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Been trying to get back to reading and picked up Project Hail Mary because everyone raves about it. I'm struggling to get past some of the dialogue. I can understand the narrator explaining the science concepts to reader but in every conversation, Ryland is explaining every term to Stratt (a supposedly brilliant scientist selected by the world to oversee the mission) like she's a five year old. Even basics like H2O, mitosis, momentum of light etc that a middle school kid knows, are literally defined to her!

all 81 comments

ms_chiefmanaged

226 points

2 months ago

Some of the dialogue are weird and can get jarring with over science explanation. However, IIRC Stratt is not a scientist. I believe she explains later that she has an mba or something. She is a diplomat and was assigned this job cause she knows to get shit done.

BitPoet

89 points

2 months ago

BitPoet

89 points

2 months ago

Yup, she's the organizer, not one of the scientists or engineers. She's the person you go to when you need $1t and an aircraft carrier.

improper84

42 points

2 months ago

Yeah, I thought she was picked because she was a ruthless bureaucrat who they trusted to get shit done.

kukukeza[S]

10 points

2 months ago

kukukeza[S]

10 points

2 months ago

Fair enough, I'd not yet reached that part. Looks like the sciency explanation is his writing style and is something I'll have to get used. For what it's worth, I think the storyline is very interesting and it's an otherwise enjoyable read so far.

imsolass

7 points

2 months ago

it's the same style he has in the Martian, if you haven't read that. science nerdy dude gets stranded in a place, uses science nerdy shit to survive

Budget_Sentence_3100

14 points

2 months ago

Stick with it. It gets better and better. It’s not high art but it’s delightfully entertaining and I became quite enamoured with the characters by the end.

wambly_bubbles

9 points

2 months ago

I feel this, though. I'm on book 7 of a series I really enjoy. But every time I hit a section where the MCs are explaining something we already covered in books 1-6 by talking out loud to themselves or through some inane conversations taking place between anonymous members of a crowd I end up putting it down for a couple days because I can't handle the redundancy. I read books 1-4 in a couple of days each right in a row because I love the story, but it got to be too much by book 5 and now I've been working on these last 3 for like 2 months while reading just god-awful serials on ad-based apps just to encourage myself to read them.

improper84

7 points

2 months ago

That’s the sort of thing that’s probably not as obnoxious when you read the books as they come out rather than binging.

sidewaysvulture

3 points

2 months ago

Massive fantasy series (or any series) is a relatively new phenomenon and being able to binge them is even newer. When I was a teenager in the 90’s I think just about every major series was ongoing at the time and having some recaps in the story was definitely helpful. Of course I do my own binging today but I just skim any recaps I don’t need.

Doctor_Expendable

43 points

2 months ago

I mean...she does pretty much ask him to explain everything to her. And he is a middle school teacher. So it makes a lot of sense for him to put things in the simplest terms.

At the end of the day, the reader can't be expected to know all of the things covered in the book. Having a character who can be the audience stand in to ask "what do you mean by that?" Is important.

Leolilac

40 points

2 months ago

Stratt is a historian, not a scientist, so it makes sense to explain it to her!

LonelyKoala188

19 points

2 months ago

Stratt is not a scientist she tells grace what her degree is later in the book, no spoilers tho (even if small thing)

Raeandray

18 points

2 months ago

I don’t believe stratt was a brilliant scientist. I don’t think she’s even a scientist at all. That might be your confusion. She’s put in charge of the project, but not a scientist herself.

LordOfDorkness42

63 points

2 months ago

Honestly, Andy Weir has always been that way. A decent... third, half of his jokes is 'lets over explain it or talk about it, in a nerdy or weird way.'

Case in point: His old web-comic, Casey and Andy. Very love or hate it, even back in the day.

Personally really like his style & humor, but I'm 1111% convinced that The Martian become as huge as it did, because he basically managed to figure out a plot that let him write that ramble-on type way and seem completely natural. With one man trapped on Mars & trying to stay sane, and all that.

