Project Hail Mary

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Author: Andy Weir

Narrator: Ray Porter

Genre: Sci-Fi (Hard)

Barnes and Noble

Look, I don’t want to start this review by saying that I’m angry at Andy Weir and Ray Porter for making me FEEL stuff, but… I’m angry at Andy Weir and Ray Porter for making me feel stuff.

No, not really. I’m super happy with them and their work. Andy Weir did an amazing job writing this story; the entire time from beginning to end I felt like I was right there beside the main protagonist, Rayland Grace, a name with a red squiggly under it no matter how many times I say ignore. Through every step of Rayland’s journey through space to save humanity I felt as though I was present in the situation, standing by his side, experiencing every moment of terror and excitement with him.

The story is an absolute roller coaster of emotions, starting with a good dose of confusion and wonder when Rayland wakes up in a room with no idea of where he is, why he’s there, or… who he is. His questions of self identity and purpose, as well as many other questions, are answered through a series of flashbacks that slowly reveal more and more of how he wound up on a space ship as humanity’s last hope against extinction.

Ray Porter, the narrator, gives one of the best performances of his career narrating the story. As it’s told in first person, Ray is in character for the entirety of the 16 hour run time allowing us, the readers/listeners, to grow intimately close to Rayland. Ray puts such life and emotion into the character that between him and the writing of Andy Weir, Rayland feels real… and I got attached.

I could easily ramble for another few hundred words, so I’m going to cut myself off and leave you with this; Project Hail Mary is the best book I have read in a long time, and I haven’t finished a book so fast since I stayed up all night reading Michael Crichton’s “Sphere.”

Assuming… Assuming you don’t count when things got really emotional and I had to set the book down for a few days. If you don’t count that little break, then yeah, I blew through this book so fast it would have made Astrophage jealous.

This is a book I would definitely recommend to any science fiction fan… or, just anyone who enjoys a really good story.

P.S. I absolutely love Rocky.

Jurassic Dead

My “book club” chose to start the year right by cramming Jurassic Park and Night of the Living Dead into a blender and smashing the Puree button! After we broke our blenders with those old VHS tapes, we picked up Jurassic Dead and made it the first book of 2022.

Written by Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster, Jurassic Dead follows Ecoterrorist Alex Ramirez through a wild adventure. In the beginning, Alex is exploding Russians in Antarctica in the name of Environmental Activism and soon finds himself a survivor of a ZOMBIE ATTACK! But, these aren’t any normal zombies, no, no; these are Human Dinosaur Zombie Hybrid Monsters! Or, HDZHM for short. They’re not even the slow zombies of Sean of the Dead, no these are really fast zombies like 28 Days Later. On top of that, their Dinosaur DNA gives them enhanced strength and endurance!

Oh no!

Alex’ problems only get worse when he gets caught by his dad! Angry Dad gets him out of big trouble with (the science military?) and arranges travel back to civilization. But instead of relaxing on a beach back home, Angry Dad, Alex, and some other characters find themselves on an island inhabited by a seemingly endless horde of HDZHMs… Zombies… I’m just going to call them Zombies.

Oh, also there are giant zombie dinosaurs stomping around, but they’re not really a big threat. They mostly just run around yelling “I’m gunna get ya!” in their screamy dinosaur language, but, much like a wiley coyote, they never get ya. To the best of my recollection, the Zombisaurs only munched one person, and that just isn’t enough! Six people were consumed in Jurassic Park (5 in the movie), and those were just normal, boring dinosaurs, not awesome zombie ones!

In all, the story was fun and campy. It was full of cliches, gross, gory scenes (though oddly, not involving being eaten), and a variety of characters like Scientist 7, and Military Man 4. I’d rate it a solid 3 out of 5; it kept me entertained, but also disappointed me in ways that I can’t really complain about. It told me there would be zombisaurs and I got zombisaurs.

Hopefuly the second book will have more than three Zombie Dinosaurs. With a title like ZEVOLUTION I have really high hopes for something ridiculous, like maybe a Zombisaurnado. Who knows?

Well, I will soon. It’s on the reading list.