I’ll start this by saying, I really did genuinely enjoy Artemis. It’s just that The Martian set the bar really damn high.
Anyone with a passing understanding of the first book or movie knows what they’re getting into – snappy wit, detailed technical science, and insane problems with even crazier solutions. Artemis delivers on every single score, seriously. But somehow a breakneck story about a heist ON THE MOON just started to drag.
Weir creates these wonderful worlds just a few technological leaps ahead of our own. Here, our hero, Jazz Bashara, has lived in the moon colony Artemis since she was a child. It’s a frontier town, just a frontier town stationed under highly technical bubbles more than a meter thick where survival is both everyday living and precarious. She supports herself just above the poverty line – legally as a porter (delivering things to people) and rather illegally as a smuggler (still delivering things to people, just nothing on the record). One of her biggest clients offers her a crazy sum to help him with what appears on the surface to be some mild industrial sabotage and she finds herself caught in a struggle for control of … the moon.
Weir gets very into all of the science that allows this to happen and to me that is one of his strengths. I like that level of detailed world-building, it makes this future seem not quite so distant. I think I did myself a favor too by listening to the audio book rather than read it (where I can fall into a pattern of skimming dense paragraphs), plus Rosario Dawson does a bang-up job. It’s just that at some point the stumbling blocks get to be just too many and the idea of Jazz the prodigy begins to wear. While she does spend plenty of time showing us just how smart and clever she is, I was as exhausted as her hearing everyone tell her about her potential.
I did enjoy the relationship she has with her father, both strained and loving. The characters built out around her were good too. It may just be that Weir has too much of a shtick and it’s wearing thin on round two, but I kept comparing this back to his better book and found it lacking.
Bingo Square: Award Winner (Goodread’s 2017 Best Science Fiction)