Review: Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir

Andy Weir’s first published book, The Martian, was a sensation – and rightly so. For me, it reawakened an interest in science fiction. His second book, Artemis, sold well but had mixed critical reviews. I, for one, didn’t love it. His third outing is a bit of a return to the formula of The Martian but with one added feature: an alien being who is called ‘Rocky’. The book takes the basic idea of The Martian – lone astronaut with an extraordinary grasp of math and science – grappling with a series of technical challenges and overcoming them all – and puts it on steroids. There were whole episodes in the book that I could not follow and I’m sure others couldn’t as well. But this is not the book’s main weakness: that falls to ‘Rocky’. Where ‘The Martian’ had a likeable main character facing life-threatening challenges alone, here we got a loveable spider-like ammonia-breathing blind alien. It doesn’t work and while like many others I read the book to the end just to find out what happens, I can’t recommend it.