November 14, 2017
Those who enjoyed The Martian will see the same things about this book that thrilled them in the first. Both main characters are basically smart and resilient but underdogs in the environments. It is the thrill of watching Jazz fight through the odds that is mostly entertaining. It is not just the odds when she is on the unforgiving surface of the moon but also the unforgiving economic and class struggles of the city. It is what works best in the book. Weir structures well and writes some tight passages especially in the action scenes.
That is why, like his first book, it will be a bestseller. however, as a lover of science fiction, color me a little cynical. Weir writes well but, and forgive me for the slaughtering of the English language, he doesn't write good. Weir has all the Moon stuff, the science, the technology, and the physics down pat. But it just didn't have the spark for me that crisply realized science fiction has. Jazz Bashara is a marginally likeable character but she is also selfish and greedy whose bad judgement never quite gels with her perceived smarts.. The next step to empathy never quite made it. Yes, we root for her but we never root with her.
Artemis is a science fiction story with emphasis on the mainstream. Good science fiction challenge. Artemis placates. There are a number of bestselling authors who write in their selected genre but never really transcends into what the genre at its best can be. Dan Brown, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, James Patterson. Good writers all and writers that know how to sell their wares. But they are not the names that the true lover of their genre will recite as the best. I hope I'm wrong but Andy Weir with two books already seems to be writing himself into that kind of niche with science fiction.
But maybe I'm being too cynical. Artemis is a good novel, maybe a better thriller that a science fiction book. Either way, it plays a bit too much by the numbers. Yet, if you like an easy to handle and entertaining book then it will meet your needs...until the next bestseller comes along.