophage, causing the sun’s disastrous decline in energy.
Now his explorations of his current surroundings lead him to the realization that he’s in a spaceship headed to the Tau Ceti star system, on a one-way trip in search of a way to save the Earth, and the other two members of his crew didn’t survive the medically-induced comas during the long voyage of the Hail Mary. But a major surprise awaits Grace at his destination: humanity isn’t the only race looking to the Tau Ceti system for a possible answer to the problem of Astrophage.
Andy Weir’s latest science fiction adventure, Project Hail Mary, marks a welcome return to form for fans of The Martian, after his lackluster second novel, Artemis. There’s the same hyper-focus on fine details of technology and science, one of Weir’s hallmarks, along with a series of critical events that our intrepid main character needs to overcome through a combination of scientific knowledge and inventiveness. Ryland Grace, who narrates the novel, also bears a distinct resemblance to Mark Watney: he’s an enthusiastically geeky and inventive scientist with an engaging voice and sense of humor, faced with a life-and-death situation.
“How did you do it? What killed it?”
“I penetrated the outer membrane with a nanosyringe.”
“You poked it with a stick?”
“No!” I said. “Well. Yes. But it was a scientific poke with a very scientific stick.”
But the stakes are higher here, the adventure more far-reaching, and there’s a subtle complexity to Grace’s character that is fully revealed toward the end, along with a (related) twist in the narrative that is logical but still managed to surprise me. Weir displays some subtleties in his writing in Project Hail Mary that goes beyond his previous works of fiction. Weir also handles the dual timeline in this novel well, with the flashbacks flowing naturally as a result of Grace’s slowly-dispersing amnesia. These memories gradually fill in the background and reveal the full scope of the Astrophage problem and the reasons and hopes for Grace’s current mission, while the current timeline follows his adventures and mishaps once he reaches the ship’s destination … and beyond.
Much of Project Hail Mary is about Grace’s unanticipated friendship with another character who is tremendously pleasing in both his sheer alienness and his open-heartedness toward Ryland. While my practical mind debated the wisdom of Grace and the alien oversharing information about the location of their homeworlds (I was deeply influenced by Murray Leinster’s classic novelette “First Contact” at an impressionable age), their developing trust and friendship are undeniably heartwarming.
Great books and movies are often marked by their attention to themes of love and redemption, and Project Hail Mary has both in spades. (I’m still trying to decide whether the title and the main character’s name are a deliberate call-out by Weir to “Hail Mary, full of Grace.” I’m inclined to think it is.) In any case, these compelling themes, plus a suspenseful, page-turning adventure and the inspiring scientific creativity of the characters (assuming you’re a reader who enjoys Weir’s attention to technical details in his plots), make Project Hail Mary a sure-fire hit for fans of The Martian … and may very well win him new fans.
Initial post: Just when I’d given up, my NetGalley request for this book got approved! This time Andy Weir came much closer to the magic that was The Martian. 🙂
Both literally and figuratively, Project Hail Mary is — out of this world It’s even out of the solar system!Some people read a book more quickly the more they enjoy it. I’m the opposite. If I read a book slowly, it almost always means I love it.
I want to savor every word, miss not one detail. I often re-read paragraphs or pages just to ensure I caught everything.
On average, I read three books a week. Project Hail Mary took me a week and a half to read. That’s right. Just this one book, 496 pages. A week and a half. That, my friends, is some special kind of book love. My time is valuable. If I devote ten days to a book, it means I’m happy in that relationship and want to stay there.
Unfortunately, good books always come to an end, but when a book is exceptional, it will remain with us for life. That is how Andy Weir’s The Martian is for me, and that is how his new book Project Hail Mary now is as well.
If you’ve read The Martian (and if you haven’t, you should), you know that Mr. Weir can take what would first appear to be a mundane story and turn it into an incredible book. I mean, The Martian…. we’ve got some dude stuck on Mars, all by himself, for the duration of the book. How can that possibly be exciting? If you read the book, you know the answer. if you haven’t, well, you need to go buy it right now.
But this review is about his new book Project Hail Mary and I gotta tell you — it’s even better! I was ambivalent, thinking it would be hard to live up to it. But it did and it does and… WOW!
My mind is blown!
Imagine waking up in a strange pod, attached to life support tubes connected to your body and you have no clue why you are there or even who you are. There are robotic arms to care for you — and the only other humans are dead.
This is how Project Hail Mary begins. Ryland Grace is a science school teacher who finds himself alone aboard a spaceship in an entirely different solar system. Obviously, with the rest of the crew dead, something went horribly wrong.
As Grace regains his memory, we learn what happened to bring him to this point. His memories are interwoven with his time in space, as he strives to carry out the mission he was sent to do.
I do not want to give away any more details than that. You need to discover them for yourself!
There is science galore in this book which thrilled me as much as the story itself. At the same time, it is not dense and even those who dislike science will find much to love. Mr. Weir writes with the same dry wit as in The Martian, inducing laughter throughout.
It is at times tense and others funny. It is at all times interesting and exciting. You do NOT want to miss Project Hail Mary.
Andy Weir’s latest smart sci-fi thriller, set in space, illustrates his trademark charm, humor, and wit despite humanity on Earth facing extinction as an unknown organism, Astrophage, is discovered to be stealing energy from the sun en masse, thereby threatening life on earth in the not too distant future. In a story-heavy on science and technology, which might not appeal to some readers, but which I found interesting, Dr. Ryland Grace is a scientist who gravitated towards high school teaching after becoming a pariah in the scientific community with his ‘wild’ theory that you don’t need water for life to exist. Grace awakens from an induced coma on the spaceship Hail Mary unable to recall who he is or where he is. However, there are two corpses on board, he is the sole survivor if only he could remember what he meant to be doing.In a narrative that shifts from the past to the present, Grace’s memory comes back slowly, how he came to be at the heart of global efforts to come together to address the catastrophe in the form of the Petrova task force under the global leadership of its director, Eva Stratt, a driven woman who sweeps aside any obstacles and people who stand in her path with unnerving ease, paying no heed to laws, patents, ethics or morality, accessing the brightest minds, technology and any resource needed in her fight to save the Earth as we know it and its people. We learn of the challenges that arise, and when it becomes clear that there may be possible answers and hope on Tau Ceti, the only place where Astrophage is being destroyed, this leads to the development of the Hail Mary project and the recruitment of the best 3 person crew of astronauts and scientists to go to Tau Ceti, a crew willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.
Grace’s life brightens up considerably when he encounters the wonderfully quirky and charming Rocky, the two of them develop a beautifully cooperative, poignant, and emotionally close relationship despite all their initial communication issues, but can the two of them save their respective worlds? This is a wonderfully engaging read that kept my interest throughout, and whilst I liked Grace, for me, the real star of the show was the unforgettable Rocky. I was completely invested in the challenges and threats Grace and Rocky face, there are twists and turns galore, and a surprising conclusion. I think most fans of Andy Weir will love this, and I recommend this highly to all readers, even those who may not consider sci-fi to be their reading genre. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.
“Project Hail Mary” is an incredible unputdownable science fiction novel. But it’s far from what most might expect from a space opera. This is a science geek’s version of astronaut life. It breaks all the rules of what makes a science fiction novel a great read and offers us scientific theory after scientific theory as Grace tries to solve one mystery after another. You never stop cheering Grace on as he figures out one answer after another only to be befuddled by reality. McGyver would be quite proud.It’s also a completely different twist on First Contact, one that channels a few Close Encounters with regard to communication. This is probably not how you ever pictured the first contact or how you imagined an alien species would be. Indeed, so unlike human life so as to hardly be able to exist alongside each other except …. apparently space aliens get sarcasm!!
Climate change may be the new mantra, but Weir takes it to a new level as a planetary level extinction event is at hand. The stakes could not be higher.
From the opening scene where a befuddled astronaut awakens without knowing who he is, where he is, or what he’s doing there, this novel is filled with discovery after discovery. But what makes it so incredible is that it’s fascinating without Deathstars and fighter pilots and princesses.