Artemis by Andy Weir
The author’s follow-up work leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve managed to get through The Martian rather painfully, to begin with. The fault lies in expecting something different. Since Weir found success in his first novel, I supposed he wasn’t going to veer away from a tried formula. Bombarded with space jargon and the main character’s love for potatoes, The Martian was just as arduous a read as the hefty Sci-fi wonder, Seveneves. Not for its sheer volume but for the dryness of the story.
Years into the future, mankind was finally able to colonize the moon. With their own government, and albeit, lackadaisical laws, Artemis was a settlement that primarily runs on tourism and industrial society. It’s a popular tourist destination for the extremely wealthy. And because it needs to run with the utmost efficacy, its residents are heavily involved in making sure the city’s lifeline keeps on ticking. Artemis itself was built where Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the moon. Its structure consists of 5-spherical connected domes with hallways instead of streets. It has resorts, casinos, bars, and hotels.
Our heroine, Jazz, is a resourceful young woman who smuggles goods to supplement her income on Artemis. You need it, she gets it for you. She’s hardly a model of morality but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. Where she lacks scruples, she makes up for her ambition and intelligence. If you’ve read The Martian and have rooted for the stranded astronaut, Jazz would have you feeling the opposite. She’s selfish, exploitative, and crass. She was far from perfect, to be sure. But at the end of the day, all these traits will be the very thing that will save her and the city. She’s one of those characters with whom you need a good amount of patience. She makes no apologies for all her personality flaws and disreputable traits.
Weir’s fondness for Science still shines through in this novel. However, it was a hard sell to make it seem more “mainstream”. And non-Scifi readers would struggle as much as I did. From the dry narrative to the anti-heroine, heroine, this book was a laborious undertaking. I question why I requested this book in the first place. The truth of the matter is, it was sparkly and shiny at the time. I also wanted to see if Weir would make a fan out of me. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to keep trying.