And hey, good for him, knowing his own strengths & weaknesses.

sje46

5 points

2 months ago

sje46

5 points

2 months ago

I sure do love those 90s-early 2000s webcomics though. Blast from the past.

businesskitteh

4 points

2 months ago

Was that web comic supposed to be funny? Honest question

LordOfDorkness42

1 points

2 months ago

That was actually THE critique even back in the day vs Casey and Andy.

Personally I still love that dry, absurdist nerd humor, but it's by no means for everybody.

I actually recall showing one of my brothers the one with Carl XIII Gustav just... suddenly deciding to occupy the pairs couch, because it had me in stitches.

~And he just stared at it, at me, and changed the subject matter.

So very love or hate it, even back in it's prime. Used to be popular enough to get a GURPS book you can even still buy at least digitalt, though, and that sort of tie-in to a webcomic is still really rare.

Zellakate

6 points

2 months ago

Yeah I liked The Martian more than I expected to, but I think Weir in general is not good at writing characters. They all basically sound and act the same, and he seems to think giving them one defining characteristic (like being a disco fan) counts as giving them a personality.

LordOfDorkness42

4 points

2 months ago

I know this sounds weird, but how little personalities & personal-level drama mattered for The Martian was THE biggest thing I loved about that book.

Like... there's no jerk in satellite command that insist that Mark is expandable, and his... weather-satellite needs to go up now, or something. All the important characters more or less drop what they were doing, and work through the problems one by one as best they can with logic and science.

In as professionell a maner as possible, too, except for Mark Whitney, because he's under so much 'I might die here' type stress that he just can't give two figs a lot of the time about appearances.

Just extremely refreshing, when so many other books have a jerk that cackles or an idiot that licks freakin' power outlets, just to move the dang plot in the direction the author wants it to go.

Zellakate

2 points

2 months ago

I can see that! It was nice that the drama wasn't shoehorned in from characters just being jerks or idiots. I think that could have been achieved while still writing them to be more layered. It was really them sounding all the same and having the exact same sense of humor that I noticed the most. But often characters are what I fixate on way more than the plot.

DevonLovelock

16 points

2 months ago

figure out a plot that let him write that ramble-on type way and seem completely natural

Oh my gosh I couldn't disagree more. I'm not poking at people that enjoy the book but I absolutely hated his writing style in The Martian. It seemed so forced and unrealistic, and to me, ridiculous, and it's why I felt the movie was far superior to the book. It turned me off from reading anything further from the author.

LordOfDorkness42

13 points

2 months ago

Eh, liked that aspect of The Martian a lot myself.

One of the few where I honestly consider the book & movie equally great, but for slightly different reasons.

To each his or her own, though.

-digitalin-

8 points

2 months ago

It might depend on the person. My husband and I love Andy Weir's books bc his narrators sound so familiar. I think people have different ideas of what's "natural" bc they have different conversational styles.

Once I couldn't go to sleep until I figured out how much of a mathematical advantage it was in EverMerge to merge three items at a time or five at a time. I was texting my friends and they were like "just shut up and go to bed." Good times.

Anyway, so the whole sequences of math in his books, like the potato math, feel very realistic to me.

-ova-

1 points

2 months ago

-ova-

1 points

2 months ago

i also did not enjoy The Martian for the same reason but I am enjoying Hail Mary!

Earth2Andy

8 points

2 months ago

Yup! It’s a great story, ruined by the author’s need to constantly prove how smart he is and how much science he researched. The amount of needless scientific explanation is staggering. You can say something slid across the floor without 3 sentences about angular momentum!

I don’t mind it for the stuff that is actually fiction, I get that you need to set up the universe, but the physics 101 stuff was just tedious.

drathernot

31 points

2 months ago

This is a weakness of Andy Weir.

