Book club questions for Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir will help jump-start the conversation about this space novel. There will be spoilers so for more context about the book, check out my spoiler-free review first.
I so enjoyed Project Hail Mary! I’ve read some duds this year so this was a nice switch. I don’t tend to read much science fiction and I’m glad that I gave The Martian a try a couple years back. I personally like Project Hail Mary better than the The Martian.
Apparently, Hollywood is already working on the movie version with Ryan Gosling—really excited for that!
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the 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. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.
Or does he?
An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could deliver, 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.
Book Club Questions for Project Hail Mary
- There are so many novels and movies about space. What is it about space that fascinates people around the world?
- Did you read The Martian? How did Project Hail Mary compare to it? Which one did you like better?
- We meet Ryland when he wakes up all alone on the spaceship. He’s suffering from select amnesia and is slowly piecing together what happened. Why do you think the author decided to tell the story in this way? How did the slow reveal help build tension?
- We eventually learn that Ryland is a science teacher after he left his career as a molecular biologist. Let’s talk about why Ryland left that field and found solace in teaching.
- Why did Stratt recruit Ryland to help with the task force of finding out what is dimming the sun?
- It is discovered that an organism is absorbing the sun’s energy, which will be devastating to earth and create a new ice age. Ryland nicknames the organism ‘Astrophage’ and discovers that it can reproduce and uses light energy to migrate from Venus to the sun. What did you think about this discovery? Could this organism exist in the real world?
- The entire world comes together to try and solve this huge issue. What did you think about this behind the scenes look at the countries working together?
- While it seems that Ryland is going to be a man alone—big surprise— he encounters an alien creature who is also trying to solve the Astrophage issue. What did you think about the alien appearance?
- Let’s talk about the friendship between Ryland and Rocky. Despite all the differences, in what ways were they similar?
- What did you think about all the science details on solving the Astrophage problem?
- We eventually find out that Ryland didn’t volunteer for the mission—he got forced against his will by Stratt. How did that change how Ryland perceived the mission? Do you think he was a coward like Stratt accused him of or was he simply scared?
- Ryland makes a huge choice in the end—go back to earth or save Rocky and his people. Let’s talk about Ryland’s decision.
- Do you think he will ever go back to earth? In your opinion, what has happened to earth?
- Hollywood is making a movie version of the book with Ryan Gosling playing Ryland. Which scenes do you hope are included in the novel? How do you think the movie version will handle the Rocky character?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for Project Hail Mary! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam is not a light read by any means but it does tackle the ‘end of the world’ concept as well. This book is freaky!!
From the bestselling author of Rich and Pretty comes a suspenseful and provocative novel keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis.
Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.
Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other?
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
A good (and somewhat random) fantasy-type choice is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.