His writing style is on display to no greater degree than in his most famous novel, The Martian. Throughout his career, Weir has thus far published three physical books. These are described in detail below, including plot and publication information.
Two of his three novels, The Martian and Project Hail Mary, have been and are currently being made into films. The former was a major box office hit, elevating Weir’s reputation and expanding his readership considerably.
The Martian was Andy Weir’s first true novel. It first appeared on his website as a serialized, online novel. But, as its popularity grew, he made it available as a Kindle book for 99 cents. It was later picked up by a literary agent and sold to Crown Publishing Group. The print version appeared at #12 on The New York Times bestseller list. It was described by critics as one of the best science fiction novels of recent years.
The Martian was extensively researched so that it could be as accurate as possible. Weir describes spending time researching orbital mechanics to understand the limits of space flight. He also studied Mars itself, the history of space travel, botany, and all things needed to tell the story he ended up penning.
The story follows the character of Mark Watney, an astronaut, and member of a mission to Mars that goes wrong. After only six days on the planet (out of a month-long mission), a storm forces the crew to evacuate. Watney is caught up in the storm, injured, and presumed dead by his crew. He’s left on Mars alone with very few resources. Read a summary of The Martian here.
Before NASA realizes he’s still alive, Watney uses his engineering and botany prowess to start growing potatoes and making water. With the provisions already available, he works to find a way to survive four years till the next mission. Here is a quote:
If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.
The novel follows Watney on Mars, the crew members on their way back to Each, and the men and women at NASA who struggle to rescue him while dealing with public relations.
The book was made into a feature film in 2015 starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain. It was directed by Ridley Scott and grossed $630 million worldwide, making it the 15th highest-grossing movie of 2015. The film she on to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture in the Musical or Comedy category due to the humor inherent in Watney’s character.
Project Hail Mary
Project Hail Mary is Weir’s most recent novel. It follows a teacher, Ryland Grace, who becomes an astronaut and is sent on a mission to figure out how to stop the Sun from dimming. This is something that he eventually recalls would bring about the end of humanity. NASA sends him twelve light-years away to another solar system, Tau Ceti. The twist is that Ryland wakes from a planned four-year coma in the middle of the mission, gradually becoming more aware of what he was sent to do. The other two crew members are dead and he’s alone. The novel’s plot is mostly conveyed through flashbacks to the past.
They reveal that NASA discovered an alien, single-celled organism that began reproducing uncontrollably around the Sun, taking a huge amount of solar energy from Earth. This will, the novel states, bring about a new ice age in around 30 years. Here is a quote from the novel:
Do you believe in God? I know it’s a personal question. I do. And I think He was pretty awesome to make relativity a thing, don’t you? The faster you go, the less time you experience. It’s like He’s inviting us to explore the universe, you know?
The film rights were purchased by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film is going to be written by the same writer, Drew Goddard, who was responsible for The Martian. Ryan Gosling is slated to play the protagonist.
Artemis was Weir’s second novel. It features a female protagonist, Jazz, who hails from the only city on the moon, Artemis. It was published in 2017 and takes place in the late 2080s. The book follows Jazz, or Jasmine, as she gets wrapped up in a conspiracy for the city’s control. Here is a quote from the book that demonstrates Weir’s style of writing:
The patch was thin, so you’d think it would melt first, but physics doesn’t work that way. Before the temperature could get up to the patch’s melting point of 1530°C, everything that could melt at a lower temperature had to melt first. And the melting point of the smelter walls was 1450°C. So, even though the patch was thin and the smelter was thick, the bottom of the smelter would give out before the patch got anywhere near its melting point.
The novel was voted the best science fiction book of the year on Goodreads. Jazz works as a porter and a smuggler and, at the beginning of the novel, is offered an opportunity that she can’t pass up to assist a wealthy businessman with a new venture.
Is Artemis a sequel to The Martian?
Artemis is not a sequel to The Martian. Weir has stated that he does not plan to write a sequel to his best-selling book.
Is Project Hail Mary a series?
It’s unclear at this point if there is going to be another Project Hail Mary novel. It is Weir’s most recent novel. There is a planned film, though.