How does one follow up a story about being stranded on Mars? By creating a human colony on the moon of course! Artemis is the new novel by Andy Weir, author of the dynamic and entertaining bestseller, The Martian. Think 50 years in the future. Humanity has colonized the moon. Pretty cool, huh?
Now, meet Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara. A smuggler who longs to upgrade her profession to become an EVA excursion specialist. What’s EVA? Extra Vehicular Activity. She wants to take rich tourists on excursions around the moon. Why? To get rich of course. A half-century in the future and capitalism is alive and well. Jazz just wants her fair share.
So when a billionaire contracts her to do some, shall we say, unsavory work, she initially balks at the opportunity. A million slug (moon currency) offer later, and she is in. What follows can only be described as a harrowing adventure, racing through through the Artemis moon city environment and beyond.
The Good: Andy Weir writes science REALLY well. He breaks complicated subjects down into palatable, reader-friendly language as well as any writer. In addition, Jazz is a truly likable, albeit significantly flawed character. She’s the definition of an anti-hero and that’s quite a change from the boy scout-esque Mark Watney from the Martian. Jazz’s character shows Weir’s range of writing ability. Finally, the story moves at a breakneck pace. Once the reader has a sense of life on the moon, the storyline leaps into roller coaster mode.
The Bad: The story simply doesn’t have anywhere near as much punch as the Martian. Is it fun? Absolutely. Is it deep? Nope. Whereas The Martian “Scienced the shit” out of storytelling, Artemis struggled in this regard. Astronaut and Botanist Mark Watney is believable as someone who can survive on Mars. The feats Jazz Bashara pulls off seem more suited to a Navy Seal or a Special Forces elite operative rather a smuggler. While she is frighteningly smart, much of what she accomplishes is a bit unbelievable.
Overall: I liked the story. I like how Andy Weir writes. I happen to really like anti-heroes as protagonists. However, the flaws of the story keep me from raving about this book. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. If you’re looking for some smart brain candy, this is a good tale.