Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara is a petty criminal in her early twenties, living in Artemis, the only Moon city. Haunted by the guilt of making bad decisions in her teens, she accepts a billionaire’s request to help him take over Moon’s aluminium and oxygen industry. But things don’t go as planned and Jazz gets in the middle of an organized takeover of her town and she’s the one who can save her home.
Sometimes I think that Andy Weir is writing just for me. The Martian is definitely one of my favourite sci-fi novels. It’s so well-written, the science and engineering talk is what gets me going any time and the nerdy jokes were well appreciated. The self-talk that the main character goes through feels real and not forced since he is talking to himself and he is trying to keep himself sane. But in Artemis, the author made a mistake. Jazz is the female version of Mark Watney. And not a great one.
She has the same inner monologue but it doesn’t sit as well. In this novel, Jazz is a non-practising Muslim and the main moon harlot who had a lot of potentials but liked dick more than studying. She’s irresponsible, petty and careless but she’s also a genius who can learn things really fast. There is nothing feminine about her. Her awareness of her body is nearly comedic and the number of childish sex jokes didn’t help her image either. But she still manages to be the kick-ass main character you expect from this kind of a novel.
The world building feels a little haphazard and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. How did Kenya become a leading nation in space colonialization? Why is the culture so Americanized? Isn’t Artemis supposed to be a multicultural place? I assume that Mr Weir decided to not play safe, but it seems like he wrote by assuming what non-American culture should look like. It’s understandable that none of his editors noticed that since they most certainly are all American.
What I did like about Artemis is all the talk about welding. Being an engineering student and all, you can talk to me about welding and engineering all day long and it’s very unlikely that I would grow bored of it.
There was enough suspense to keep me hooked and read it in one sitting. The novel has some major flaws but it’s impossible to not enjoy it. I bet there will be plans to put this on the silver screen soon.