Artemis by Andy Weir
|Artemis by Andy Weir
|Category: Science Fiction
|Reviewer: Sophie Diamond
|Summary: A story about the first city on the moon that wasn't completely out of this world. Good science, interesting concept and all round solid book, just one that didn't shoot me into the stratosphere.
|Date: November 2017
|Publisher: Del Rey
|External links: Author's website
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Welcome to Artemis, the first city on the moon. A powerhouse for the rich and a once in a lifetime trip for earth tourists, and also a place a small community of citizens call home. Jazz Bashara is one such citizen. She came to Artemis with her father aged six, it's the only place she's ever known but she wouldn't say she's flourishing. In fact, the phrase most often used to describe Jazz is a waste of talent. Jazz lives in the low end of town, sleeping on a bunk, using a shared bathroom, which is all she can afford through her job as a porter. However, Jazz dreams above all else of being rich and to this end, she has set up a side business of illegal smuggling activity. When one of Jazz's regular clients wants her to step up from petty criminal to major criminal for a handsome reward, it is just too tempting to refuse. What Jazz doesn't know is all the facts behind what she is being asked to do.
I'd like to start by saying that I was a huge fan of The Martian. It was such an original book, interesting, clever and very, very funny. I was really excited when there was a new Andy Weir book, but I'm sorry to say that, for me, it didn't live up to the first book. Sorry Andy! I think he's a good writer, with good ideas and he's carving out a new genre of science fiction, which is more like science future, all the logic is there we just don't have the technology yet. But, I really didn't like the main character. This is written in first person, and I didn't realise that Jazz was supposed to be a girl until another character mentioned it. Nothing about her voice read as female to me. If he'd used a male protagonist, I think it would have been a much better book.
Other than his dry humour, one thing I love about Andy Weir's writing is how logical the science behind it is. There's no transwarp beaming, it's all solid science and thus while a fantastical concept, is grounded in reality. The best parts of the book are where Andy is talking technical, it feels natural and flows really well. Character dialogue, particularly anything romantic feels awkward, not in a good sculpting an atmosphere kind of way, but in a way that reads, this has nothing to do with the plot and no one would say that. Jazz's own thought processes are incomprehensible to me as well. She just didn't feel authentic.
Other characters did feel authentic, as did the logic of the city structure, it's businesses and economy, even it's justice system (and the dire penalty of being exiled for serious crime). He didn't leave any aspect of how this city runs unexplained which I think is brilliant and shows how well thought out his ideas are. This book even comes complete with an explanatory map. I particularly loved the tourist centre by the moon landing site, it all feels so real, you're practically booking your ticket to Artemis. (But despite how safe Jazz argues it is, I think I'd rather stay here on earth).
This is a solid book, it has a good story and I would have to whole-heartedly agree that it's high-concept and that his books push boundaries. I hope he continues to write and continue carving out his science future genre of unique stories. I'd just like to see another Mark Watney, not a Jazz Bashara, telling the story.
If you like the sound of this, you'll love Andy Weir's first book, The Martian. And if you'd like another literary book about space, pick up The Martian War by Kevin J Anderson.
You can read more book reviews or buy Artemis by Andy Weir at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Artemis by Andy Weir at Amazon.com.
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