Justin Tadlock

Artemis

Cover of Artemis, a novel, featuring the moon.

Artemis, by Andy Weir, follows a foul-mouthed, 20-something Saudi woman named Jazz. The story takes place in the only city on the moon, from which the book is named. She grew up without a mother, spent her childhood around welders and other laborers, and lives in the dregs of the city. After a falling out with her father, she got a job as a porter, using it to smuggle contraband into the city.

When one of her wealthy clients (the sort of folks who can afford to have things shipped to the moon) asks her to take on a new job, she turns him down. But, when she hears how much money she’ll be making, 1,000,000 slugs (the currency on Artemis), she accepts without blinking. This leads to a series of events that will forever change the most charming little city on the moon.

Weir knows something about humans that some people may find hard to stomach. By the time humanity has created the first 2,000-person city on the moon, we won’t be living in a utopia where everyone lives by today’s politically-correct standards. Just because we’ve advanced technologically doesn’t mean that we’ve changed our ways. On Artemis, each race still has their own little sections where they stick together. The wealthy have lavish property that could house hundreds while the little people live in the bowels of the city, many in units dubbed “coffins.” Oh, and the mob launders money through one of the largest businesses on the moon.

Jazz’s ultimate goal in life is to make more money so that she can live like a queen, at least relative to her current situation. Pretty much on par for what most poor folk aspire to. And, she’s willing to break a rule or two or ten to get there.

I made the mistake of reading a few other reviews of Artemis. It seems that people either love it or hate it. But, many of the people hate it because they don’t believe a woman and her gay, ex-friend can behave in the way that these characters behave. I find these reviewers to be narrow-minded people at best. If you try to group everyone in boxes, you’ll be sorely disappointed when you get smacked upside the head with the truth—humans are vastly different. The only boxes that we fit in are our own. People come in all shapes and forms. And, sometimes, these characters from their own, unique boxes make their way into novels.

Jazz is crass, rude, and makes childish sex jokes. If that’s not your cup of tea, so be it. But, step outside of your bubble sometime.

Not every book needs to cater to far Left, holier-than-thou political correctness.

I shouldn’t need to qualify that statement, but I say it as a self-proclaimed liberal. If the characters hurt your sensitivities, grow the fuck up. Otherwise, go back to reading YA romances where everyone lives happily ever after and the characters have about as many dimensions as a sheet of paper.

Frankly, I’m tempted to add a star to my own rating because the book pissed off a bunch of pansies who believe that women should only speak and act like a princess. I won’t. But, I’m still tempted.

Sorry, I went off on a tangent for a bit there.

If you go into this book looking for something akin to Asimov or Philip K. Dick, you won’t find it. Looking for an earth-shattering, mind-altering analysis of what it means to be human? Nope. Not here either.

But, if a heist-like adventure on the moon that follows a woman who may as well have grown up with sailors is your thing, it’s worth a read.

I’ve never read Weir’s The Martian, but I watched the movie. It’s what led me to pick up this novel. I was looking for something different and wasn’t initially in the right frame of mind for this story. Still, something was lacking. The work didn’t move me in any way. I wasn’t particularly invested in any of the characters. At times, the humor was smart and snuck up on you, but most of it was too on the nose.

Part of me just kept reading to see what kind of craziness was coming next for Jazz. Not every book need be some life-changing affair. Some works can be purely lowbrow entertainment.

⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.

Like reading my book reviews or just feeling generous? Feel free to grab something from my Amazon Wish List. I'll be happy to review it here on the blog after I read it. I'm always looking for friends on Goodreads too.