Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Artemis: No idiot-proofing can overcome a determined idiot

It has been a while so I was scanning through NetGalley to see what's new and I came across a new book by Andy Weir (aka the guy that wrote The Martian aka that book I love [well I mean, one of many BUT STILL, it's up there]), Artemis. So of course I requested it and was lucky enough to get a copy in exchange for a review.

First thing first, Artemis isn't The Martian. I mean, obviously. Different plot and all. But it's not an instant favorite for me like The Martian was. That would have been incredible if he could have pulled that off again. I was excited to start this but still tried to temper my expectations knowing I could easily set them way too high. I'm glad I kept that in mind because I did enjoy this book.

So with that disclaimer, here's what the story is about. I should also point out that I did NOT read a description before starting. I was doing jumping in and trusting whatever Weir did would be entertaining.

There's a city on the moon. It's sometime in the future (somewhere around 50-100 years from now. Maybe) and there's been a functioning moon city for what seems to be about 20 years. Jazz Bashara has grown up in the city since she was 6 and works as a porter, delivering packages around the city. And maaaaaaaybe some of these packages aren't exactly legal but what city doesn't have a least a little bit of smuggling going on. And it's not like the stuff is dangerous. No drugs or weapons. Just things like cigars for an eccentric billionaire. She's got debts to pay, don't judge.

Jazz is living in tiny quarters, keeping expenses down, and committing some light crime to save up some money. So when one of her clients offers her all the money she's saving for and more, for a little bit of sabotage, well, she can't pass that up.

Things don't go as planned (do they ever? Of course not, cos if they did you'd have no book), stakes are raised, conspiracies revealed, etc. etc. And there's science. A lot of science. Space science.

Weir should be commended for the cast he's created. It's not all white dudes. There's actually very few of those. Or I mean, few compared to other media where they are, just, all the people. If the cast had been mostly white men that would have stuck out. Artemis (the name of the moon city) is a global collaboration, headquartered out of Kenya. Jazz and her father are originally from Saudi Arabia and while Jazz doesn't seem very religious anymore her father is still a practicing Muslim. There are characters from Russian, Brazil, Norway, Kenya, Ukraine, all over. The characters seem pretty evenly split between men and women. Not all of the characters are straight (and those that are gay have more personality traits than just "are gay"). So WELL DONE THERE, SIR. He ever made sure in the acknowledgements to thank people who helped him when writing a female Muslim character from Saudia Arabia, a person he most definitely is not.

And beyond that, the story is interesting. I was engaged, there was SUSPENSE and some mystery. And yeah, a lot of science explanations that sometimes worked well and sometimes felt like a little too much exposition. But I skimmed over most of those because while I like the idea of that stuff in here, in practice I do not need the details explained to me. I believe you. That's not saying I necessarily think those should be taken out. This is a thing that works for him and there's definitely an audience for it. I am just not it, but I am able to enjoy the rest of the book.

Overall though, when compared to The Martian, it's just slightly less. There's less humor (though there are funny moments), the stakes feel lower, the danger less immediate, the science explanations a bit more shoved in. It's all still there and perhaps it's unfair to compare one book to another but too bad, I'm doing it anyway.

Overall, I liked. Would recommend and probably read again, although it unfortunately does not reach the same levels as The Martian which I will love forever and sort of want to reread again right now.

Gif rating:
(Is it mean to use a Martian gif for this? I only have so many space ones and this really captures my opinion on it. But I feel like this might be rubbing it in a bit. Oh well, too late.)

Title quote from location 1192

Weir, Andy. Artemis. Crown Publishing, 2017. NetGalley