June 18, 2021
Genre/Categories: Science Fiction, Space Mission, Friendship, Survival
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Middle School science teacher Ryland Grace finds himself on a desperate space mission to save planet Earth. He wakes up on a spaceship hooked up to tubes without a memory of how he got there or how the two people next to him died in their beds. Although he senses he knows them and realizes their importance, he can’t remember his own name or his purpose for being there. In dual timelines, we hear Ryland’s backstory (as he regains his memory) and experience the dangerous present reality. Ryland finds an unexpected ally in his quest to save Earth from extinction.
5 Things to Tell You About Project Hail Mary
(attempting to do this with minimal spoilers!)
- Lots of science, math, and engineering talk but that doesn’t hinder the main gist of the story or overpower the themes…lots to ponder and appreciate in Project Hail Mary even if you’re not a science/math/engineering person.
- Ray Porter is the superb audio narrator/actor…I HIGHLY recommend the audio version for Project Hail Mary. In fact, I can’t imagine reading it in print. I felt like Ryland Grace himself was sitting in my living room relating a fantastic yet believable story.
- Ryland Grace is an extremely likable character, an everyday “awww shucks” kind of guy, a popular middle school teacher, a curious scientist, an admirable and selfless friend, and a relentless and innovative problem solver. Like many of us who go to work each day, he shows up and never quits.
- I love a book with thought-provoking themes and Project Hail Mary absolutely does not disappoint! Themes include sacrifice, friendship, hope, love, saving the world, curiosity, reluctant heroism, determination, grit, survival, unknowns of space travel, risk-taking, problem-solving, accepting the unchangeable, rolling with the punches, and appreciating cultural differences.
My husband reflects: “Three concepts struck me and they all boil down to values: (1) loving others (caring and mourning for his friends who died, Ryland and his unexpected ally looking out for each other); (2) helping others (as a teacher….his first love, helping during the initial planning and preparation phase of the mission); and (3) giving back (Ryland ultimately commits to helping his country and accepts the responsibility and the cost). Ryland’s decision and actions at the end (no spoilers) are significant points of discussion and speculation.
- This is a memorable and satisfying read that will make a fabulous book club selection and/or buddy read. In fact, it might be a perfect Father’s Day gift! (this weekend in the U.S.). My husband and I listened to this book together and we both enjoyed the listening experience and our discussions immensely. In a book club discussion, I’d love to speculate about the future!
Highly Recommended: Even though science fiction is not my usual genre, I’m thrilled that I took the chance to read Project Hail Mary. Plus, if you are a “read the book before the movie” type person, you will want to read this before the movie starring Ryan Gosling comes out! Recommended for fans of The Martian, for readers who love science fiction, and for those who appreciate a compulsively page-turning and (eventually) heartwarming story. I predict it will be the buzz-worthy book of summer 2021. Compelling and unputdownable. Please consider the audio version!
Content Considerations: appropriate for science/math-minded middle school and high school readers; minimal profanity; heavy emphasis on evolution.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)
Meet the Author, Andy Weir
ANDY WEIR built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time.
He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail.
He lives in California.
Is Project Hail Mary on your TBR or have you read it?
Happy U.S. Father’s Day!
My dad and me as a baby; my dad on a fjord in Norway; my dad and me at my graduation (masters)
My father has been in Heaven for several years now, dying on Father’s Day in 2009.
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