The Martian was a standout hit, gaining a huge fan following and prompting a rather good Hollywood adaptation. So it’s with some hesitation that we approach author Andy Weir’s next science fiction book, Artemis. It’s definitely not The Martian, but it is very good, and shows that Weir has depth and flexibility in his approach.
Artemis is set in a near future in which Kenya (which has a unique position on the equator) has colluded with various corporate interests to build a moon-base, mostly as a way of making more money flow through Kenya. Artemis is not a nation, rather a collection of interests under five domes, named after the heroes of the Apollo programme.
The book focuses on the character of Jazz Bashra, a Saudi Arabian (lapsed) Muslim who regards the Moon as her home. Despite her considerable talent, intelligence and skill, the twenty-something has a job as a courier and petty criminal. Many things are banned in Artemis, especially anything flammable, so Jazz spends her time looking to make a quick buck here and there sneaking cigars and the like under the noses of the authorities. The de-facto currency is based on how many grams someone can transport onto the moon, and Jazz has been saving up her allowance for something special. So when an offer that seems too good to be true arrives, she grabs it and literal lunacy begins.
Artemis is the sort of science fiction work that wants to gush at you with all the cool science facts but is desperate to avoid dumping loads of exposition on you. Much like The Martian, this results in a steady drip of story relevant science-related coolness. Weir really does make science utterly fascinating and absorbing. It wraps science coolness up in delicious layers of crime adventure, making for a very geeky sort of heist tale.
The main character is quite interesting, though a little annoying and narcissistic at points. Weir paints the picture of a carefree science nerd who is actually none of those things, though she’s clearly written with the male gaze in mind. The supporting cast, however, are fab and it’s nice that pretty much everyone has a proper motivation and feels like a real person.Artemis is the book that proves Weir is the heir to the mantle of classic science fiction master. It’s an addictive, fast-paced read, perfect for a long journey or a bit of daily escapism. If you’re after a moon adventure (and you loved Have Spacesuit will Travel), book a flight to Artemis today.
ARTEMIS / AUTHOR: ANDY WEIR / PUBLISHER: DEL REY / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 14TH