It’s refreshing to read a true SF novel. Lately, unless you are reading a book featuring Star Wars or Star Trek, the focus seems to be on fantasy or dystopia. We won’t touch on vampires and werewolves, although if that is your pleasure you are in luck.
Artemis by Andy Weir, however, is about life in a man-made city on the moon. The author has created a realistic world with scientific explanations which seem realistic to my untrained mind. Jazz Bashara, the main character, is a true antihero, who at twenty eight is still acting like a rebellious teenager doing a little smuggling, along with her day job as a porter, to pay for her meager lifestyle. She manages though dreams of something better – a bigger bed, her own bathroom, better food choices – all beyond her financial means. Then the deal of a lifetime falls into her lap, a way to make some real money and maybe repair the broken relationship with her dad. This one requires quite a bit of planning and luckily she has a natural ability to pick up information on the fly along with some innate skills perfected at her father’s knee as well as the general knowledge necessary to nullify the safeguards surrounding the moon’s life support systems (without getting herself killed). Yet the relatively “simple” task of sabotage becomes a deadly game placing those she holds near and dear in danger. Time to call in all her favors, even if it means swallowing her pride and overriding her principles.
Add in a stoic father who wants what’s best for his only daughter, a former best friend who has the same taste in men, a geeky coworker willing to lend a hand, a security officer just looking for a reason to deport her back to earth, a childhood pen pal from Kenya who has some helpful connections, and a client who inadvertently bites off more than he can chew.
While I enjoyed the basic concept and liked the mystery tour Weir took us on, there was a bit too much technical detail for my taste. I like a bit of science to make it all seem doable, but my focus is always on the fiction. However, the action will translate into a great movie, since this novel has just as much big screen potential as The Martian. Creating a female main character seemed to be a bit of a challenge for Weir and she came off a little too juvenile at times, though her glib, wise cracking attitude along with all those smarts were a refreshing change of pace which lead to some clever, if somewhat cliched, dialogue.
I’m ready to purchase my ticket.
Four stars and a thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This review also appears on Goodreads. S