Project Hail Mary

Rocky and Ryland by Laney

Quick question to ponder: What happens when our sun starts to dim? And that solar dimming is being caused by material, aptly named Astrophage, literally sucking the life out of it? And it’s happening at such a rate, Earth will find itself in an ice age and all the fun disaster that comes with it in less than two decades? What do we do? We can’t even get people to wear masks during a pandemic so this is a loaded question. But for the purposes of this post the answer is Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir.

Ryland Grace, a molecular biologist/junior high school teacher turned astronaut is our main protagonist. The story swaps from everything leading up to the launch of Project Hail Mary, to Grace’s experiences in a spacecraft charged with finding a solution to the impending disaster by traveling to a solar system unaffected by the Astrophage. Without giving anything else away, he makes amazing discoveries that make this into an adventure worth reading.

My recommendation is to listen to the audiobook. There is a lot of technical “stuff” that can seem overwhelming to understand if science fiction isn’t your thing. And even if it is your thing, voice actor Ray Porter does a great job narrating the confusing or mind numbing portions to help you grasp the science behind a decision made in Project Hail Mary.

I’d also say the reader should be prepared to understand that Ryland Grace is far from what any person could measure up to. He’s a genius, scientist, mechanic, teacher, linguist, and…everything else? His versatility allows the story move forward, but pushes the boundaries of what could be considered realistic. The things Ryland figures out would take a normal, even a genius human being, months or even years to figure out. That said, this was a fun book to get into.

One last thing: Ryland may be our hero, but the real star of the show is Rocky. I’ll say nothing more.

Rating: 4/5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Dream Cast 🍿 🎥 :

Ryan Gosling is already attached to the movie for the role of Ryland Grace. I think he’s a great choice. I also thought Riz Ahmed would be a perfect.

Rocky: Ray Porter was a perfect Rocky

Eva Stratt: Tilda Swinton

Inspired by ‘The Song of Achilles’

It took author Madeline Miller ten years to write The Song of Achilles. And her hard work paid off. Although it was released in 2011, the novel still pops up on the NYT Bestsellers list and it’s 2021. Ten years of work followed by another ten making its mark!

This epic story about the greatest warrior known to man, Achilles, actually comes from the perspective of his devoted partner and companion, exiled prince Patroclus. This is a story of forbidden love, friendship, expectation, and Achilles’ scary ass mom, Thetis, who just so happens to be a sea goddess.

I loved Patroclus. Despite being rejected, he is always kind, always giving, and forever committed to helping others. And that’s what made the ending of this tragic story all the more satisfying. Unlike others, Patroclus appreciates Achilles not just for his ability to fight, but for his companionship, his bluntness, and most notably his musical talent (hence the title).

Greek mythology is hard to tackle. Miller seems to do it with ease. The first book I read by her was Circe, which I absolutely loved and liked more than this. That said, this is very much worth your time.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Dream Cast: 🎥 🍿

Patroclus: Aubrey Joseph

Achilles: Cody Fern

Thetis: Tilda Swinton

Agamemnon: Mads Mikkelsen

South Park Holiday Series

Quick background. love the South Park Christmas album so I’ll be posting teenage versions I made of these hilarious characters (and their parents). Some based on the songs from the soundtrack. This series was so much fun to do! Enjoy.

Inspiration: ‘Whisper’ by Lynette Noni

Jane Doe aka 684 aka The Creator.

Science fiction in Sydney, Australia! Stranger Things crossed with The Fortress crossed with X-Men?

For two and a half years, Subject 684 — “Jane Doe” — has been locked underground in a secret government facility, enduring tests and torture. In that time, she hasn’t uttered a single word. Not even her real name. Jane chooses to remain silent rather than risk losing control over the power within her. She alone knows what havoc her words can cause. Then the authorities put her in the care of the mysterious Landon Ward, and Jane is surprised when he treats her like a person rather than a prisoner. Ward’s protective nature causes her resolve to crack in spite of her best efforts to resist. Just as Jane begins to trust him, though, a freak accident reveals the dangerous power she has concealed for years. It also reveals that the government has been keeping secrets of its own. Now Jane’s ability is at the heart of a sinister plot for vengeance, and she has to decide whom she will trust … and whom she will help.

Inspired by ‘A Million Things’ by Emily Spurr

I’ll be blunt. A Million Things by Emily Spurr will break your heart. But know the following: even as you lie on your kitchen floor shattered and ugly crying into a dish towel after reading this remarkable book, you will be better for it. We all need a reminder that we aren’t alone, even if we are lonely. To know that animals are just like any other family member worthy of respect and care, that parents can hurt and leave us, and that judging neighbors harshly can prevent us from forming the most meaningful of relationships.

I waited for this to come out on Audible because I was hesitant to read it, and knew I’d stop picking it up if I had a hard copy. I knew it would hit too close to home. Mentally ill mom. Check. Becoming an adult when you aren’t even a teenager yet. Check. Being left alone way too young. Check. Having your closest family member be a pet. Check. Based on those similarities alone, I didn’t think I could get through this given the heavy subject matter. But I found it was actually good for me to read something that shows the complicated upbringing of a girl, because I haven’t seen much of that or felt any connection with a female protagonist in this way. And y’all know I read a lot. We have so many coming of age stories about boys (Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies). And if the story Is about a girl, it’s always about how her heart is broken over a boy, or she has an eating disorder, or how she’s in love with her middle aged teacher. This here is no YA book. This was more like Room, where the perspective of a vulnerable but resilient child going through very adult trauma tells their story. We need more books like this, about children with imperfect parents, and how they survive the unimaginable. Know that this is a hard read, but a good one. Content warnings include suicide, hoarding, and mental illness, and child and animal physical injury.

Big spoiler: I clearly loved the book so I feel like I need to explain my rating. The reason I gave this four stars instead of five was because of the graphic part involving the description of Splinter’s injuries at the end. It actually made me feel a bit sick. It didn’t add anything to the story and was overkill. I didn’t think the same was true for the way Rae must cover up the smell of her mother’s corpse, as that served a purpose in showing the reader how she was trying to maintain appearances and save the only home she’d ever known.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Dream Cast: 🎥 🍿

Rae: McKenna Grace

Lettie: Dianne Weist

Mom: Isla Fisher

Oscar: Iain Armitage