Sunday, April 11, 2021

Review: Project Hail Mary

Project Hail MaryProject Hail Mary by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read "The Martian" by Andy Weir and was enthralled. Project Hail Mary is another protagonist that has mad MacGyver skills except that the reader is privy to the way Ryland solves his problems. I have a number of praises so I'll dive right in.

First of all, my science and math skills are pretty basic. It's what I learned in my generals in college, a statistics class in my graduate degree, and the exposure I get while working as a school counselor in a junior high. Ryland Grace uses science and math as well as logic to solve problems. I understood it. I wouldn't have been able to do it myself, but the 9th grade math and science I see every day is sufficient to make sense out of most of his MacGyvering. What you may not have learned has enough of an explanation to put it together.

So the problem solving is always clever. This time, though, there is another aspect that is fascinating. The story is basically told in present tense where Ryland wakes from a drug induced coma with near amnesia. As his memories return, another timeline is revealed in flashbacks. Not all at once but in relation to something that triggers them. This was good writing. In reading the book description and looking at the title of the book, I think it is safe to say that he is on a mission to save Earth. Something is threatening Earth's viability. The something that is threatening Earth and all life on it is an incredibly clever (and terrifying) antagonist. I have a lot more to say about this but I fear adding spoilers. Just know that I really liked the creativity, imagination, and scientific aspects of this threat.

Last, the unexpected ally. Loved it. Loved the details, the strengths and weaknesses. Loved the building of the alliance. That's all I can say.

Great book. It is probably as good or maybe better than "Hail Mary" but it is definitely different. What they have in common is that 1) over half of the story doesn't take place on earth, 2) clever ways of solving problems and creating helpful tools and 3) very well written and fun to read. Where it differs with "The Martian" is everything else. Expect something new.

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