I recently finished the second novel by Andy Weir, Artemis. You probably remember how much I loved The Martian, so it goes without saying that I was excited for this book to come out. It was going to be hard for any book Weir wrote to live up to his first one, but this book comes pretty close. The book feels like a Noir Crime Thriller, but set on the Moon. We have our main character, a porter/low-level smuggler, who is hired to perform a job, but as it turns out, there are much bigger things going on than it initially seems.
As with his first book, Weir does a fantastic job of giving us an idea of how difficult it would be to live in an environment like this. Something as simple as lighting a welding torch has to be different in the vacuum of space (or at least on the surface of the Moon). Seemingly simple things that we take for granted, Weir addresses and makes his audience ponder just how difficult it would be to build a colony on the Moon. I have no idea if all of his science is 100% correct, I am guessing he had someone check over it, but it definitely makes sense once he explains it. I found it very interesting that he chose welding as an industry he would have us ponder over. Did he speak with a bunch of welders and get their ideas?
Okay, here are some of my favorite things, so that means there are spoilers. If you enjoyed The Martian or if you like science-based crime books, I definitely suggest checking this one out.
-My favorite part was Svoboda explaining his reusable condoms. Apart from being funny (and slightly uncomfortable), it really gives you the idea of how the economy on the Moon, which would be totally dependent on shipping from Earth, would put a heavy price on something like condoms (also, the fact that “currency” is basically the amount of shipping allotted–or something like that). They are not essential and even though they do not weigh much, do you want to waste valuable slugs on a frivolity?
-I also loved the slow dig into Jazz’s history. She starts out as this tough, does not seem to give a crap about anyone type of person, but then we learn that her whole reason for taking the job was to buy her dad the shop she destroyed.
-I enjoyed the economics lesson from the administrator and how the colony needed an industry to attract more colonists and become self-reliant. It was not some evil mastermind setting things in motion in order to make a ton of money. She was an economist who wanted to watch an economy be born and grow, and eventually collapse and die.
-I thought Jazz was a fantastic character. I loved that she is this genius, who is just lazy. She teaches herself the basics of electrical engineering in a few hours because she needs to, but at the end of the day, she just does not care to apply herself the way everyone expects. I also love that Weir does not use her intelligence as this mighty weapon. She does make mistakes. Her calculations can be wrong, she can miss stuff. Hence almost killing everyone on Artemis.
Anyways, Weir has definitely done it again and I look forward to seeing this as a movie (I mean, c’mon, they will definitely make this a movie, right?).