Like some other readers, awed by The Martian, I was very disappointed by Andy Weir’s next novel: Artemis.
Still, remembering my pleasure reading his previous scifi novel, I decided to give him another chance and requested Project Hail Mary.
I was still a bit hesitant though, as I didn’t know the expression included in the title and was afraid it would be dealing with religion. But for all of you knowledgeable in American football, the reference is obvious.
Anyway, forget all hesitations, this is again the fruit of a great writer!
And don’t let the number of pages discourage you, you will go through them at the speed of light 😉
The book opens when Ryland wakes up. Things are not going well for him. He has a hard time talking, moving, and cannot remember a thing. Not even his name nor his job. He can’t even identify the place he is in.
Little by little, he realizes he must be somewhere in space, living thanks to resources provided by a super computer. His two colleagues were not that lucky.
Little by little, by observing things around him, by regaining his memory progressively, he realizes he is the only chance left for our planet. But he was sent on a very dangerous last chance mission (hence the title), and really all the odds are against his success, or against his going back to Earth safely.
Like in The Martian, there are a lot of scientific details (and some stars data are real). Fascinating, but maybe too much in some parts. However, I still gave 5 stars to the book, as all the details turned out to be so cleverly thought out, and they made the book sound so realistic.
You know what strong magnetic fields and thick atmospheres are really good at? Radiation protection.
All life on Earth evolved to deal with radiation. Our DNA has error-correction built in because we’re constantly bombarded with radiation from the sun and from space in general. Our magnetic field and atmosphere protect us somewhat, but not 100 percent.
If you wonder let’s say about space elevator or panspermia theory, yes these are also important scientific fields.
Plus, the plot is just fabulous.
The book gets even more fascinating at Chapter 7 (26% of the book), with a very special discovery. Which then brings on all kinds of fascinating new themes.
Of course, I can’t give you any details about this surprise, just that you really need to read this book. It contains so many layers and themes, both related to Earth and to space.
It has so many unexpected twists, including to the very end, with a fabulous last chapter, that may or may not point to a sequel.
The narrative is going back and forth between Ryland’s current situation, and what happened on Earth to send him and his crew on this mission. This alternation definitely added to the tension in the suspense!
I loved all the descriptions of the characters, all very complex people.
And I can’t wait to see it made into a movie, because it has to become a movie!
Andy, looking forward to your next novel, bring it on!
VERDICT: A jaw-dropping tale of survival and discovery. Clever science, humor, suspense: the great Andy Weir is back!
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
Or any other great recent scifi?
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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received this ebook free of charge through Netgalley, for review. I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.