Arts & Leisure

Book review: Project Hail Mary — by Andy Weir

(Ballantine Books)

The title of Andy Weir’s latest sci-fi thriller immediately imparts a good sense of the plot, taking its name from the common American idiom which refers to a desperate attempt at a very long football pass that has only a small chance of success. Ryland Grace, once a somewhat-disgraced microbiologist who is teaching high school science, has just woken up from a coma? Actually, he has no idea what he has just woken up from nor any idea where he is. He soon discerns he’s in a space vehicle of some sort; he’s the last remaining living crew member; he is on a mission to save the Earth. Through a series of flashbacks, he begins to sort it all out, and the backstory of the mission and how he finds himself an astronaut racing towards a distant star system, is fleshed out in a creative and convincing way. Weir’s “people,” and yes, that does need to be in quotes and when you meet Rocky, you’ll know why, are resourceful, practical, and intelligent. This really is a very enjoyable yet highly-plausible and very engaging science fiction adventure, with a healthy ratio of risk to reward, enduring friendships, and plenty of humor.

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.


11 Essential Science Fiction Titles

Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Fugitive Telemetry, by Martha Wells

Riot Baby, by Tochi Onyebuchi

Master of Djinn, by P. Djèlí Clark

This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar

Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler

Galaxy, and the Ground Within, by Becky Chambers

Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

Severance, by Ling Ma

Firebreak, by Nicole Kornher-Stace

After the Flood, by Kassandra Montag

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