Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.
Or does he?
Readers get a little background on WHY Ryland was a part of this last-ditch effort to save humanity. Then, it jumps forward to Ryland waking up on the ship with no memory. So, the story is told in two time periods, as he regains memories and the timing catches up. It sounds confusing, but it’s not. It’s a clever way to tell a backstory and current, woven together.
I really enjoyed The Martian, and this sounded even more intriguing. Instead of just one man at risk, this is all of humanity and Earth. There was never any lack of suspense! In fact, the more that was explained about what’s threatening Earth, the more impossible the task seems. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-paced scifi thriller with plenty of heart – heavy on the science and heavy on the fiction – the best of what science fiction is about. The way it’s explained, makes it seem plausible. Yet, the premise is still out there and a great escape from reality. It has already been purchased for a movie adaptation, and it’s no surprise.