I loved The Martian. Weir’s way of writing characters, especially their dialogue, has such an effortless humor and familiarity about it; it’s almost too relatable, but relatable to my internal mental dialogue, like a stream of consciousness in short spoken form.
Project Hail Mary has all the same ingredients that made The Martian great: the humor, the urgency, the drama of isolation, the excitement of problem-solving and ingenuity. But Project Hail Mary differs from The Martian in a lot of ways, too: it’s much more far-fetched in premise, closer to a far-future Neal Stephenson story than the near-future realism of The Martian. It’s also got aspects of The Three-Body Problem and Children of Time, which all serve to keep the book fresh.
Overall, I think Weir is trying to not be too much of a one-trick pony, but he’s risking losing the magic of that one trick. A good, fast read, but nothing exceptional.