Books, How's This Book?, Review

Project Hail Mary: A Science Nerd’s Wet Dream

*Warning! Spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk!*

Andy Weir proved his sci-fi writing chops with The Martian (at least he did for me; I still need to dive into the rest of his catalogue). Can he continue to do so with his latest project?

Oh, fuck yeah he can!

A simple but gorgeous cover!

Project Hail Mary stars Ryland Grace, a junior high school science teacher sent on a mission to save humanity. But he wakes up with amnesia, unable to remember who he is, where he is, or what he’s doing! As he slowly pieces his memories back together, he works to overcome the seemingly impossible threat to the earth. Luckily, he has an unexpected ally to help him out!

And by ‘unexpected ally’, I mean a fucking alien!

A good chunk of this story is spent exploring Grace building communications with an alien species. We don’t just get to see first contact between humanity and aliens! We get to see them actually learning to talk to each other! First by sending cryptic riddles using models and other such things from their ship to breaking down each other’s unique languages! They don’t just stick some magic translation device onto the main character’s chest and immediately start speaking in English! They actually need to figure it out and it is incredibly compelling!

This book is filled to the brim with realistic science applied in fictional ways. The ‘thrills’ of this book are provided by characters doing math, experiments, and other such nerd things. On one hand, it’s a joy for math and science nerds! On the other, it can be pretty easy to check out and start skimming when it goes on and on and on for paragraphs on end.

I’m not particularly fond of the whole amnesia plot. It’s gone so quickly that it basically amounted to nothing. By the time you reach chapter ten, Grace remembers everything that he needs to in order for the plot to happen. All it really does is provide excuses for flashbacks to happen.

Which leads nicely into another thing I really loved: perspective. Present-day events on the Hail Mary itself are told in present-tense, which is something not a lot of stories do these days. Meanwhile, the flashbacks are all told in past-tense, marking an easy distinction between them. Every now and then, the two blur; there are a few stray lines in the past scenes that are written in present tense and vice versa. But it’s a rare mistake that’s easy to forgive.

Project Hail Mary is an incredibly strong work of science-fiction. It’s a book that any science or math nerd should read. However, if neither one of those sounds interesting to you, it may not be the book for you.

Did I mention you get to see a scientist work with an alien to translate each other’s languages? I cannot get over how cool that is!

1 thought on “Project Hail Mary: A Science Nerd’s Wet Dream”

  1. I’ve always meant to read the Martian, but I’ve never gotten to it, because of the overwhelming amount of books, sports, and shows I’m constantly distracted by 😅

    Like

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