cover image Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir. Ballantine, $28.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-593-13520-4

Bestseller Weir (The Martian) delivers a suspenseful portrait of human ingenuity and resilience in this powerful narrative of a desperate effort to save Earth. Ryland Grace awakens from a coma with no memories of his identity or how he came to be alone on a spaceship. Weir creates instant engagement by toggling between Grace’s efforts to make sense of his present circumstances and flashbacks that gradually paint an unsettling picture of his life before. Grace worked as a microbiologist until the negative response to his theory that water may not be required to sustain alien life drove him from his research to a job teaching middle school science. That career is disrupted, however, after astronomers discover that the sun is losing heat, imperiling the future of humanity. The cause seems to be a microscopic life-form that feeds on the star’s energy, and Grace is drafted into the international team of scientists working to combat the impending catastrophe. Weir cleverly doles out pieces of Grace’s backstory and information about the mission that landed him in space, tossing in curveballs and judiciously using humor to break the tension as the story builds to an unexpectedly moving ending. This is a winner. Agent: David Fugate, LaunchBooks Literary. (May)