Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction
Hardback: 305 pages
The Story: Our protagonist is a young woman named Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara, who spent most of her life on a moon colony named Artemis. After leaving her father and his welding shop, Jazz is determined to join the EVA (extravehicular activity) Guild, so she can give tourists private tours on the surface of the moon. Life isn’t easy, and to make ends meet she delivers contraband to local residents with the help of a penpal on Earth. Jazz is soon caught up in a scheme to take over the air supply industry on Artemis and has to rely on her experience and intellect to save the lives of everyone living there.
The good: This is the second book by author Andy Weir, and you can expect the same level of real science that made The Martian such a hit. Andy’s writing style continues to make an in-depth and science-detailed story easy and quick to read without losing the reader along the way. I never once felt like I had to turn to Google for more understanding of some aspect of the story. Even the author’s use of historical emails between Jazz and her childhood penpal on Earth that were sprinkled in to explain her background doesn’t feel like a distraction.
The bad: The story itself feels thin. The plot lacks a degree of complication that urged me to want to read faster and turn the pages with eagerness. I felt like everything fell into place without any real contention or struggle. I never really thought they were in any danger at any time even though the words told me they were. The characters are very one-dimensional. The security guy is a meathead. The tech nerd is awkward but knows everything tech, including details of cutting-edge technology. The barkeep is your typical barkeep willing to smile at everyone and listen to all the stories you have to tell. Even Jazz is your typical “not gonna take any lip from anyone” and “I’ll show them how amazing I am” character.
The conclusion: Overall, Artemis is a fun read. I learned a few new things about microgravity, why regolith (moon dust) isn’t really very fun, and how to weld in the vacuum of space. This is a book to read when you have a long flight or just want to read something light when you’re between shows or stuck at the laundromat. Even with all its flaws, I would still recommend this to anyone interested in the real-science-space genre with the only caveat being the strong language. I’m looking forward to many more action-packed and science accurate books by Andy Weir in the future.