"Artemis" by Andy Weir (2017)
"'Yeah, but...' He looked pensive. 'I mean, it's not your style. It was risky - and you're really smart. You don't take risks unless you have to. You're not desperate for cash or anything, so far as I know. I mean, yeah, you're poor. But you're stable. Do you owe loan sharks or something?"
Andy Weir was a computer programmer who took up writing full-time after the success of his first novel, The Martian. As just about everyone knows, The Martian was later adapted into a popular movie. And yes, there are plans to turn Artemis into a movie too.
In Artemis a young woman by the name of Jasmine or "Jazz" works as a porter and smuggler on the moon. The name of her lunar colony is - you guessed it - Artemis. At a certain point Jazz runs afoul of a Brazilian crime syndicate, and her attempt to save Artemis from this syndicate gives shape to the rest of the book.
In the most general terms Artemis a heist novel, whereas Weir's previous book, The Martian, was more a story of survival. The author himself says as much in an appendix. Compared to The Martian, Artemis is more complicated by other characters and political/economic details, and also less focused on the general problem of living on the moon. This said, it's still a very scientific approach to what life on the moon might be like, and Weir's characteristic love of scientific detail is very much in the foreground.
As sci-fi novels go it's an entertaining read and firmly within the genre. There are of course a thousand other extraterrestrial colony vs. rugged individualist stories in this genre, and Artemis offers no real twist on what has come before. It's only real edge over similar stories is the level of detail the author puts into it.
My only complaint about this book is that the protagonist is a bit too similar to Mark Watney from The Martian. She's also - like Mark Watney - incredibly immature at times, and the way she acts seems at odds with her unbelievably vast knowledge of physics, chemistry and other fields. I think making her more mature would have made her more believable, especially given the gravity (if you'll excuse the pun) of certain situations.
This is, however, a small complaint. On the whole reading Artemis was good fun, and I look forward to whatever the author comes up with next.
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