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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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text 2017-11-17 16:54
Friday Reads 11.17.2017
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir
Cheddar Off Dead (An Undercover Dish Mystery) - Julia Buckley
Mustard Seed - Laila Ibrahim
Updraft - Fran Wilde
Yellow Crocus - Laila Ibrahim
Cloudbound (Bone Universe) - Fran Wilde

Happy Friday!

 

So here are the books I am reading this weekend into next week.

 

I am about 40% done with Artemis and I must say I am enjoying it. At first, I felt the "voice" of his MC was too similar to his other character in The Martian.  I still feel this waybut I've gotten over it and am along for the ride.  

 

Cheddar off Dead is a cozy mystery that is enjoyable - I really like Julia Buckley. It's the second in the series.

 

Mustard Seed is the sequel to Yellow Crocus. If you are a historical fiction fan, Yellow Crocus is a well-reviewed excellent book in that genre. I read it a couple of years ago on a whim and the plot still stands out in my memory. I gave it five stars. 

 

Updraft is a re-read and I will follow it up with the other two in the trilogy. I loved Updraft and gave it 5 stars when I first read it. A beginning that strong must be followed up on.  Now that the final book is out, I look forward to finishing the story. 

 

I started Birdcage Walk and couldn't get through it. Still love the cover though. 

 

Not too many other plans this weekend. Getting together with some friends, chillin, reading.

 

Happy Reading! 

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text 2017-11-10 14:49
Friday Reads 11.10.2017
Between Two Fires: A Novel - Mark Noce
Dark Winds Rising: A Novel (Queen Branwen) - Mark Noce
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

Happy Friday!

 

This weekend will be COLD. At least Saturday will be. So I hope to get some reading in. No real plans which is fine by me. My hubby, Kindle, hot chocolate, and slow cooker are all I need this weekend. Oh and Dr. Who. We have to be caught up before the Christmas special. 

 

Anywho, I am re-reading Between Two Fires before starting the sequel which is due out next month. I was able to get a copy of Dark Winds Rising through Netgalley. This re-read proves I am one moody reader. I remember feeling mildly enthused about Between Two Fires. This time around I cannot put the thing down. I read half of it in one day. I had planned on reading the sequel next month but I figured I will ride this binge and just segue into the sequel this weekend.  Oh and Mark Noce needs to shake the hand of whoever does his covers. LOVE THEM. 

 

If I'm really ambitious I will dive into Artemis. I was a huge fan of The Martian- the book and the movie - so I know Weir has a gift for riveting sci-fi. Looking forward to reading it. 

 

I hope you guys have great weekends and I look forward to reading your reviews during reading breaks. 

 

Happy Reading! 

 

 

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review 2017-10-21 18:31
Artemis
Artemis - Andy Weir

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I loved “The Martian”, so of course I was bound to request this one. To be fair, I didn’t enjoy it as much, but it was still a good, fun read in several ways.

I found the characters in general likeable enough, in definite ‘shades of grey. The ‘heroes’ of this story are seldom all white, and go about their business with good intentions and shady ways. The businessman who moved to the moon to help his ailing daughter, but is a crook on the side. The economist who almost single-handedly set a whole country as the only entry point to the Moon, and won’t shy away from closing eyes on criminal deals as long as they help keeping Artemis afloat. The city’s policeman (Artemis has something like 2,000 inhabitants, minus the tourists, so Rudy does the job) who’s keeping order by breaking a few arms at times if he deems it’ll be a better punishment than prison. And, of course, Jazz Bashara herself, porter by day, smuggler by night, of sorts, running her little operation with no one the wiser.

(Granted, not everyone is a complete a-hole here, Jazz’s father for instance is a law-abiding citizen who doesn’t want anything to do with his daughter’s shady side; on the other hand, Jazz clearly has him to thank for her own ethical side, the one that makes her never renege on a deal, and puts her in the (trustworthy criminal’ category, so to speak.)

The story itself starts in a fairly typical way for heist stories: Jazz needs money, her criminal activities aren’t bringing in as much as she needs, nor quickly enough, so when a dangerous but particularly juicy deal comes her way, she shoves her qualms in her pocket and accepts it. Only it turns out she’s bitten more than she could chew, and finds herself embroiled in an almost conspiracy, forcing her to gather all her wits, resources and allies in order to find a way out. All in all, the kind of story I like to read: maybe not the most original, but with high potential for action, fun, quirky characters, and, well, capers.

There isn’t as much technical detailing in this novel as there was in “The Martian”, so it’s definitely not hard to follow. The whole caper(s) resting on scientific knowledge and using the moon’s gravity and peculiar sides to work within the plan, that was really interesting for me. Maybe the welding-related descriptions were a little too long at times, though; at least, I didn’t care as much about those as I did about other scientific explanations.

I liked the overall diversity in Artemis. This small city has, from A to Z, a multicultural side that I think worked well, and didn’t rest on the usual ‘Western world colonises space’ (Kenya and its space company holds the entry door to the moon, Artemis’s administrator is a Kenyan woman, the policeman is Canadian, Jazz and her father are from Saudi Arabia, many of Jazz’s contacts are Vietnamese or Slavic, etc.).

I wasn’t totally on board with the way Jazz told the story, though. The wit didn’t work as well here as it did in “The Martian”, mostly, I’d say, because there’s too much of a dichotomy between Jazz’s ‘voice’ and her age: sometime in the middle of the story, we learn she’s 26, but from her tone, attitude, expressions and way of being, I would’ve thought her late teens/20, and not older. There -is- an immature side to her character, so in itself it’s not like her voice doesn’t fit at all, yet it didn’t feel ‘right’ either.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars. Disregard the author’s previous best-seller, take this story as it comes, and enjoy the heist parts, the assembling of Jazz’s motley crew, the description of Artemis, and the outings on the Moon in an EVA suit that can spring a leak just any time due to the characters attempting bold moves and daring rescues.

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