When I bought The Martian a few years ago, I didn’t know it had been picked up to be made into a movie. I barely knew what the book was about. And then I couldn’t put the book down! Any avid reader will know what a treat this is. So, I was excited to pick up Weir’s second novel Artemis. Artemis introduces Jasmine Bashara, a twenty-something genius smuggler living on the first lunar colony who does a good job alienating people. The only law enforcement officer in the colony wants Jasmine deported to Earth. Jasmine’s father will barely speak to her. But Jasmine’s word is like steel, and that puts her on good footing with the criminal element on Artemis.
Plucky, attractive and self-destructive, Jasmine wants to get rich, and she’s willing to break the law to do it. But when her benefactor shows up dead, Jasmine realizes she’s moved into territory well above her pay grade. To stay alive, she’s going to need help from her oddball but loyal coterie of friends and live up to her potential, which, by the way, she hates-being told to live up to her potential, that is.
Using his genius expertise about space and space travel, Andy Weir has created a fun and realistic murder mystery on the moon. Never getting overly technical, Weir explores what it would be like to live on the moon, not for a day or a week, but for a lifetime, thus creating a political landscape with a Lord of the Flies flavor and human colonizing matching the way ethnic neighborhoods in cities all across the United States came to be. Weir never takes himself too seriously and keeps the story moving along at a fast clip. I had trouble getting into the first few chapters, but when Jasmine realizes it’s “do-or-die,” the story takes off, and I couldn’t put it down.
Artemis doesn’t have the literary punch of The Martian, considering that The Martian is on the top-twenty list of books I’ve read in my lifetime—a high bar to meet. But read Artemis anyway. I recommend it.