Weekend Reads: Artemis

Artemis, Andy Weir

© Crown Publishing Group

Andy Weir’s first novel, The Martian, was a brilliant book. So brilliant in fact that Hollywood turned it into a pretty brilliant movie starring Matt Damon. Artemis is, without a doubt, Weir’s sophomore slump. It’s a solid science fiction novel (more heavy on the fiction than The Martian this time around) that I did really enjoy, and it will probably be turned into a solid movie or TV show eventually. That’s about all it is though. The rest of Artemis sadly falls just short of every mark Weir aims for.

The titular Artemis is the first and only  city to be built on the moon. It’s a tourist destination (for very obvious reasons) and a testament to human ingenuity. Jasmine Bashara, Artemis’s Smuggler-in-Chief loves living there, but it’s far from an affordable lifestyle and, as a result, her debt has begun to pile up. When the chance at life-changing score comes up, Jazz can’t say no. But pulling off the perfect heist proves far from easy, and Jazz soon finds herself up to her eyeballs in a conspiracy for control of Artemis.

I want to reiterate here that I really did enjoy reading Artemis. The plot proves that Weir is more than capable of writing a clever thriller, the science is wonderful. On top of that, Artemis’s diverse cast of characters are charming and memorable… all except for Jazz. It’s easy to tell that Weir is trying his best to create a female character with a realistic and relatable voice. Sadly, it’s also easy to tell that a man who isn’t quite sure how to write a female character is writing a female character. Jazz sounded and acted like Mark Watney if Mark Watney had breasts. And by the end, I couldn’t help but wonder how much better Artemis would have been if Weir had stuck to what he knows and made Jazz a man.

Weekend Reads is a Friday column of The Nerd League featuring nuggets of wisdom on the literary world. Our in-house galley virtuoso tends to have the scoop on stuff before it’s even out. To keep up with this week’s pick click here.   

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