It is no secret that I really enjoyed Andy Weir’s The Martian, so when I found out that Weir had written another novel, I got very excited. I loved his ability to make science fun and exciting, and was looking forward to seeing himself replicate that in Artemis.
Artemis follows Jasmine ‘Jazz’ Bashara, a delivery porter/smuggler on the first and only city on the moon. The city is very much organized into a monetary hierarchy, where tourism is the biggest industry, the rich live well, and the poor work hard to try to make ends meet. Jazz smuggles in some of the more harmless contraband into Artemis from Earth, with the help of her friend Kelvin, to help make some extra cash in hopes of moving up the hierarchy. When Jazz is offered a very large sum of money from a very wealthy business man to sabotage a property so they ca go in and buy it cheap, she cannot say no. Taking the job means she can live a very comfortable life. But, of course, things go terribly wrong, and she has to find a way to save not just her own life, but the lives of all of Artemis’s citizens as well.
I really wanted to like this book. I really really tried. Sadly, this just missed the mark for me. Some of the science/technology was very interesting, like how water is conserved during showers on the moon, but overall, this just felt…meh. It felt cookie cuttered in from his previous work, like following a formula. I found a lot of the science leaned towards physics and chemistry, not my forte, and a lot of the technology revolved around welding, which frankly I found boring and a little over my head. I found myself skimming a lot, which I don’t love doing, but it did make the book move faster for me. The ending’s pace did speed up, and my interest did increase, but not enough to really like this book.
Jazz was not a very likeable character, none of them really were, which made it hard for me to really root for her. I found some of the story pointless or unnecessary, such as comments of Jazz’s sex life, or how a friend made a reusable condom (gross!) The letters between Jazz and Kelvin that were peppered through the story, were rather pointless and I felt like it was meant to be padding to make the story longer. The only thing I got out of it was that she wrote to him for what needed to be smuggled into Artemis, and for Jazz to bitch about the situations she got herself into.
There were some aspects that could have been so much more interesting. The world on the moon could have been developed more, for me it was what was the most interesting. Even the Gizmo’s, intelligent watches everyone wears (think something like an Apple watch), were really interesting, though I felt the name “Gizmo” seemed rather 80’s style and outdated.
Overall, this was a letdown. Weir tried at humour, which I found so sharp in The Martian, but here, it just felt forced. I was going to DNF this by page 100, but someone was murdered, and I hoped this was going to turn into a murder mystery, but it just didn’t go that way. The highlight for me was a Buffy reference, but that was all I was really excited about. If you are looking for a fun, intelligent, quirky, science fiction, skip this one and read The Martian instead!