‘Project Hail Mary’ – Andy Weir

As part of my attempts to read out of my comfort zone I decided to try Project Hail Mary. I was reticent, wondering if I’d be blinded by science or whether I’d be engaged by such a story…pleased to say I needn’t have worried.

Our story is not straightforward and there is a lot of science (which I followed in a rather detached clueless way) but I found myself completely invested in the story of Ryland Grace.

When we first encounter Grace he is just waking up after being in an enforced coma. He discovers he’s on a spaceship, the two companions with him are dead and his memory is rather muddled.

Of course I had questions, and over the course of the novel we learn exactly how he came to be here and what his mission is.

The premise that Earth needs to be saved and a team have been sent on a suicide mission is pretty obvious. The sun’s energy is being removed and, unless something is done, the Earth will experience a major extinction event.

I found myself liking the to and fro of this, being given details as Grace recalled them so we learn relatively slowly about what is happening. However, as I found myself wondering where on earth this story would go we got a rather unexpected arrival and the book took off in a wonderful direction.

Without giving too much away, Rocky was – for me – what made this book. We were offered a plausible scenario to introduce some complexity to what could have been an otherwise bleak story. The dynamic between Rocky and Grace offered some interesting exploration of the human psyche and how we communicate. It lent a very real element to what could have, otherwise, felt a rather sterile read.

Not at all what I expected, and I’m pleased to have enjoyed something so different to my usual fare.