Artemis – Andy Weir

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Artemis
“I bounded over the gray, dusty terrain toward the huge dome of Conrad Bubble. Its airlock, ringed with red lights, stood distressingly far away. It’s hard to run with a hundred kilograms of gear on – even in lunar gravity.”

A daring heist, a mafia out for blood, and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make millions… all in zero gravity.

Artemis is Andy Weir’s second novel. Published in 2017, eight years after his breakthrough with The Martian, it was an instant success. It has received numerous awards since its first release, including Goodreads’ Best Sci-Fi Novel of the Year award.

It reached number four on the New York Times Best Seller List one month after publication and remained on the list for over two months. in addition, it stayed on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List for just as long, as well as debuting on the Locus Magazine Bestseller List for four months.


Summary

The story follows Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara, a petty criminal living on Artemis, the first city on the moon. By day, she works as a porter, delivering supplies from earth to their respective clients. By night, however, she smuggles in contraband in an effort to become rich. When one of her clients offers her a job that’ll make her a millionaire, she immediately jumps at the chance. Unfortunately for Jazz, there are far more conspiracies than she realises, and she soon attracts the attention of some very dangerous people…



Commentary

Artemis is without a doubt the best sci-fi novel that I have read to date, and for good reason too.

Praise

  • The characters are incredibly realistic. Yes, this novel is on the moon, but even with that, the characters are incredible. Jazz herself is an ordinary girl, if above-average-intelligence, and lets her greed blind her. Rudy, the main authority figure, doesn’t let anyone, including Jazz, escape justice. Even the so-called good guys have darker motives that compromise everyone’s safety.
  • The plot itself is fantastic. There are numerous twists and turns and unexpected revellations throughout the entire novel. The good guys don’t always win, the heroine’s actions have real-life consequences, and it’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to happen next.
  • As theorectical as a city on the moon currently is, the science behind everything is incredibly well-thought-out. Weir manages to explain everything simply and effectively, without letting the sci-fi techno babble drag down the story. Everything that happens is entirely plausible, making this otherwise outlandish novel feel entirely possible.

Critique

  • Despite it being explained numerous times that Artemis was built by Kenyans, the entire city is completely Americanized. It’s never explained why Kenya decided to build a colony on the moon or even start space travel to begin with. Even Jazz’s penpal, Kelvin, a Kenyan man, has no purpose other than ‘helpful plot device’. The entire city is run by Kenyans, yet everything is unmistakably American, and this is never explained.
  • Likewise, the fact that Jazz is Muslim, although non-practicing, isn’t an act of diversity and inclusivity on the authors half. It’s just another plot device. Jazz uses traditional Islamic headware as part of her disguise, and that is apparently it’s only function in the story.
  • Although Jazz is funny and engaging, she is an exact replica of the character of Mark in The Martian. There are parts in the novel where it is very obvious that this young brown woman was written by a middle-aged white man. Although Weir’s writing in these moments isn’t necessarily sexist, it is very very cringey.


Recommendations

Overall, I’d give Andy Weir’s Artemis a five out of five. As someone who usually hates sci-fi, this novel makes me want to give it another chance. It has brilliant characters, a brilliant plot structure, and a brilliant ending.

I’d recommend this novel to everyone, even if you’re not a huge sci-fi fan. The story is addictive and engaging and will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat waiting for more.


5/5 Star



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