Andy Weir Aims To Duplicate His Martian Accomplishment With ‘Artemis’
Artemis by Andy Weir Hardcover, 305 pages | buy close overlay Buy Featured Book Your buy helps support NPR programming. How?
Andy Weir’s debut novel, The Martian, was an unrepeatable success tale, largely because its way to the bestseller lists was so unconventional. Weir posted it as a free serial on his website, then self-posted it as a 99-cent e-novel. His Kindle sales led Podium Publishing to build an audiobook edition before a physical edition existed. Crown Literature bought the print privileges years following the Kindle edition introduced. By enough time it became a bestseller, a film adaptation starring Matt Damon had been in progress.
Weir’s meticulously researched experience, about an astronaut struggling to survive alone on Mars after a disastrous mission, found readers’ attention in fits and begins during the period of years. There’s no method to duplicate that method – especially since Weir is normally no longer an unknown author, giving away his work over the internet because he can’t acquire publishers’ attention.
But his second novel, Artemis, does do it again The Martian’s formula in different ways. Once more, Weir has place an action-adventure in space, where a resourceful protagonist improvises scientific answers to escalating dangers. The brisk pacing and reader-friendly explanations of chemistry and engineering conundrums will be equivalent. And for better and worse, the protagonist’s snarky, hipshot, goofy voice is much the same as Tag Watney’s in The Martian.
This time, the action happens in Artemis, a moon city of 2,000 that revolves around tourism and heavy industry. The protagonist, Jasmine Bashara, is normally a 26-year-outdated Saudi Arabian citizen who’s resided on the moon since she was 6. Jazz grew up in a hustle-and-circulation environment loosely adapted from a blend of Earth cultures, with its own random economy and laws. She’s a professional porter and smuggler, wishing to become tourist guide. But an devices malfunction sabotages her possibilities at official qualification, and her dreams of lucrative tour-guiding fizzle out. Whenever a contact presents her an astronomical sum to sabotage an area mining procedure, she reluctantly takes the job, producing enemies she can’t manage to make.
Once more, Weir has collection an action-adventure in space, where a resourceful protagonist improvises scientific answers to escalating dangers.
Like The Martian, Artemis is blunt and straightforward, with characters dumping exposition on the other person in graceless speeches or easy pen-pal letters. The heroes are thinly sketched cars for action and details – from a grifter billionaire to an indomitable mining supervisor, they’re all approximately equivalent bantering smartasses whose key personality traits will be “in Jazz’s method” or “aiding Jazz out.”
Artemis’ environment should be more radiant and complicated compared to the Martian’s, yet the dynamic is accurately the same. Few of the characters have unique voices, plus some who do will be cringe-worthy, just like the Hungarian neighbor who informs Jazz, “You were pleasant little girl. Now you are bad. You will be unmarried and have sex with many men.” Or the socially awkward engineer buddy who continues saying things such as, “You’re my only good friend with boobs!” Artemis’ undertake sex in general is normally juvenile and foregrounded; Weir seems to know far more about low-gravity welding than about how exactly 20-something women think about their bodies and companions, and Artemis’ residents contain a curiously prurient fixation on Jazz’s love life, which mostly comes up in sneering jibes.
But the book gets the same strengths that made The Martian so compelling – Weir’s palpable desire for the rigors of life in space, and his devotion to scientific accuracy, which lets real-globe facts drive the plot. He includes a talent for establishing nerve-racking threats requiring jury-rigged solutions, which retain Jazz rushing in one crisis to another. In keeping with the book’s matter-of-fact storytelling, heroes keep flatly showing Jazz she’s fantastic and talented. But that comes across extra believably when she’s contriving a clever method to disable an intense remote-controlled rock harvester, or available a jammed valve from in the sealed environmental bubble.
Weir is well aware that he’s unlikely to reproduce The Martian’s incandescent achievement. In self-effacing interviews, he’s said he’s excellent with people dismissing Artemis as “not as very good as The Martian,” provided that they benefit from the new publication. That certainly seems most likely: Artemis is normally a breezy, propulsive read that makes pages of details about fiber-optic cable resistance and Moon-sediment composition seem to be integral. But Weir likewise says he’d prefer to develop Artemis into an ongoing book series, and that’s a harder bar to obvious. If he wants his globe to be well worth exploring in that kind of depth, he’s going to have to make his heroes as rich and startling as the hazardous worlds they live in. Until his persona beats come as by natural means as his scientific ones, he’s unlikely to eclipse his first of all breakout success.
Tasha Robinson is the Film and Television set Editor at The Verge, Vox Media’s technology and traditions site.
Tasha Robinson is the Film and Television set Editor of The Verge.