Most known for the best-selling book The Martian, Andy Weir announced a new sci-fi thriller this year. Project Hail Mary, released on May 4, 2021, marks his third published sci-fi work. You've probably seen the movie adaptation of The Martian, starring Matt Damon, or at least heard of it. Many book enthusiasts were excited to read Weir's follow-up novels after the wild success of his debut novel and blockbuster movie. Here is the ranking of his first three released books and whether or not you should add them to your to-be-read list.
The #1 Spot
Andy Weir's best work by far is The Martian. Main character Mark Watney is a foul-mouthed, yet humorous astronaut stranded on Mars. The book is full of actual science, potatoes, and of course, suspense. Considering the majority of the plot follows one character, the execution is well done. In the movie adaptation, Matt Damon carries the responsibility of creating an intriguing main character where the stakes matter. The Martian is a must-read for any sci-fi lover. If you have only ever seen the movie, there's still plenty to enjoy about reading the book. The audiobook is narrated by hilarious sci-fi darling Wil Wheaton.
The good news is Project Hail Mary isn't bad. It centers around Ryland Grace, also stranded in space, on a mission to save humanity. Only there's one problem. He has amnesia. Project Hail Mary has the humor and science-backed details fans loved in The Martian. To be frank, the biggest issue – or perk – with the book is how similar it is to Weir's debut novel. Some readers might find the similarities annoying, while others who were big fans of the tone and atmosphere of The Martian might be jumping for joy. If you're one of those fans, you definitely should pick up Project Hail Mary. For everyone else, you can wait for the movie. Yes, the book has been out for less than a month and has already been picked up for an adaptation starring Ryan Gosling as Ryland Grace. Drew Goddard will do the screenplay, who also worked on The Martian.
Don't Even Bother
Artemis, Weir's second published work, will likely go down as a blight on his career. The plot follows smuggler Jasmine "Jazz" Bashara and a band of misfits who attempt a heist on a moon base. Pitched as Ocean's 11 in space, the book is embarrassingly bad. Actress Rosario Dawson narrated the audiobook, and despite voicing the sassy heroine well, even she couldn't carry the cheesy character interactions and messy plot.
Artemis' highly disappointed readers were looking to Project Hail Mary to figure out Andy Weir's writing career trajectory. Was Artemis simply a hiccup? Or was The Martian a one-hit-wonder? Fans asking that question are currently left a bit confused. While Project Hail Mary has been well received, the similarities to his first book are plain to see. And that doesn't necessarily excite readers to keep reading future novels. So for now, the answer is up in the air.
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