Artemis is the second published novel of Andy Weir, of The Martian fame. The book is titled after the city Artemis, the only city on the Moon in the near future. With about 2,000 residents Artemis is tiny and mostly dependent on its tourism industry. People save up for trips to the Moon to be able to experience lunar gravity and see the historic site of the Apollo 11 landing. Artemis is brought to life by it’s narrator, Jasmine (Jazz) Bashara, Saudi born but raised on the Moon since the age of six.
Jazz’s no nonsense, and somewhat foul, voice speaks to the audience in a steady stream of information explaining how everything works in simple bites. From how the city was established, by Kenya utilizing its resource of being on the equator. To currency, which since Artemis isn’t a country isn’t a true currency and is instead is a unit based on the weight of getting cargo/things to the Moon, commonly called slugs. The setting is well thought out and feels as though this could be real in the future.
Jazz is highly intelligent and a skilled welder with no interest in following in her father’s footsteps. She wants to define her own future but carries a bit of a chip on the shoulder, which sometimes gets in the way. Her job as a porter, and side smuggling business, provide just enough to support herself. However, Jazz’s home is little better than a capsule hotel and she has dreams of one day having her own bathroom, to no longer have to share communally. When we meet her at the start of the novel she has just failed an examine that would have allowed her to join the EVA guild and get a much higher paying job giving tours outside the domes of Artemis to tourists.
Then one of her smuggling customers proposes a job with the payout of one million slugs, more than enough to set Jazz up with a place of her own and a level of security unknown since she left home. While outside her normal scope of operations, the payday is too big to turn down. Here is where the fun of the caper begins. Of course, despite the well thought out plans, things quickly begin to go sideways, and then take a turn as Jazz learns that there is far more going on than she could have realized.
While not quite at the edge of my seat, I did quite enjoy Artemis and read quickly to keep up with Jazz’s adventures. I liked her distinctive voice and the way information was delivered to the book reader. Both through her internal monologues and email correspondence between Jazz and a friend on Earth. I enjoyed the movie adaptation of The Martian but hadn’t sought it out to read, I’m now much more curious having read Artemis.