Project Hail Mary is probably the best science fiction book I’ve read.

Er, what?

Yes. I got it from the library before Christmas and didn’t get around to it in time for the Goodreads Space Opera group book of the month. I kept renewing it, and putting it off. Too many others to read… and then I got started…

Project Hail Mary

by Andy Weir

A lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster in this incredible new science-based thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Martian.

  • A lone astronaut.
  • An impossible mission.
  • An ally he never imagined.

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 imagine it, 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. (goodreads)

My Review

A man wakes up with no idea who he is, or what he is, or where… It’s a journey of discovery like no other book I’ve read – mainly because I am as intrigued as the protagonist. A space mystery. Suspense, even. And what is going on?

The story of Project Hail Mary unravels in space and on Earth, with action in the spacecraft as Grace works out what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s rediscovering bits of his memory that explain why he should do what it appears he should be doing. The plotting is superb, the writing engrossing, the detail stupendous. But there is a light touch on the tiller, so that I never feel overwhelmed with the immensity of the science exposee, or bored with the minutiae of daily life and death… I am always interested in what’s going to happen next, I am forced to put the book down to sleep, but the sleep breaks are perfectly timed with the plot.

The breadth of science in this book is stupendous. Cross all those disciplinary barriers and throw them away. You’re going to need your atomic physics, genetics, biochemistry, engineering, general relativity, orbital space science, cosmology, even a bit of ocean and climate science. And you’re going to need to be a first class experimental technican. I don’t know much about half those things, but I feel I know a little bit more now, and how they really do have an interdependence that make it so impossible for one person to solve this problem all alone in his spaceship.


Unless, of course, there is another person sent to solve the problem for his own world, also locked all alone in his spaceship.

Oh, how I ache to have the imagination to have evolved an alien like Rocky. The language, the semantics, the imagery, the engineering….

Books like this make me feel inadequate as an author. But I feel so good there are authors out there who write like this. And I’m going to have to buy my own copy to reread.

It really deserved to be Goodreads Book of the Year 2021.


Book Review | Project Hail Mary; 'probably the best science fiction novel I've read' #spaceopera #sciencefiction #interdisciplinary Share on X

Book Review | Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

3 thoughts on “Book Review | Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

  • 30 April, 2022 at 10:18 am

    I am very intrigued about this book now because of your review 🙂

  • 30 April, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    I am adding it to my TBR. Off to the library to see if it’s there (virtually-speaking, of course).

  • 30 April, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    This is an excellent novel, I just ripped right through it. It’s now nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel. I’m trying to read the other five nominated novels before Hugo voting closes, hard to see how anything will top it. It will also make an excellent movie, although probably not with Matt Damon playing the part of Ryland Grace.

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