July 2022

Project Hail Mary

— Renowned author Andy Weir delivers another well researched literary masterpiece.
Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir's third best-selling novel, Project: Hail Mary, was published in 2021. Weir established a high bar for himself with his 2011 debut novel The Martian, which was transformed into a highly praised film in 2015. Even as his debut novel threatens to eclipse his ongoing storylines, Weir's works continue to wow readers with their depth, relatability, and stunningly innovative concepts. Many admirers of his work say that Project: Hail Mary is his best book yet, and with good reason: the novel has been pitched for a film adaptation, featuring none other than Ryan Gosling as the main character. The anticipated release date is 2023.

Project: Hail Mary follows Ryland Grace, a microbiologist turned 8th-grade science teacher who awakens in space in a strange solar system, surrounded by the corpses of his crewmates and an impersonal ship AI. With no recollection of how he got there, the story proceeds as Grace investigates his strange surroundings and attempts to put together his horrible reality. He and his crew, of which he was the lone survivor, were the last chance for the whole human species. The sun is dying, mankind is on brink of destroying itself in fear, and the cure for the sun is in the hands of a guy who can't even remember his own name. Well, one man, and then an unexpected companion.

Weir manages to keep readers on the edge of their seats, laughing and gasping with a protagonist facing the most complete kind of isolation: light years away from another human being with astronomically small possibility of returning home, just as he did so effectively in The Martian. Grace's retrograde amnesia—a side effect of his medically induced coma—along with his funny, realistic, occasionally self-deprecating, and overall well-written internal dialog—helped him achieve this.

Grace's memories gradually resurface during his voyage, and with each one, he and the readers learn more about Earth's frighteningly swift deterioration and the gravity of the Hail Mary mission. Before leaving Earth, Grace had met with the most brilliant minds mankind has to offer, and they all came to the same conclusion: if the mission fails, all life on Earth is doomed. All they can do is postpone the inevitable and hope for Grace to send them salvation. And, to add insult to injury, Grace discovers that he was not only not the first choice for this mission—he didn't even want to be there in the first place.

When Grace discovers "Blip-A," his adventure takes an unexpected turn. A blip on his ship's radar resembles... another spacecraft? Grace's goal and life are forever altered as a result of this finding. Not only is there sentient life on other worlds, but their sun is also on the verge of dying, and Grace now has another solitary survivor with whom to race to discover a solution. Finding an alien spaceship and thereby confirming the presence of other intelligent life—was the only time Grace cursed in the whole novel, which is a wonderful illustration of Weir's penchant for humour in his writing.

Weir's depiction of extraterrestrial life is gloriously distinctive, amusing, and scientifically based. Grace's unexpected companion—dubbed "Rocky"—is an engineer on his home planet. The two start talking in their common global language: science. Their exchanges as both species establish "first contact" are as exciting for readers as they are for Grace, and Weir manages to present a heartwarmingly wholesome image of extraterrestrial encounter despite the seriousness of their position. He paints a vivid picture of how two lonely, existentially afraid scientific nerds with a same purpose may find common ground and form an unbreakable bond despite being from opposite sides of the galaxy.

The ability of Weir's literary works to smoothly merge fiction with the world of possibility is a significant component that makes them so exciting and unusual, and Project: Hail Mary maintains this tradition. Grace is a scientist at heart, and he frequently references to technical aspects of his mission, such as detailed facts regarding his spaceship, explanations of gravity and physics, and experiments involving his attempts to construct and adapt a microbiological cure for Earth's sun. Weir is a computer programmer with extensive understanding of mathematics and physics, but for Project: Hail Mary, he collaborated with a slew of renowned experts to nail down the small details. Dr. Andrew Howell, Principal Investigator of the Global Supernova Project and presenter of Science Vs. Cinema; Jim Green, who just departed as NASA's chief scientist; and Shawn Goldman, a NASA researcher with an emphasis on exoplanets and astrobiology, were among his confidants.

Our favourite quote from Project Hail Mary

Human beings have a remarkable ability to accept the abnormal and make it normal.

Our favourite quote from The Martian

Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.

Our favourite quote from Artemis

It’s a simple idiot-proofing scheme that’s very effective. But no idiot-proofing can overcome a determined idiot.

Despite the possibilities of a film adaptation, Project: Hail Mary is a novel that may be appreciated without a visual counterpart. Weir's language is detailed as well as evocative, exhilarating as well as heartwarming. Fans of The Martian or Artemis, alien sci-fi, or those who just prefer meticulously researched literature will enjoy Project: Hail Mary. Grace and Rocky's narrative is loaded with frantic action and incredible stakes, yet they don't obscure the themes of personal growth, overcoming fear, and platonic camaraderie that make Weir's characters and stories so approachable, thought-provoking, and cherished.

Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don't have.