“Human beings have a remarkable ability to accept the abnormal and make it normal.”
― Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary by Andy WeirProject Hail Mary is a science fiction novel written by Andy Weir. It was published in 2021. The following review will contain spoilers so please be warned. My Goodreads will have a spoiler-free review.

Prompt: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission in space–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! Please be warned.

 

Wow. Okay. Remember The Martian? Remember how there was this mission to Mars and this astronaut, Mark Watney is presumed dead so the crew sets their course back to earth. Except that, Mark Watney is not dead! He is stranded on Mars… Great news, we now have another book from the same author and I do think the guy loves the “except that”. 

I squealed from happiness when I saw Audible recommending me this title. No one creates hopeless scenarios and unlikely heroes quite like Mr.Weir. In Project Hail Mary, we are introduced to Ryland Grace. Except that, at the moment he does not quite remember his name. He wakes up from a coma and comes to realize that something is peculiarly off with his surroundings. And that the gravity seems a bit off.
We soon learn that Grace has been sent into space on a desperate mission to save earth from sun sucking space algea! 

YES! Space algea! I bet you did not see that coming. And how can humans fight space algea a.k.a astrophage? It funnily enough turns out that we are not prepared as human species to deal with such things. The book has many flashbacks that play well with Grace regaining his memories from his past and how he ended up in space. Apparently, he is a high school science teacher and ended up on a space mission because he used to study molecular biology (handy for space algea). 

“I gasped. “Wait a minute! Am I a guinea pig? I’m a guinea pig!”
“No, it’s not like that,” she said.
I stared at her.
She stared at me.
I stared at her.
“Okay, it’s exactly like that,” she said.” ― Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary

I think what bugged me a bit about The Martian and Artemis was the fact that there was no alien life. And Weir has read my mind and he has delivered something very special. I am not talking about the astrophage. Weir gives us another alien race. Meet Rocky. An alien from 40 Eridani system, whose planet is also threatened by the space algea. Rocky looks like a giant spider and communicates by musical notes and works together with Grace to save humans and eridians.

“Good. Proud. I am scary space monster. You are leaky space blob.” He points to the breeder tanks. “Check tanks!” ― Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary

This book rubbed every bookish taste bud I have. A little bit of science that is written in a fun and understandable way, a lot of humor, unlikely and unwanting heroes, a bit of planet saving and the most beautiful friendship you could imagine. Heck, I want to become astrounaut now… or maybe a molecular biologist. Hmmm.

I would rate this 5+/5 stars. Crazy good. And better than The Martian so I added a plus :)

How-To Read Project Hail Mary
1.
This is a must-read for all scifi fans. I love it. I mean… how can you not love it.
2. I guess if you are here, you either mystically avoided spoilers or you have finished the book or you do not care so kills the point of my how-to section. Ah well.
3. I would warmly recommend to listen to this one on Audible because it is fun to listen to Rocky’s melodies. I do not know how that would work in paper?
4. If you love books about alien species… no need to seek any further

“This is happy! Your face opening is in sad mode. Why, question?”
― Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary

                                           

Astronaut in space – picture credit