Saturday, March 5, 2022

Project Hail Mary

  Project Hail Mary
Author:  Andy Weir
Publication Information:  Ballantine Books. 2021. 490 pages.
ISBN:  0593135202 / 978-0593135204

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "What's two plus two?"

Favorite Quote:  "Human brains are amazing things. We can get used to just about anything."

The Martian was science-y, geeky, irreverent, and a whole lot of fun. Artemis was a little less geeky, a little more about politic and greed, still fun, but without the intensity of The Martian. Project Hail Mail becomes the third book I have read by Andy Weir. 

A "Hail Mary" of course has its basis in Christian tradition, a prayer in praise of and seeking assistance from Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. In American culture, this phrase has long been used in the sport of football. A "hail mary" pass is a long distance throw near the end of a game with little chance of completion but with a hope and a prayer for a miracle.

The use of the phrase in the title of the book is the same meaning, except not for football but rather for the survival of the human race itself. Interestingly, the book does give a nod to the Christian origins of the phrase and the recognition that other cultures and traditions may have something similar. "Maybe that ship is the Praise Allah or the Blessings of Vishnu or something."

The miracle is needed. This Ryland Grace know although at the beginning he cannot quite reconcile with where he is or why he is there. He "wakes" up on a spaceship, alone, flanked on either side by two corpses. He is cared for by the ship itself or rather computers embedded in the ship. He is unsure what his objective is. At the beginning, he is unsure of even who he is.

Gradually, memory returns, and he remembers his mission. He is on a ship built by a collaborative effort by all nations on earth - political message there? He and his colleagues were hurtled far, far away into space in an attempt to save earth. Now, there is only him.

Until there is not only him. Thus begins the main story of the book. There is another ship, and on it is Rocky. "Rocky is smaller than a human. He's about the size of a Labrador. He has five legs radiating out from a central carapace-looking thing. The carapace, which is roughly a pentagon, is 18 inches across and half has thick. I don't see eyes or a face anywhere."

Ryland and Rocky could not be more different. Yet, they appear to be in a shared predicament. Perhaps, they even share the same goal and the same feelings towards their home planets and those they left behind.  A friendship develops.

That is the crux of this book - collaboration, friendship across seemingly insurmountable differences, caring and love across boundaries, and sacrifice for the greater good. In this book, it is the result of an existentialist threat to both their worlds. I would like to think that an outside threat precipitated the meeting the friendship, but it might have happened anyways. A lovely lesson to find anywhere.

While this book does not live up to the intensity and humor of The Martian, it does provide an entertaining read and an important reminder that we are all ultimately one world.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment