Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

“What’s the cube root of eight?” the computer asks.

“Where am I?” I say again. This time, it’s easier.

“Incorrect. What’s the cube root of eight?”

I take a deep breath and speak slowly. “Two times e to the two-i-pi.”

“Incorrect. What’s the cube root of eight?”

But I wasn’t incorrect. I just wanted to see how smart the computer was. Answer: not very.

Project Hail Mary, p.5 –


And with that opening, my friends, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to love this book πŸ₯° I mean, I’ve been spending most of the past week trying to get my computer to calculate things that it doesn’t want to calculate, so I immediately related to this protagonist with a mathematical sense of humor who obviously doesn’t trust his computer’s intelligence. And rightfully so, because even WolframAlpha can tell you that the cube root of eight is the same thing as two times e to the two-i-pi:

Your futuristic software has really got to suck if the free online version of a twenty-first century math program knows more about polar coordinates than your computer does…

But anyway, back to the book: From the very beginning, I was absolutely hooked, and then it just kept getting better! Project Hail Mary has everything I ever could have hoped for in an epic science fiction adventure – lots of math, wacky humor, one of the most adorable friendships I’ve ever read about, an alien threat that could mean the end of life on Earth as we know it – and things I didn’t even dream of asking for, like a bunch of language snippets and music trivia that made my inner nerd dance with joy! It constantly had me at the edge of my seat bed because I just couldn’t put it down until I knew how it ended. Honestly, guys, I think I might like this one even more than The Martian

Sure, maybe Project Hail Mary has its flaws. Maybe Andy Weir’s protagonists do always have the same personality. Maybe it’s a teensy bit unrealistic that a middle-school science teacher would be one of the few people chosen for a critical mission that could save the world and also happen to have a nearly encyclopedic memory for scientific facts. Or that a complete non-musician would, within a couple of weeks, be able to learn a language that involves distinguishing chords with perfect pitch abilities that I still haven’t developed after almost two decades of playing the violin and piano. But I don’t care. I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I think it may have snuck its way into my number two spot of the year. (I’m sorry, Project Hail Mary, but The Betrayals is still better.) So obviously, it’s getting all the stars! It just checked all the boxes for me!


SOME GENERAL INFO:

Title: Project Hail Mary

Author: Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 476

Publication Date: May 4th, 2021

[Is this date a coincidence? πŸ€” Thankfully, though, this book has more Star Trek than Star Wars references, which I take to mean that Andy Weir also acknowledges Star Trek‘s vast superiority πŸ˜‡]

Date Read: July 19, 2021

[Yes, I read this pretty much in one sitting πŸ˜… I told you I couldn’t put the book down, didn’t I?]

Rating: 5/5 Stars


Synopsis (Goodreads):

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission – and if he fails, humanity and 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. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian – while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.


If any of this sounded at all interesting to you, I highly recommend you go grab yourself a copy and start reading!

And as for those of you who have already read Project Hail Mary – let’s talk spoilers!! πŸ€—


WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS IN THE NEXT SECTION! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ Project Hail Mary YET AND DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED, STOP READING NOW!


First, Rocky!!!! I love Rocky!!! 😍😍😍 My compelling need to talk about him is actually a big reason why I’m writing this review in the first place because, unfortunately, I just don’t see how I can mention him in my wrap-up without spoiling that Project Hail Mary is, first and foremost, a first contact story.

You guys, you have no idea how much I lapped this stuff up! I absolutely loved everything, from learning about Rocky’s physiology – Finally, an alien that isn’t just a human with pointy ears and a weird skin color! – to figuring out how his language worked and how Eridian societies functioned. Seeing Ryland and Rocky get so excited about everything that had to do with the other’s culture and civilization despite their home planets being in mortal danger was the most adorable and relatable thing ever, and of course, I immediately fell for it. Just get two nerds in one room and they’ll be friends for life, no matter where they’re from!

And aahhh, the communication part! I absolutely love how excited both Rocky and Ryland got when they understood something about the other. Like, Rocky being over the moon when he found out Ryland could see light? Or him immediately welcoming Ryland as a friend and asking Ryland to watch him sleep, like his fellow Eridians would do? [Side note to Edward Cullen: Maybe you should check out this planet, it sounds like you might like it…] Or Rocky immediately offering his extra fuel to Ryland and being beyond excited about computers and relativity? It was too cute!! Seeing Rocky and Ryland together honestly gave me hope for humanity’s future. Although Rocky being the sole survivor of his crew was also beyond sad 😭

Also, can I just mention that I love that Andy Weir gave us a plausible explanation as to why humans and Eridians evolved similarly enough to be in the same place at the same time and be able to communicate? Lazily convenient first contact stories are actually one of my biggest science fiction gripes, so I love that Project Hail Mary went into depth and really tried to make Ryland and Rocky’s friendship plausible. All those thoughts on the history of mankind and life in general were fascinating, as was the background we got on the Eridians and their home planet. These aliens were different enough to make them interesting, and backed up so well through scientific arguments that I couldn’t help but feel they were actually real.

In general, I just absolutely love how much science and math were in the book 🀩 I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Andy Weir just knows how to write exactly the sort of science fiction I love to read. Stuff where you can nerd out and convert base six numbers into base ten numbers just for the fun of it or reflect on the number of protons in an iron atom.

I return to the tunnel to tell Rocky all about how smart I am.

He balls a fist at me as I enter. “You left! Bad!

“I measured the mass! I made a very smart experiment!”

He holds up a string with beads on it. “Twenty-six.”

The beaded string is just like the ones he sent me back when we talked about our atmospheres –

“Oh,” I say. It’s an atom. That’s how he talks about atoms. I count the beads. There are twenty-six in all.

[…]

It takes a second to sink in. Then I slap my forehead.

You are bad.

It was a fun experiment, but a total waste of time. Rocky was giving me all the information I needed. Or trying to, at least. I know how dense iron is, and I know how to calculate the volume of a sphere. Getting to mass from there is just a little arithmetic.

Project Hail Mary, p. 209-210

And yet, all the science is always relevant to the plot somehow. It is never about info-dumping, but all about making this world Andy Weir created seem real. Even things that we have never seen before, such as Astrophage, have plausible explanations that the characters slowly have to discover through scientific method. And as a STEM-student, I just find that so satisfying!

However, science is never simple. There are always variables you didn’t think about and problems you run into along the way that you never even considered. There’s a reason why writing my thesis is so frustrating: When something finally works, it usually brings with it a whole lot of new problems that will require even more thinking. And Andy Weir perfectly captures that. Oh, you finally bred Taumoeba that are resistant to high levels of nitrogen? Well, too bad they also happened to evolve into something that can permeate your xenonite containers! These kinds of things made Project Hail Mary realistic, and it made things exciting. Like Ryland Grace and Rocky, you could only hope for the best and pray that whichever other variables you hadn’t considered wouldn’t have too drastic of an impact. Although when they did, the suspense was off the charts!

There was no pronunciation or inflection of the sounds. Just notes. Like whale song. Except not quite like whale song, because there were several at once. Whale chords, I guess. And he was responding to me.

Project Hail Mary, p. 178

In addition to the math and science, though, Project Hail Mary also included my other big obsession: LANGUAGES!!! I mean, first, there are a whole bunch of snippets in different human languages, and I was in seventh heaven because out of the three that cropped up most often in the book, I speak two! So the whole time, I was reading all of these Russian and German bits and super excited about all the Easter eggs I was getting. Did I mention I love when books just include stuff in other languages without providing translations? πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° It is the best type of riddle ever! Unfortunately, though, I don’t speak Chinese and don’t know how to type the characters into my phone, either, so I had to rely on Google Translate’s picture recognition function to see what the Chinese bits meant πŸ˜…

Like, apparently, the end of this note on p. 92 says something along the lines of “Please take me to the official meeting room on the deck,” but how do I know for sure? Google Translate isn’t always the most trustworthy… So yeah, if any of you happen to speak Chinese and would like to give me a proper translation, go right ahead! πŸ™ƒ

And then, as if I wasn’t already excited enough about all the real languages in this book, we also got alien first contact!! Oh my gosh, guys! It was so cool! If you know me at all, you’ll know that made-up languages that actually have a real grammatical structure are one of my absolute favorite things to come across in books or movies and TV shows. Both seeing Rocky learn English and Ryland learn Eridian was so cool! Especially the Eridian! I really think I should probably learn a language where pitch plays a major role eventually, seeing how obsessed I was with this one…

(Although I do wish there had been bar lines in the book so that we could also have gotten to see the exact pitch of the notes! And I wanted those chords! Why couldn’t someone have made a special font to accommodate that, huh? 😀)

Oh yeah, and before I forget in all my excitement about math and languages, I suppose the plot was pretty epic, too 😁 I mean, the sun in danger? Two planets in danger of dying out? The stakes are astronomical, the odds incredibly high. And yet, somehow, things work out because countries, different planets even, are able to come together to save one another. Ryland giving up a life on Earth to save the Eridians almost had me tearing up a little. If anything, Andy Weir’s stories are always so hopeful. If we work together, they tell us, we can achieve the impossible. If we encounter one another with trust and not fear, we can have some of the most beautiful friendships imaginable. Because that’s what Project Hail Mary really is. It’s a story about how two wacky scientists from different planets became friends while trying to save their home worlds from destruction. And who wouldn’t want to read about wacky scientist friends?


Anyway, I’ll leave it at that for now… But if any of you want to talk to me about Project Hail Mary in the comments, I won’t promise that there won’t be any more gushing 😁 This book was just so good, you guys! πŸ₯°

(Oh, and also: In case any of you are wondering where I’ve been all week, don’t worry πŸ˜… I currently have loads of exams to grade and loads of thesis to work on, so this semi-presentness will probably last a while… πŸ™ˆ It’s not you, I promise!)

64 thoughts on “Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

    • abookowlscorner says:

      It IS fun! I had such a blast reading it, and the nerdy beginning was already the best thing ever! πŸ€— So yeah, if you think that sounded cool, I highly recommend giving the whole book a try 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m so happy you loved The Martian – it’s one of my favorite books! πŸ₯° But yeah, Project Hail Mary certainly gives The Martian a run for its money, so I fully agree that you should read it 😁 I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Definitely Moi says:

    Haha, the opening lines are the best πŸ˜‚πŸ‘πŸ‘

    I couldn’t read much of the review because of spoilers, but I’m sure that the book is amazing, consisering you gushed about it for almost 15 paragraphs πŸ˜‚. I must give this a read soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nehal Jain says:

    Once again, I had to skim read the review coz of the spoilers, but that excerpt at the beginning does look like something….I am not sure though that I like books centred around Maths, hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rabeeah says:

    Despite the ❌ maths ❌ I really enjoyed your review of this and it looks super interesting! Will definitely have to give it a chance, although I still haven’t read The Martian yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      But… the math was one of the best parts πŸ˜₯ Why is my beloved subject getting so much hate? 😭
      But I’m glad you still think it sounds interesting, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it! And on The Martian as well, to be honest 😊 All of Andy Weir’s books are well worth reading!

      Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          I definitely think so πŸ˜„ I’d say The Martian is a tad funnier than the others, but I still found myself smirking a lot while reading this one! 😊 Although I did think the math jokes were the most hilarious ones, so I’m not sure how much you should trust my judgment πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚

          Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m glad the book caught your interest – my new mission in life is to get as many people as possible to read it πŸ˜πŸ˜‚ And I think there’s plenty in here for people to enjoy even if they aren’t as math-obsessed as I am! I’ve been told “normal” people just skim over all those amazing sciency details πŸ˜ͺ
      And lol, WolframAlpha is a life-saver! I still use it for quick calculations because it is just so easygoing as far as input is concerned – you can get away with anything and it miraculously understands you 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Line says:

    I understood very little of your introduction to this post, confirming that math is actually a foreign language and that must be why you love it so much πŸ˜‰
    I had heard about that criticism of Andy Weir about his characters being the exact same, so The Martian is probably a one-and-done thing for me concerning Andy Weir. However, I’m really happy that you liked this one so much! I would have been concerned had it beat The Betrayals but second place is pretty amazing considering all the books you’ve loved this year 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Apparently I traumatized quite a few people with this introduction, but I obviously wouldn’t change a thing about it πŸ˜‡ I need to use every opportunity I can get to convert people into fellow math lovers! In a way, I guess it is kind of like a language; it has so much logical structure! And as an added bonus, it’s very international πŸ˜‰

      I also see where you’re coming from as far as the character variation is concerned. It didn’t bother me in this one, but I found it very jarring in Artemis πŸ˜… So I can see why you would want to stick to The Martian. Even though it breaks my heart to know you might never meet Rocky (The best character Andy Weir has ever come up with!) or learn about all the stuff that gets lost in intergalactic translation…

      But yes, I’m very thrilled with this reading year! I honestly don’t think I’ve had one this great since starting university πŸ˜…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line says:

        I actually used to love math because of that logicalness and it was probably the subject I was best at when I was younger. Do I win some points for that? πŸ˜‰ I just didn’t take it at university level so every time you speak math it’s gibberish to me πŸ˜…

        And things getting lost in intergalactic translation does sound like something I should take a closer look at πŸ˜„ I didn’t read your spoiler section, so maybe I’ll find an interest in it one day.

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          You definitely win some points for that πŸ˜‚ And I’m also thrilled to hear you didn’t read the spoiler section because that means there’s still hope! After all, thanks to A Court of Silver Flames, I know that you have no qualms about being spoiled for books you (quite sanely, may I add) have absolutely no interest in, so that must mean you never wrote this one off completely 😁 And it has so many wonderful language moments! 😊

          Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I know, right?! These people don’t know what they’re missing out on by writing math off like that! πŸ˜ͺ But if you loved those lines and love math, I really think you’ll love this book, too! πŸ€— I’ll be eagerly anticipating your thoughts if you do decide to pick it up πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Yay, success! πŸ€— I did like Artemis, but also found it kind of disappointing after The Martian. I just couldn’t get over the fact that the protagonist was basically Mark Watney in a female body, and all her comments about other women’s boobs seriously weirded me out πŸ˜… But Project Hail Mary is way better, in my opinion, and I really think anyone who loved The Martian will probably love this one, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lesserleaf says:

    It sounds really good. I didn’t read the spoilery part of your post since I do think I may want to pick it up. Thanks for pointing it out to us πŸ™‚
    I’ve not read The Martian, but I liked the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Gosh, having to wait for over three months sounds absolutely torturous! I’m not sure I would have had enough self-control to not just buy a copy eventually πŸ˜… But I definitely think your wait will be worth it because this book is absolutely amazing! You’re going to love how much nerdy science stuff is in here 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Emily @frappesandfiction says:

        I’m hoping my library acquires more copies/people ahead of me return it early so I can get it by the end of the month which in my experience sometimes happens– I would have just bought it a while ago but I don’t like spending so much money on hardcover books. I read the teaser chapters and I can already tell I’m going to love it based on the fact that I laughed multiple times and there was physics, lots of physics

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you then! I’m also very selective on what I spend money on, but when I saw that our small local bookstore, which only ever has a handful of English books anyway, had a paperback edition, I just couldn’t resist πŸ˜‚ It was still pretty expensive, but since I know I’ll be rereading it time and time again, I’d say it was a very good investment 😁

          Like

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad you loved Project Hail Mary, too; fellow sci-fi fans are always welcome! 😊 The Betrayals is a very different type of book, though – it’s probably not for everybody, since it is rather slow and lets you piece together a lot on your own… But I thought it was brilliant! πŸ₯° I really hope you like it if you do end up reading it!

      Like

  6. Tomas S says:

    So I just finished listening to the audiobook and „boy I loved that book“. Loved the whole plot of remembering, thus the flashbacks are not annoying and bringing the whole new information to the story. Awesome book, great narration.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lifeongrowing says:

    I just finished this book and LOVED it so much!! I came across your review while googling what I could possibly read next that will bring me this much joy 😍 Any suggestions?? Doesn’t have to be sci-fi or similar story, I just loved the characters and the writing style so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      First off – I’m thrilled you also loved Project Hail Mary!!!! Though, obviously, I would have been surprised if you hadn’t, given how absolutely awesome it is πŸ₯°

      As to reading suggestions, that’s much harder πŸ˜… Andy Weir has such a unique style that it’s very difficult to find anything quite like his books… So obviously, if you haven’t already read his other works, I’d highly recommend The Martian, which is very similar in style. However, if you have already read The Martian and would nonetheless like to stay in the fast-paced sci-fi genre, maybe you’d enjoy Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae Files, Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward, or something by Michael Crichton (Micro and Jurassic Park are my favorites). Or, if you’re going for the humorous angle and want to dwelve into a contemporary, you might like Carl Hiaasen’s Chomp, which is similarly wacky. Or, if you want the feel-good character relationships, The Penderwicks series is one of my personal favorites 🀩 Generally, if I like a book a lot, it usually has to do with the characters, so if you’d like, you could also browse my blog and see if any of my own favorites interest you – I just posted a list of my top books of 2021, for example.

      Anyway, sorry I can’t be more helpful – recommending books when you don’t know other people’s reading tastes is always a bit hard… πŸ˜… But hopefully, at least one of these sparked your interest! And if you find a book similar to Project Hail Mary, make sure to let me know!

      Like

  8. Line says:

    It took me a year but I’m back! And now that I’ve read your spoiler section, I’m almost afraid to tell you my thoughts 😬 Not that I hated it (well at least not all of it), but I only gave it 3.5 stars and I’d say my overall judgment of this book is that it’s… fine.

    The thing about Andy Weir’s very similar characters bugged me a lot in the beginning. Like, when Ryland couldn’t remember his name, I was so ready to tell him his name was Mark Watney because they’re the same character πŸ˜… Then I also found it extremely convenient and annoying that Weir used the trope of “character has amnesia but remembers stuff right as he needs to”. I know he tried to claim there was some scientific explanation but I call bullshit. However, I can look past those things. They weren’t a big deal.
    What I can’t ignore, though, is the ending. For a book with such high stakes and constant talk about self-sacrifice, Ryland should have died. That was the only outcome I would accept after he had declared himself dead about seven times. It felt so cheap every time, like Weir was just doing it to get emotional (which he is terrible at writing btw) but when I felt that it wasn’t 100% certain that he would die it came off as overdramatic. And him staying on Erid?!? Are we just going to ignore that humans need human touch to stay sane? He should have been a wreck after 16 years but it’s made out like he’s living in some sort of paradise just because he’s teaching and has a friend. And of course Earth is saved. That ending was a little too perfect for my taste.

    But yeah, everything else about the book was fine. I understand how you’d love Rocky so much even if I wasn’t equally excited about him. I also wasn’t excited about Ryland but I think that’s me not vibing with the way Weir writes his characters and how we don’t go as deep as I would like. I didn’t notice it in The Martian because of the diary entries I think, but in this it was just very obvious.

    Liked by 1 person

      • abookowlscorner says:

        I am proud to say I figured this out before even reading your comment 🀣

        But why is WordPress doing this to me?!?! 😫 WHHHHYYYYY?!!? It’s been glitching all day and already made me super furious by deleting everything I added to my Fitz and the Fool posts today 😑😀😑 Thinking I was being a genius, I voice-recorded my comments this time around so that I wouldn’t take forever taking notes, but I have since figured out that that’s an absolute pain, too, because 1) transcribing them takes forever, and 2) I have to listen to my own voice! And now I have to do it all over again just because of some stupid glitch! 😀

        So basically – I have no idea what went wrong here, but I blame WordPress! 🀣

        Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Well, honestly – I already figured you probably wouldn’t like the ending πŸ˜‚ And your other criticisms are very valid as well, so no harm done!

      It’s just, none of that stuff bothered me. I already had my big moment of getting mad at Andy Weir for always writing the same kind of protagonist when reading Artemis – and I’ll admit, it really bothered me there because imagine Mark Watney in a female body 😬 – so I guess by the time I got to this, I already had that out of my system and was able to ignore it very successfully! And yeah, the amnesia details were horribly convenient, but I was just so invested in the math and language and first contact stuff that I gobbled up that explanation, no matter how stupid it was! 🀣

      I disagree about the ending, though. I also would’ve been fine with Ryland dying, but I loved the cheesy, hopeful variant, too. I felt like the whole book was trying to point out what a great world we could live in if people just got along and worked side-by-side in spite of their differences, and the ending only went on to emphasize that. Normally, I probably also wouldn’t be a fan, but something about it just felt so uplifting! Though I guess you can blame that on me reading it while panicking about finishing my thesis in the midst of a global pandemic that showed all too clearly how little global solidarity there really was… Maybe I just needed some happy math stuff! πŸ₯°

      I do get where you’re coming from, though! And I’m glad you at least thought it was “fine” 🀣 I can work with that! (Did you at least enjoy the language and communication stuff, though? πŸ™ƒ)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Line @First Line Reader says:

    I’ve found your comment and was able to answer as myself! πŸ˜… For my first comment, WordPress kept blocking the login button with a text box that told me I needed to login to comment. Well I was trying!! Today, the box was still there but had moved a little to the left so half the button was free πŸ˜‚ WordPress is clearly on drugs or something. But I must say I admire your commitment to making those commentary posts. Not only for recreating it but also because you had to listen to your own voice to do it πŸ˜„

    And I’m definitely never reading Artemis because female Mark Watney sounds absolutely horrifying!

    And I think what you said about the ending is exactly why such endings don’t work for me. That thing about showing what a great world we could have IF we worked together and put aside our differences. Well, we clearly don’t do that on a grand scale such as this so for me the book doesn’t feel based in reality but rather a “wouldn’t it be great if the world was like this?” and I don’t see much point in reading about that.

    As for the language stuff, well, I enjoyed what we got but I don’t think we got all that much? I mean, I think Weir skipped rather lightly over them learning each other languages and he definitely skipped some of the more difficult words for them to learn. I must admit, I completely lost track of how much time passed in the book but I also felt Ryland understood Rocky very fast. He didn’t need to use that computer for long and that felt rather unrealistic. If we were talking about similar languages, I would understand but these basically couldn’t be more different and Rocky’s language is unlike anything Ryland would have encountered on Earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Drugs is as good of a guess as any… 🀣 As far as I know, you don’t even need to log in to comment – I’ve had quite a bit of fun in the past trying to attribute authorless comments to people – but maybe WordPress decided that needed changing? πŸ€” Anyway, I’m glad you managed it in the end!

      And I think for me, those utopian futures are very dependent on their execution. If I think they’re completely outside the realm of possibilities, I won’t like them either, but in this case, I still found it to be believable. Like, who knows what could happen in the future? I think it’s nice to see different alternatives, particularly since the ones where humans ruin everything due to their own stupidity are in almost every futuristic book anyway…

      I kind of agree with you on the language stuff, though. While I felt that there was a lot of it and loved exploring how they were able to understand each other better in a step by step process, I also thought the timing was unrealistically fast. Especially since Ryland apparently had no musical background whatsoever – like, I would consider myself pretty musical, but, for the life of me, I cannot tell you which notes are in a chord just from listening. I could say something along the lines of “this is a major seventh chord”, but I could not tell you the key! So Ryland going from clueless to developing super-human perfect pitch within the span of a few weeks might actually be what I found to be the most unbelievable thing about the entire book πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚ Still, I loved it!! The mechanics of HOW the learning process worked were all there and super interesting, watching Ryland get better was so satisfying, and all of the miscommunication issues that came up were fascinating! πŸ₯° And then there were all the human language snippets! Those were so cool that I’m fine with attributing any unrealistic learning speeds to Ryland’s apparently vastly superior intelligence 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line @First Line Reader says:

        Usually I’m also just automatically logged in but in the last couple of months, I’ve had to do it myself whenever I wanted to comment somewhere, even if I was logged into WordPress in another tab. I mean, I only have to click the WordPress icon and that’s it but I need to be able to see it!

        I also think parts of this book are believable. How Earth managed to even build the Hail Mary and get it going could have seen a lot of issues with humans being stupid and selfish. I think that part still showed how difficult it was and how many rules they had to break to get to that point so that even if the result was perfect, I still felt it was realistic. But I think the ending diverged from that by coming about rather easily. I don’t find it realistic that Ryland is just happy to live on an alien planet and considers not even going home.

        And I’m glad your musical expertise can confirm that Ryland understanding Rocky just like that was unbelievable! 😁 But yeah, I still think I found the language and miscommunication issues pretty simple and they solved everything rather quickly as well. So while the issues I had with the book were rather small (except for the ending), I didn’t really have anything to excuse them with like your enthusiasm for all the science πŸ˜„

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          My enthusiasm for science definitely excused a lot πŸ˜‚ (Well, that and the fact that first contact stories are kind of my science fiction thing – I can never get enough of them! πŸ₯°) Although I also think Ryland could be happy on a different planet. After all, it’s not like he is alone there; he still has the Erideans as his community. Maybe, if you never had any ambitions of starting a family of your own, that would be enough and not too different from moving to a different country with a different culture? Though yes, I’d still expect Ryland to at least think about going home and maybe starting proper Earth-Erid relations…

          Liked by 1 person

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