The Martian and Project Hail Mary

I rewatched The Martian some weeks back and had the idea to read the book by Andy Weir it was based on. I ended up liking it enough to also check out Andy Weir’s most recent book, Project Hail Mary. And it’s a good thing I did since that one, in my opinion, is even better.

I won’t go too into detail but the two books are pretty similar. If you like one you’ll almost certainly enjoy the other. But they each also feel different and unique which I appreciate having read the two back to back.

Here’s some brief thoughts on the books.

The Martian

The Martian is about astronaut Mark Watney who, during an emergency abort of a manned Mars mission, gets injured and left behind by his crew who mistake him for dead. He finds himself alone on Mars with no way to communicate with anyone and he must use his resourcefulness to survive.

The book takes you through all Watney’s problem solving in detail and, heck, could probably pass as a Mars survival guide. It’s very logical and grounded which I figure is a lot of what makes it so engaging. The movie adaptation was excellent, but it was fun reading all about the extra details and scenarios that it wasn’t able to fit in.

Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary is about an astronaut who wakes up on a spaceship with dead crewmates and no memory of his mission or who he even is. Eventually he discovers that Earth faces an extinction-level threat and he’s the only hope in finding a solution.

If The Martian leans more on the science part of sci-fi, Project Hail Mary leans more on the fiction part. I actually like it for that reason. There’s still plenty of science-ing, but there’s also much more than that. I really loved the characters, all the rewarding payoffs, and how fun this book managed to feel despite the plot’s high stakes.

Final Thoughts

I feel comfortable in saying these are must-reads for anyone into space or any kind of science. Project Hail Mary was my favorite of the two, but it was really fun reading The Martian even after multiple watches of the movie.

I’m not quite sure what I’ll move on to now. I may give Artemis, another Andy Weir book, a go. I hear it’s not quite as good as either of the two I’ve already read but I’m sure it would still be enjoyable. I’m not committed to it yet though so I’m open to other recommendations! Contact info is on my home page.