Artemis

Artemis
© 2017 Andy Weir
320 pages

“This is a results-oriented profession. The moon’s a mean old bitch. She doesn’t care why your suit fails. She just kills you when it does.”

Jazz Bashara only wanted to engage in a little industrial sabotage to make a quick buck. She didn’t intend to poison her entire hometown.  But that’s the Moon for ya.    Andy Weir’s potent mix of hard science, space exploration, and a smart-aleck central character make a return with Artemis,  in which a perfectly innocent criminal enterprise leads to a mob war. A heist novel in space,  Artemis’  most attractive element is right there in the title: the city of Artemis,  whose technical designs and economy Weir planned out before he wrote the novel.  Artemis is an intriguing look what an established lunar colony might actually look like, and readers explore it through the eyes of a young petty criminal, a woman named Jasmine (“Jazz”) Bashara, who knows its systems as well as she knows its underbelly.

Jazz is an interesting character in her own right, an Arabian near-native of the moon.  Artemis restricts immigration by age,  but she arrived at age six with her master-welder father and together they forged a new life for themselves. Although Jazz didn’t follow in her father’s footsteps — she accidentally destroyed his shop and livelihood, long story  — her welding background proves useful when she escalates from smuggling to sabotage. The book’s plot is inseparable from science and technical reality,   but Weir also explore social structures.  There’s no police force or prisons,  just a constable, but  ne’er do wells do meet retaliatory justice: a pedophile might be beaten by a crowd of incensed parents, for instance, or a wife-beater might have every blow inflicted on his wife imposed on him by the constable. Although I doubt I’ll see a lunar colony in my lifetime,  the amount of imaginative and detailed knowledge that went into Artemis made it a fascinating place to explore and accidentally cripple.

Readers of both novels may grouse that Jazz sounds a little too much like Mark Watney.   That’s actually fine by me, because they’re both amusing to spend time with. Besides, Jazz moved to a frontier town when she was six,  she was raised by a single father and spent her youth working with him in his welding shop, and all of her friends are working-class guys.  Is it really that shocking that she sounds like a guy?

I enjoyed Artemis completely, and if they make a movie of it  I’ll be there when it opens.

Related:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein.  Another lunar-colony story, this one inspired by the American revolution.
The Martian, Andy Weir.  A favorite read from 2014.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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5 Responses to Artemis

  1. Mudpuddle says:

    sounds like a good one… particularly the welding part; i used to do quite a bit of that and it's a handy skill, but being a master at it is like anything else: years of practice and struggle required…

  2. Stephen says:

    Welding in zero-G without oxygen adds to the fun, too..!

  3. CyberKitten says:

    Cool. I enjoyed both his first book & the movie. I picked up this a few weeks ago and intend reading it ASAP.

  4. Stephen says:

    There's a little geek humor in there too — he and Ernest Cline know their audiences!

  5. CyberKitten says:

    Geek humour – my favourite kind.

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