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review 2017-12-08 12:45
Artemis by Andy Weir
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

 

Jasmine Bashara is pretty much a female Mark Watney. I liked her, but she quickly got on my nerves. Luckily, the author kept things moving and I didn't have a lot of time to focus on her personality.

 

Jazz has been living on the moon with her father since she was 6. She's a trouble maker, she likes sex and she can weld the heck out of anything. Her relationship with her father is rather strained as he is a devout Muslim and she's a smuggler. It's expensive to live in Artemis, the moon's only city, so Jazz is always looking for opportunities to make more money. She's offered a chance to pull in the haul of a lifetime and she takes it, even though it's extremely dangerous. Will she be successful? You'll have to read this and see for yourself!

 

I loved the world building and the city of Artemis. I loved how the author created the economy of it as well as how different races from earth took over certain industries in the city. I didn't even mind how much I learned about welding. In fact, I liked that Jazz had a job that here on earth, would mostly be filled by men.

 

What I didn't like were her constant quips and smart-ass remarks. In The Martian, I didn't mind them as much, (as I said Jazz and Mark Watney have the same sense of humor), because Watney was alone on Mars and was attempting to keep the dark away. Jazz, who has a photographic memory, by the way, didn't need this humor to get by and as such, I found it annoying at times. There were some portions where the dialogue was clunky and also, how does the daughter of a Muslim grow up to love sex, drinking and smuggling? To me, there wasn't enough information there to explain those things. That bothered me, not enough to stop me from reading, but enough to prevent me from giving Artemis all the stars.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this science fiction/action novel. I especially liked the character of the moon's mayor and I wouldn't mind reading more stories taking place in Artemis. I just wouldn't mind less of the quips and maybe just a little less welding.

 

Recommended, especially for fans of science fiction and Mark Watney.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-12-04 19:31
Artemis / Andy Weir
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.  Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

 

Well, we all knew that this second novel by Andy Weir couldn’t be as good as The Martian, didn’t we? Not that it’s a bad novel, but very few books could live up to the level of that his first effort. I think the author is brave to issue it and keep on writing. I’ll be willing to read his third novel, too. The Martian was great because the mission was pretty simple: Get the hell off Mars! This story has more complexities, as there are many other people involved and not all of them want our protagonist Jazz to succeed.

I’d also be willing to bet that Weir has read Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress more than once. Jazz is certainly a competent & independent woman, albeit a little less voluntarily subservient than Heinlein’s supposedly strong, independent women. (Weir credits a number of female friends & acquaintances for proof-reading to make Jazz more realistic—there are still hits & misses, I think, but overall it’s not an awful portrayal). And like Heinlein, Weir is really, really interested in technical details (welding in a vacuum, anyone?).

In Weir’s world, the Moon city Artemis is sort of a colony of Kenya—a surprising little twist that I really liked. I did wonder a little bit about the correspondence between Jazz and a pen-pal in Kenya—it was a moderately useful tool, but I also found it a bit confusing, until I figured out that Jazz really was unwilling to be honest with anyone, sometimes even herself. But I adored Fidelis Ngugi, the “mayor” of Artemis, with all her plotting & planning!

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text 2017-12-04 14:59
November Wrap Up!
By Sharon Kay Penman The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III (1st) - Sharon Kay Penman
Cremains of the Day (A Tallie Graver Mystery) - Misty Simon
Between Two Fires: A Novel - Mark Noce
Dark Winds Rising: A Novel (Queen Branwen) - Mark Noce
Cheddar Off Dead (An Undercover Dish Mystery) - Julia Buckley
Mustard Seed - Laila Ibrahim
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

I read seven books this past month.

 

Not my best or worst month.

 

The star of the month was by far finishing The Sunne in Splendour.  By far.  Just an excellent book.

 

Artemis was also enjoyable.

 

Cremains of the Day and Cheddar off Dead were my weakest reads. 

 

I read mostly on my Kindle. An adjustment I am trying to make having such limited shelf space in my apartment. 

 

I want to at least get my books up to 8 a month - two a week. Hopefully I can do that in December.

 

 

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review 2017-11-22 02:40
This Heist Story on the Moon should earn Weir more fans (if that's possible)
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

"You all right? You look kind of pale."

I was about ready to puke. Lying to Dad transported me back to my teen years. And let me tell you: there's no one I hate more than teenage Jazz Bashara. That stupid bitch made every bad decision that a stupid bitch could make. She's responsible for where I am today.

"I'm fine. Just a little tired."

We'll get back to older-than-teenaged Jazz Bashara in a minute, I just wanted to start with that . . .

 

Can you imagine the pressure that Andy Weir was under following the success of The Martian? Just knowing that whatever he put out would be compared to that phenomenon would cripple most people. Proving that he has the Right/Write Stuff, he was able to put the pressure aside and give us Artemis. I'd like to say I'm not going to compare the two, but why lie to you?

