Artemis by Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.
Ah, you gotta love an Andy Weir novel. They’re fast paced, exciting, crammed full of science, and snarky as hell.
I just love the way Weir seamlessly blends science and NASA history into his novels. And he does such an amazing job at making them user friendly, too. I am not a science-y person myself, but throughout Artemis I always felt like I understood everything that was going on. His speculative extensions of the science are so plausible, it seems impossible that we don’t have a lunar city yet.
The culture of Artemis was so tangible! You wouldn’t think of this sort of near-future novel as having world building, but the world building was FANTASTIC! Little everyday things like what they ate, or living situations, or having a fire shelter, all the way up to big things like how they effectively re-use the water, or where they get their oxygen from, or the fundamental economy of a moon colony. It was all there! And it was all fascinating. I mean, come on, who else can make the fact that Artemesians drink cool coffee because water boils at a different temperature interesting?
I also love how Weir has brought all the great things about a thriller into the SciFi genre. Artemis is a mega page-turner, constantly full of twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. His attention to detail is precise, and the only plot-hole was when Jazz said “more on that later,” but the more ended up coming in a document rather than her narration.
Artemis was waaaaaaaay too much like The Martian. Don’t get me wrong, I was completely jazzed (haha, get it, Jazzed) to read another SciFi thrill-ride. But the main character, Jasmine, a poor-ish Saudi Arabian, Muslim-raised female, had exactly the same voice as Mark Whatney, an upper-middle-class white dude. Snark, vulgarity, unmatched genius, she had it all. And hey, I love a snarky girl, and I love that Weir didn’t feel the need to make her obsessed with her own appearance and boobs, or waste time on her makeup in a life-or-death scenario. That was awesome! But I couldn’t get past a girl who characterized all her relationships as “banging someone”, or other equally boyish expressions. I don’t know, she just didn’t work for me, and the similarities between the books were too glaring.
Also, and this is a very minor thing, but could they not have been more consistent with the font between the cover and the title page?
Andy Weir may be a one trick pony, but it’s a hella entertaining trick. I had a blast reading Artemis, and I can’t wait to see what kind of space adventure he’ll take us on next.