What happens when a computer programmer tries to write a full-length novel from the point of view of a 20 something year old girl on the moon? You get killer lines like this:
“Porn, mostly. Starring your mom.”
“You are unmarried and have sex with many men.” “Yes, I’m quite the harlot."
"The city shined in the sunlight like a bunch of metallic boobs."
“Listen, assholes,” he said. “I’m too gay to enjoy this catfight.”
Yeah, the lines are taken out of context, but context doesn’t make them any better. I picked up Artemis knowing full well the book was full of obnoxious dialogue and one-dimensional characters. In spite of this, deep down I was hoping there would be enough of the nerdy exploits that made Andy Weir’s freshman novel so delightful. Regrettably, it was not the case.
To understand why the book failed I think it’s important to understand how it was created. Andy Weir wanted to write a book which took place on the first non-earth city. Weir settled on a colony located on the moon, and thus Artemis was born. Great detail was given into how Artemis was constructed such as what resources would be needed to construct the facility or how it would sustain the oxygen supply. Once the city was fully thought out the author began to develop the story, and even then the story seemed like nothing more than a vehicle to describe every inch of the moon city in detail.
The details were released in a steady stream of problem solving in the same vein that made “The Martian” a smashing success. In trying to determine the best way to cause massive destruction to a series of oversized vehicles our heroine needs to find out how heat from batteries is dissipated in a vacuum. Since there is now air to carry away the heat, the vehicles used a wax casing, because it takes a huge amount of heat energy to melt wax. The melted wax is then cooled back down when the vehicle returns to its home port. This is where the book shines, and is where Weir should keep his focus on his next novel.
The plot is a creative twist on corporate espionage and would have been compelling with stronger characters. For those who are interested in the book I suggest waiting for the movie to come out. If Artemis gets the same silver screen treatment as The Martian it’s going to be one of the best films of the decade.
Did you read Artemis? Leave a comment!