According to a 2003 article on the NASA website, “NASA-funded scientists have recently learned that cloud-to-ground lightning frequently strikes the ground in two or more places …” and that the third and fourth strokes of a lightning flash will follow the same path as the second stroke. In other words, lightning DOES strike the same place twice.
But you don’t need to search the web for this information. If you want proof that lightning strikes twice, just read Andy Weir’s newest book, Project Hail Mary, and you’ll see that Weir has created a giant sci-fi bestseller, in the same electric path as The Martian.
Ryland Grace has a puzzle on his hands. He wakes up without a clue as to where he is, but he seems to be alone except for a computer AI that was keeping him alive. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to be doing the same for two others in his … wherever he is … as he notes the decayed corpses in their creches on the … well, it’s a ship. A space ship. And bit by bit Grace puts the pieces of the puzzle together.
An alien microbe has been discovered. Ryland Grace is brought on to the science team to learn more about the life form because Grace, currently a middle school science teacher, wrote papers about the notation that there does not need to be water to create life. Only in a biozone such as Earth’s would water be needed, but other building blocks could be used in other systems.
The science community as a whole mocked Grace, which is why he left and went on to teach kids, but now, he may be the best suited to understand this new life form. And as he remembers more and more, he also remembers that this life form is feeding on the energy output of the sun, which is decreasing the energy that gets to Earth, which spells disaster – as in the end of all life as currently known – on Earth if something isn’t done.
Scientists discover that Sol isn’t the only star that is losing its energy output – likely due to the alien consumption, but that there is one star, in the center of all the known stars losing their energy, that remains constant with its output. In which case, the answer to the survival for Earth is likely found there, at Tau Ceti.
The world’s best scientific minds come together (by force and coercion) to create a ship that can get to Tau Ceti in twelve years (using the alien microbe as fuel) with shuttle pods to bring back answers to how to save the planet, but for the crew, it’s a one-way trip.
Knowing why he’s there is only the first puzzle for Grace. Now he has to figure out how to save Earth. There’s a very small window of time for him to discover the way to save the human race and get the answers sent back. Take too long and the shuttles will return to a dead planet.
This book is amazing.
Author Andy Weir brings us back to the magic that made The Martian so successful – an abandoned scientist trying to survive. But Ryland Grace’s story is more complicated because he’s not just trying to survive, but also help humanity survive.
There’s lots and lots of science – which is part of Weir’s writing signature – and there’s also a really wonderful story.
It’s hard for me to tell you just what I liked about this book because anything I write will be a spoiler and a huge part of the joy in this book is making the discoveries with Ryland Grace.
Grace is our main character, but through the liberal use of flashbacks, we have a full cast of characters – at least one quite important to the story. Everyone is unique and individual which makes it easy to read, but just as with The Martian, where Mark Watney’s personality carries the story, Ryland Grace here is the smart-mouth, sometimes funny, obsessed scientist infusing his personal tastes into his discoveries. He’s also quite smart – which is good since he will need his intellect to save all of humanity.
This is a page-turner. I did not want to put this book down. Neither did my 21 year old son who picked up my copy after I was well into it and finished it before I did. And days later he’s still talking about how much he liked it and quoting sections of it to me at the dinner table.
I hope Ballantine Books will do a very large print run because this is going to be huge seller and you definitely don’t want to miss out on the biggest thing to come out in 2021.
Looking for a good book? Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir is proof that lightning strikes twice as this has all the excitement and energy of Weir’s debut novel, with a more complicated storyline that will hold the reader all the way to the end.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Project Hail Mary
author: Andy Weir
publisher: Ballantine Books
hardcover, 496 pages