Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

The aforementioned book was a delight to read. It focuses on an astronaut who wakes up devoid of memory on a spaceship with only two dead and desiccated crew mates for company.

This being an Andy Weir book, the protagonist then has to ‘science the shit’ out of it, as it were. What follows is a story unique to any of the others I have read, even when compared to Weir’s other efforts, The Martian and Artemis.

This book doesn’t skimp on the details. The protagonist is a school science teacher and through this lens, and the close first person perspective that Weir employs, he describes each and every bit of science in detail, often literally doing that math, or at least, describing formulas.

To do this and keep the reader turning page after page is no small feat.

It’s no spoiler to say that whilst floating, the protagonist meets an alien. I won’t go into too much detail about said alien but it is worth noting the detail and though Weir put into his creation.

In an article with the New York Times he states that he didn’t want to just put some bumps on a human and call it a day. And to his credit, he hasn’t. The alien is unique and every aspect of it’s biology follows the laws of physics. It is the most realistic depiction of an alien that I have ever read and, as you may have guessed, I’ve read a fair few.

It’s an interesting thing to ponder, once you finish the book, what you would have done in a similar scenario.

How would you react to waking up, light years from home, with no memory of how you got there? I can’t say I would have handled it as well as Weir’s protagonist.

The novel also flirts with some larger questions such as where life came from and what it means to be human. Alas, I can’t go into too much detail about how it does this as that would introduce spoilers that I’m dancing around, however, it is worth paying attention to these moments if you read the book.

All that said, Project Hail Mary at it’s core is fun. Incredibly fun and easy to read. The personality of the protagonist and the pace with which discoveries are made will pull you through each page without you realising it.

And you’ll find yourself awake at 3am and needing to get up in three hours, much like I was.

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