Have You Read “Project Hail Mary?” (My Thoughts)

My latest reading obsession is by Andy Weir, author of The Martian. It’s called Project Hail Mary, and it’s about a man who wakes up alone far from Earth with only a head full of science at his disposal as he attempts to survive.

Wait, you might ask. Am I describing The Martian or Project Hail Mary? The answer is yes.

At first when I learned about the structural similarities, I was hesitant to jump into my preordered novel. But the reviews were good–really good–so I thought I’d try it anyway. Plus, why not lean into what he’s good at? Weir’s follow up to The Martian, Artemis, suffered from the same problems as Mary Robinette Kowal’s third book (The Relentless Moon): They both added a villain, which is completely unnecessary and often boring in these types of books. The best antagonist in near-future science fiction, in my opinion, is science itself.

Weir takes it up a level in Project Hail Mary, as not only is there an individual survival problem to solve, but also a worldwide survival problem. And even better, the thing causing the problem also results in a solution to other problems.

One of the things I loved about The Martian is that it never felt like science fiction. In fact, while I was watching it I had to check myself: “Wait, we haven’t been to Mars yet, right? Just the moon.” It feels so real.

Project Hail Mary departs from reality a bit more, but it still feels quite real. Anyone looking for scientific inconsistencies would have to be quite cynical and nitpicky. There’s so much enjoyment to be found in the story and Weir unfolds throughout the book via the present and the past (told through flashbacks that are actually just as entertaining as the current plot–a rarity in novels).

I loved the book, and I’d highly recommend it. If there are any other books of this ilk–science-driven science fiction with science itself as the lone antagonist–please let me know in the comments below. And if you’ve read Project Hail Mary, what did you think?

11 thoughts on “Have You Read “Project Hail Mary?” (My Thoughts)”

  1. Me and my wife LOVED “Project Hail Mary”!
    We liked the author so much that are currently listening to “The Martian” audiobook (despite already knowing the story from the movie), and will listen to Artemis next.
    Andy Weir has a great way to describe the events at a good pace, and making things feel “grounded” so that when something epic happens it feels truly impactful.
    Despite really liking The Martian, I think Project Hail Mary is a better story and a better book, and would love to see someone try a movie adaptation :).

    Jamey, what is your favorite book, question?

    • I’ve heard there’s a movie in the works with Ryan Gosling as the star!

      Favorite book…I mean, I love a lot of books. The Red Rising and Mistborn series are definitely up there. 🙂

  2. I loved it so much that now Richard and I are listening to it on audiobook together. Every time we take Carly for a walk we each take one ear bud and we listen to a few minutes of the book together. It’s fun to see him laugh out loud or make a shocked face as he hears different things happen. 🙂 Has been a fun activity to listen together.

  3. I just finished this book a couple days ago, and I agree, it was absolutely fantastic. I loved the Martian (both book and film) and I enjoyed this one even more! I have been enthusiastically recommending it to anyone who will listen.

    PS My Model 3 Long Range arrived last weekend, and it’s such an exceptional car. I used your referral code, so enjoy the Supercharging! Thanks for writing a few blog posts about your Tesla experience, a review from a “real person” helped push me over the edge.

  4. If you haven’t read the Bobiverse books by Dennis E Taylor, I think you might like those. They are semi-realistic science (with some extrapolation). Basically, what would happen if you uploaded one man’s consciousness into a supercomputer, and then gave him a bunch of crises that need to be solved, and mysteries to explore. It’s similar to Project Hail Mary and The Martian in that most of the challenges are related to overcoming problems. There are a few cases of enemies, but they are more abstracted enemies.

    • I have indeed read the Bobiverse–it’s excellent! I think I heard a fifth book is coming out in that series.

  5. I love Andy Weir’s stories, I’ve been a fan of his when he was posting the Martian on his blog chapter by chapter. There are a few other very good short stories on his blog, the best one is the Egg! You should definitely check that out. And here’s a recommendation for a sciency science fiction book: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke. Have you read that?

    • Thanks Timea! I’ll check out that short story. It’s been a long time since I read Rama (I must have been 10 years old or so), but I remember really enjoying it.


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