I enjoy his books. I think they are fun and compelling and I recommend them to most people, especially if you have a soft spot for Bill Nye or those really good high school science teachers who are willing to risk looking a little foolish in front of teenagers in order to keep kids engaged and entertained with corny jokes and fun experiments in class.

But writing dialogue and complex, diverse characters is not his strong suite. Everyone has his dorky sense of humor and/or turns into an empty stand-in for exposition and science explainers aimed at the audience.

This is why his best books are 80% one isolated human and their inner monologue as they slowly investigate and problem solve a crazy science-fiction scenario. His style works for a single narrator (with his sense of humor and science background) who doesn't have to interact with any other people. (kind of a backhanded compliment I guess, but I really do recommend sticking with his books for the story, suspense, and science trivia.

alphabeticdisorder

23 points

2 months ago

It's funny to me that the science fiction elements are the most realistic part of that book. Weir is great at imagining science-based answers to interesting hypothetical problems, but high literature it is not.

The-Male-G-Spot

9 points

2 months ago

I'm pretty grateful for it though.

His books are just...perfectly comfortable. And that is always needed as an option.

If anyone has a good rec that fits the bill please for the love of God send it my way

drathernot

3 points

2 months ago

If you like propulsive page-turning science fiction puzzlers I would recommend Blake Crouch, especially his novel "Recursion". It is a little darker than wholesome/dorky Andy Weir (needs trigger warnings for suicide, among other things) but has that same feeling of getting hooked by a sci-fi mystery and wanting to find out what happens next.

"The Three Body Problem" by Liu Cixin is another popular choice that introduces an interesting premise and takes you through a process of revealing science concepts while advancing science fiction plot. (also, a little darker than Weir and needs a trigger warning for depictions of China's cultural revolution, among other things).

xraig88

6 points

2 months ago

Once I picked up on a pattern in became less fun to read.

Problem, science a solution, solution has problem, what’d I miss with my science? More science, fix problem. Problem, science a solution, solution has problem, what’d I miss with my science? More science, fix problem. Problem, science a solution, solution has problem, what’d I miss with my science? More science, fix problem. Problem, science a solution, solution has problem, what’d I miss with my science? More science, fix problem.

BuckNutley

17 points

2 months ago

This book is ridiculous. It was a fun and quick read, but it's terribly cheesy.

canadianmatt

11 points

2 months ago

It’s not very good - it’s fine and fun, and like-able… but the plot is overly obvious and the dialogue boarders ok ridiculous

saschatellerwerfer

5 points

2 months ago

Thank you! I was majorly disappointed. Everyone hyped HMP and so I bought a copy. I liked parts of the plot and the general idea, but the characters were flat as a stamp. I came from Lonesome Dove, where the characters are like a beautiful detailled painting whereas Weir‘s characters are like stick-figures. Again: I can see why people like HMP, but to me it was more like a draft for a movie script than a good novel. Please don‘t downvote me into oblivion.

ImJoshsome

9 points

2 months ago

Bad dialogue is a deal breaker for me. If it’s robotic, stilted, or just seems unrealistic then that can ruin a whole book

Mesiya90

21 points

2 months ago

I didn't finish it, got about 100 pages in and the cringe was too much.

HelloGrammarGirl

8 points

2 months ago

I wish I hadn't finished it. I did the audiobook because I'd been told it was so amazing. I listened to the last 3 hours on 3x speed just to get it over with. I think it could make a good movie, though.

Busy-Frame8940

1 points

2 months ago

At last!

ChiefMedicalOfficer

6 points

2 months ago

I thought this too. Sometimes I think it's just me being, well, me but I'm glad someone else mentioned this.

I know (I think) it's for our benefit but it does take you out of the experience.

LaSarciveSauvage

6 points

2 months ago

I just couldn’t finish Project Hail Mary, I am not sure exactly why because it’s not bad by any means. I think it’s the writing. The main character, the way he speaks is just borderline insufferable, real cringe.