 

Artemis is the first city on the Moon -- made up of 5 domes with levels of living quarters under the surface (by the way, we get some nifty maps in the front of the city and its environs), a small city (for now) that's primarily a tourist destination. There's a great pseudo-currency set up to handle things, and a history and raison d'être for Artemis -- just part of the wonderful job of world-building that Weir did. Papers should be written about how well he did here, by people who have more time than me. Not only did Weir do a great job of building this world, but he introduces it very well -- showing us what he created while introducing us to Jazz Bashara, so we get to know them together. A lot of Hard SF comes across as slow, ponderous, and unapproachable -- Weir manages to avoid all that and actually entertains.

 

It's not as essential to like Jazz as it was Mark Watney to enjoy this book, but it's close. She's a young woman of Saudi descent who grew up on Artemis, and rebelled against the high hopes that her father and teachers had for her and became a petty criminal. Primarily Jazz is a smuggler -- getting those creature comforts for residents of the Moon that just can't get past Artemisian security. She's crafty, wily, angry, and uses profanity in an incredibly creative way (we don't have to endure most of that, we're just treated to the occasional profane neologism, e.g., "fusamitch"). I think you can still think she's an annoying little twit who should be arrested and enjoy the book -- but it's so much easier to just like her.

 

Once we meet Jazz and are treated to some pretty cool world-building, Artemis stops being so much a SF novel and focuses on being a Heist/Caper/Thriller (in a hard SF setting). One of Jazz's regular customers approaches her with a job that she can't turn down -- it'll make her rich, allow her to pay off all her debt and leave her with a lot of money. She almost has to take the job. Being a heist/caper novel, you know things will get off to a good start and then things will go horribly awry. That's exactly what happens. The fun is watching things go awry and then watch her (and her eventual allies) react.

 

Artemis is a pretty small city and it doesn't take too long for word to spread that she was behind the Big Thing (even if she denies it every chance she gets). The company she tried to interfere with is not the kind of group you want to interfere with, they're not really that concerned with things like "criminal law" when it comes to protecting their investments. Nor it doesn't matter if the small law enforcement force is small -- so small there's only one man -- if that one man starts investigating you the instant something wrong happens. The list of "the usual suspects" doesn't necessarily begin and end with Jazz, but she's sure a large component of that list.

 

So Jazz is on the run from her victims, the fuzz, and she's still needs to finish the job. Meanwhile the body count starts to get higher and the pressure is mounting. We're told that young Jazz had a lot of potential -- she might even technically be a genius -- and in watching her think on her feet, adapting to the catastrophes that keep befalling her and her schemes we get to see just why that was said about her. I don't think it's wrong to see shades of Slippery Jim diGriz here (but she's not nearly as experienced, or as devoted to crime, as The Stainless Steel Rat).

 

There are other characters, this isn't just the Jazz show -- she interacts with other people (allies, enemies, antagonists, potential victims, friends -- a father that I'm not sure what group he belongs in) -- again, compare to Watney. This is done really well -- there's a spark to all of them, they're all well-rounded and fleshed-out. The emotions are real and relatable, the setting might be as alien as you can get for most of us -- but at the end of the day, people are people and we all want pretty much the same things.

 

One thing we all know that Andy Weir does well is the science. And I'm not just talking about the big things like how to construct a lunar city or how to power it, etc. There's all the little touches, like:

Lunar dust is extremely bad to breathe. It's made of teeny, tiny rocks, and there's been no weather to smooth them out. Each mote is a spiky, barbed nightmare just waiting to tear up your lungs. You're better off smoking a pack of asbestos cigarettes than breathing that shit.


or the 4-second lag time for Internet traffic to route down to Earth and back before you get your search results., or the efforts of Jazz's bartender friend to successfully reconstitute whiskey.

 

I feel like I could keep going (I've only used half of my notes at this point), but my point's been made, why belabor it? This SF/Thriller/Heist with a lot of heart and a lot of laughs is not just a great follow-up to The Martian, but a great read period. One of my favorites of the year, and I'm already looking forward to rereading it soon.

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review 2017-11-20 21:57
Artemis
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

What's so cool about this book?

 

This book has a moon heist. Yes, I said a moon heist.

 

It has a diverse cast with a  Saudi Arabian woman as your hero and main character. She's a smart-mouthed smuggler. She is highly intelligent, witty and makes some colossally stupid yet entertaining mistakes. 

 

This book has camaraderie, humor, action. It's just a fun read. 

 

Oh did I mention the guy who wrote The Martian wrote it?

 

Definitely recommend.  

 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion that I found this to be a great science fiction caper is my own. 

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