I was a bit afraid before starting Artemis if I’m totally honest. The Martian is one of my all time favourite books and I was worried that my love for that book would spoil this one. In that I would get so hyped I would be disappointed when the time came around to actually reading it because it didn’t live up to my expectations. This is a legitimate problem I have faced a number of times in the past, fortunately in this case it didn’t happen.
I think the best way to describe Artemis is it’s a heist story. Artemis is an established base on the Moon. Our main character Jasmine (Jazz for short) is a porter, basically a futuristic version of the DPD guy. Jazz is also a smuggler on the side and is asked to interfere with Artemis’ oxygen supply so that another company can take over the contract to supply it.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Andy Weir book without a heavy emphasis on actual science. Obviously I have no idea if it’s accurate or not but he goes into quite extensive detail about chemical reactions and how airlocks work. It’s actually very clever what he has managed to achieve by doing that.By basing this world in our reality as much as possible, by using real science and chemistry he has made the world feel real. You could almost believe this is what a base on the Moon would be like.
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The most noticeable thing about this book is how diverse it is. Science fiction has definitely got better when it comes to diversity but it still has a long way to go. The main character, Jazz, is from Saudi Arabia, she states that she isn’t religious though her father is. There is a little note about the problems of facing towards Mecca to pray while not on the same planet as it which I really liked.
The other characters come from a number of different parts of the world. It also features a number of LGBT characters and we see one person with a disability who actually chose to live on the Moon as it allowed her to be more mobile. I think the only thing I would have liked was to see Jazz with some female friends. Also there is nothing about the problems of having periods while wearing a spacesuit. Which I thought might get a mention considering the plot.
I will say that Artemis isn’t as good as The Martian but I think it would have to have been a really good book for me to enjoy it more. This book got me out of a four-month reading slump. I think that says more than any other platitudes I could write about it.