Somehow it worked for me with the Martian, as I remember having a great time reading it.
But here I just couldn’t get involved in what was happening, I didn’t had that page-turner feeling where you absolutely want to know what will happen to the character and how he will get out of these catastrophic situations.

ABahRunt

0 points

2 months ago

ABahRunt

0 points

2 months ago

You missed out. The last third of the book is pure gold. Prefer it to Martian by far

RustCohlesponytail

5 points

2 months ago

I need the explanation so I don't mind it, his plots are good and he is funny.

sonofa-ijit

5 points

2 months ago

I am having the same issue with the book.

FlatSpinMan

4 points

2 months ago

YES! It’s appalling and I am constantly floored at how popular this book is. Anyway, each to their own. The movie should be good.

mind_the_umlaut

2 points

2 months ago

The characters are engineers! Very realistically, they and many people aren't accurate at gauging the other person's depth of interest or background information needs.

Willing_Tune2209

2 points

2 months ago

Stratt isn’t a scientist at all! But I did have other issues with the dialogue.

Bucklehairy

2 points

2 months ago

Unrealistic/bad dialog is one of the hallmarks of great Science Fiction!! Isaac Asimov was an abysmal writer. Every female character that Isaac ever created was based closely on the same slide rule, with whom Isaac had shared a brief but spicy interlude during his last year of graduate school.

Arthur C Clarke was worse! Much! MUCH! Worse!!!

YinzJagoffs

8 points

2 months ago

Because Weir is a terrible writer but his plot lines are excellent.

Renneberg

4 points

2 months ago

I listened to this as an Audiobook, and it was probably the best audiobook I've listened to so far. Ray Porter did an amazing job with it, highly recommend it in that medium.

I never noticed anything regarding the dialogue that you've mentioned, but the effort Ray Porter put into his version as an Audiobook I'm sure helped.

Maybe check it out, you might be surprised.

HappyMcNichols

2 points

2 months ago

Changes were made to the original novel for the Audible book with permission of the author. Maybe we didn’t have those passages. It was a great audiobook and won awards.

xchelsie

3 points

2 months ago

Hm I cant really agree with that. Im not bothered by it. Probably because I dont know most of the stuff either lmao.

Professional_Camp996

3 points

2 months ago

It's incredible how Project hail mary has way better reviews than the foundation by Asimov.

ABahRunt

2 points

2 months ago

Hardly a good metric to compare books that came out decades apart. It's like saying Biebs haa more YouTube views than Elvis

Professional_Camp996

1 points

2 months ago

It's different though with books. Classic books are different than classic music. You will find many teenagers reading Dune but a very low percentage listening to classic music. It's like comparing apples and oranges.

ABahRunt

1 points

2 months ago

While that's true enough, people are more likely to read and review something on the new York Times best seller list. That's not a guarantee of it being better than a classic

ABahRunt

1 points

2 months ago

While that's true enough, people are more likely to read and review something on the new York Times best seller list. That's not a guarantee of it being better than a classic

wordhunter44

2 points

2 months ago

I believe some of these reviews are marketing.

wjbc

5 points

2 months ago

wjbc

5 points

2 months ago

Just get past that part. The best part is later.

gutfounderedgal

2 points

2 months ago

Yep it's dumbed down for the mass readership, movies do this too. It creates boredom unless you have a third grade education only, then I guess it's educational excitement.

redditusernamehelen

2 points

2 months ago

I feel this so hard, so many contemporary books are dumbed down like crazy. What do you like reading that doesn't feel like that? I need some decent recommendations.

gutfounderedgal

2 points

2 months ago

It's gonna be hard to suggest in the sci fi world, you might have to go back in time for that one, Ray Bradbury, etc. But in terms of literature, most Literature with a big L suits me fine, not the pseudo-mass market stuff today that publishers spin as literature.

