I immensely enjoyed Andy's The Martian. A tried to read his Artemis, but for some reason I lost steam early on. I'm not sure whether it was the book that did it or extenuating circumstances (of which there were many at the time). However I have heard from many that Project Hail Mary is a gem.
And it really is.
We get to follow Dr Ryland Grace (who doesn't remember his own name when the book starts) as he spends time in the Tau Ceti solar system looking for a solution to an extreme extinction level event going on back home.
In the very first paragraph he wakes up without any memory of his location, how he got there, or even who he is. He discovers almost immediately that he at least possesses enough science skills to figure things out. As time goes on we get to know both Ryland and the history behind his mission through flashbacks as he recovers from his memory loss.
It's civilisation versus extraterrestrial life all the way. Following his discoveries and tribulations in the Tau Ceti system is an absolute joy. It's very similarly in style to The Martian; very technical and a character that deals methodically with each problem that presents itself. With minor tweaks to Ryland's personality and some enormous changes to his background (and I guess pretty huge changes to the entire backstory of the novel) this could almost have been a sequel to The Martian.
Alright, so it's far from being a sequel. I did enjoy the very same elements in both books, however. And Hail Mary adds to the enjoyment by presenting relatable characters and friendship and self-sacrifice above and beyond. It's a feel-good book wrapped in space tinfoil.
The sad part is that it left me wishing that humanity would deal as swiftly and decisively against climate change as it does to the global threat in the book.
-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal