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Thursday, September 02, 2021

Review: Project Hail Mary

 Project Hail Mary is Andy Weir's latest novel.  This is classic science fiction: a threat to the sun has launched a desperate, suicide mission to save the sun, and Dr. Ryland Grace is the last man standing on his mission, the Hail Mary, a purpose-built ship to figure out how to stop the impending disaster that's both a research mission and a rescue mission.

The novel combines many aspects of science fiction novels that I love:

  1. The protagonist is a scientist, as well as an engineer, and thinks rationally through all problems. The depiction of desperate debugging, jury-rigging solutions, and considering all theoretical possibilities will appeal to any STEM folks.
  2. It's also a first-contact story, and an excellent one as well. Every tool available to a modern human is available to the protagonist, and there's no idiocy involved. The biological differences between the species make sense, and all sorts of puzzles are not left as mere fantasy. The author addresses all scientific issues that are rasied.
Every page of this book is exciting and a compelling read, as is the science. The most unrealistic part of the book is the part where the entire planet comes together and gives a scientific administrator full control in order to create and launch the Hail Mary. In this day of conspiracy theories and anti-science, I can't imagine that actually happening.

You can bet that if that's the only flaw in the book, this book easily makes it the best novel I've read in years. Highly recommended!

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