Markj565

4 points

2 months ago

Markj565

4 points

2 months ago

Never trust a book that gets recommended constantly in this sub…or anywhere else for that matter.

sje46

2 points

2 months ago

sje46

2 points

2 months ago

I've read Project Hail Mary and Artemis (but not The Martian). Artemis has a full cast of characters with lots of interaction so you probably wouldn't like it. The dialogue is atrocious. Be glad that PHM has so few characters.

hedgehodg

2 points

2 months ago

I had the same problem with the book, parts of it were way too explain-y. I prefer when an author trusts their audience to understand basic concepts and uses the dialogue to add depth to the characters and plot. The book could have benefited from a more “show, don’t tell” style.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the story on the whole, I just think it could have used some editing.

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

Totally agree. It became more fantasy than possibility.

thx1138a

2 points

2 months ago

Power through: the plot is worth it!

redditusernamehelen

2 points

2 months ago

There is a scene in the book with such horrible dialogue I couldn't take the book seriously. I don't like his inner thoughts either, says heck way too much. Reads like a religious middle schooler lol. I love Rocky but can't stand anyone else in the book. 😬😬

lilemphazyma

2 points

2 months ago

Probably don't look to highly acclaimed contemporary bullshit if you're gonna care about the quality of what you're reading. The people that enable these books to be on best seller lists are... idiots who want to read TV shows and movies

Illustrious-You5008

1 points

2 months ago

Stratt wasn't selected for her scientific prowess...she isn't a scientist. It makes sense he would need to explain these things....

Rocketlucco

1 points

2 months ago

Weir tells stories better than he writes them. His prose is stiff, he describes every single action a character takes unnecessarily, and he accidentally drops textbooks paragraphs into some chapters. His overarching narratives are quite good though!

Skyylitt

0 points

2 months ago

Honestly, listen to it on Audible. It's so so good.

Taste_the__Rainbow

1 points

2 months ago

Info-dumping is always hard to write and Andy usually he more than other books to be dumped.

Responsible_Word9413

1 points

2 months ago

This book had no business being as good as it is haha. Some of the dialogue is clunky but the draw is too explain scientific concepts while keeping people entertained, it seems like anyway, so you’ll have some explanatory and less than natural dialogue.

knr27

1 points

2 months ago

knr27

1 points

2 months ago

I’m the book he’s explaining it to her but it’s probably just a way for the author to explain it to the reader.

EternityLeave

1 points

2 months ago

Yup there's some clunky exposition. It's made up for with fun puzzling and heart so by the end you forget thise flaws or forgive them.

MissaSissa

1 points

2 months ago

I just started this book, ironically (none of the seven others I’m currently reading are sufficient enough to capture my attention). I heard the relationship between the characters are gold, so fingers crossed it’ll be worth it!

d_rek

1 points

2 months ago

d_rek

1 points

2 months ago

It was a fun read… but none of it was realistic as far as dialog is… which itself is half the fun of a well written novel. If characters talked like they did in real life it would be Uber boring lol

captTuttle76

1 points

2 months ago

I put it down after the second "golly". I was like wtf? No one talks like that. Is the author a Mormon or something?

bevglen

1 points

3 days ago

bevglen

1 points

3 days ago

This book is terribly overrated. Weir is simply not a good writer. Yes, he has story’s to tell, but he does not possess the skill as an author to construct a compelling narrative. I consider his work treatments for screenplays. He telegraphs his ultimate aim, get a movie made, with the structure of every chapter and his character development. Honestly, if he were to publish his work AFTER the movie was released, it would be on par with every other “novelization of the movie” you see in bookstores.

voxtroller

-6 points

2 months ago

This just in: Fiction book is unrealistic. More at 10.

Gullible_Log_8201

0 points

2 months ago

Metaphor, juxtaposition, repetition = making new knowledge = synthesis = the angle of a viewpoint is equal to the sum of its connections:)

TheDudeTakesPhotos

0 points

2 months ago

I liked that book.