A Fun Crime Caper in a Hostile Environment
Andy Weir’s rise to prominence with The Martian (2011) is well known, he started by serialising it on his website and then released a kindle version which shot to the top of the Kindle charts. This attracted the attention of publishers with whom he then managed to get a publishing deal with.
Following up the success of The Martian was never going to be easy, and reading comments on Artemis has shown a mixed response. I congratulate Andy Weir of trying to do something a bit different with his second novel. I really enjoyed this book and had fun with it and I think some people’s issue with it was that they were expecting The Martian Part 2, which this book is not.
The book follows Jazz Bashara a minor criminal on the Moonbase Artemis when she is hired for a job that quickly spirals out of control. Reading the thanks at the back of the book the Author had some help and advice both writing a female and Muslim protagonist. To me his writing of Jazz worked, the story is written in the 1st person, which means we get all her thoughts and worries. In a way due to the story and the narration from the character put me in mind of Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat books. You have the same feeling of a mixture of arrogance/confidence from the character especially with the throw away quips.
“It’s hard to run with 100 kilograms of gear on—even in lunar gravity. But you’d be amazed how fast you can hustle when your life is on the line.“
The environment of the moonbase is excellently visualised with it feeling like it would all work. The science feels right, there is a comment in the early part of the book about how Coffee is lukewarm on the moon due to the boiling point of water being lower (because of Air pressure), it was interesting because I read a similar discussion in an Arthur C Clarke book I read a few weeks ago, another author known for his Scientific Accuracy. Any Weirs prose and pacing just like his previous book is engaging with the story moving forward at what feels like a perfect pace.
The complaint’s I’ve read about this book is people struggling with the main character, thinking she was poorly written. If you read the acknowledgements at the back of the book he got lots of advice in writing both a Female and Muslim character and this comes across in the writing. I personally found the character quite well rounded with good motivations. I would agree though at points there may be one too many ‘smart’ remarks but the book is meant to be more comedic in flavour. It was for me a fun ride that I got through very quickly and if that appeals to you I would recommend it.