Artemisby Published 14 Nov 2017
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.
Seems to me that Andy Weir rushed to write this book.
Oh man, what a disappointment. And an even bigger disappointment that it won the science fiction category of the Goodreads Choice Awards. (Just because the author is popular.)
To be honest, I didn’t even realize Jazz Bashara was a woman until specific pronouns were used. That certainly did not take long, but even after I made that realization, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Jazz’s personality matched that of a man more.
But that’s probably because I’ve read other works by this author, works that included a male hero, and their voices sound really, really similar. Is it just me, though?
What awful writing. I can’t believe this is the same author who wrote THE MARTIAN. It’s like Andy Weir wrote everything that came to his mind, without even processing the information. Maybe if he’d done that, he would have realized that some of the things he wrote were truly, astonishingly offensive.
Some are going to say that he’s ‘‘keeping it real’’. You know, ‘‘telling it like it is’’, but all he’s doing is perpetrating stereotypes and racist ways of thinking, like him implying that a niqab is a mask that raises suspicion.* It’s just so wrong for him to say that.
I needed this book to be more serious and considerate of other nationalities and cultures and actually have a female character I could connect with, but I disliked Jazz profusely.
Goodbye, book. Do not take care. DNF.
* Jazz said, ''Great way to wear a mask without arousing suspicion'' (on page 74) and I thought she was being sarcastic, because of her personality and lack of ''It's a'' before the word ''great''. That was my first thought. Perhaps I'm wrong - it's very much possible - but the writing confused me at times.
Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
Apologies in advance. You're not gonna like what I have to say.
This is not the review I was expecting to write, but this is not the book I was expecting to read.
Andy Weir has successfully taken the one element I didn't like in THE MARTIAN and expanded on that until ARTEMIS is almost a chore to read. Major disappointment.
Remember our hero, Mark, in The Martian? His jokey, sarcastic personality started to grate on my nerves towards the end of the book. It's like he never quit with the relentless joking. Staring death in the face? Make a joke. Starving to death? Play some funny music. Ok, we get it! Mark is all about the comic relief. Why does it have to be so overdone and heavy-handed? I still enjoyed the book for all the old-school science fiction fun.
HOWEVER, after cutting Weir some slack for his forced characterizations in The Martian, I am not so ready to do the same with Artemis.
Guess what? Jazz, our female protagonist in Artemis, has almost the exact same personality as Mark from The Martian. Ugggggghhhhh. And that goofy, insulting character is even more annoying in a grown woman. Is that sexist? I hope not. I don't mean it to be.
Oh, and by the way, Jazz is the town tramp (with a heart of gold) because of her reputation for sleeping with so many guys. Hysterical.
The book starts out very fun to read. I really enjoyed reading how the city of Artemis came to be established on the moon. I loved reading about the actualities of lunar living with 1/6 of the gravity. I liked learning about the moon's surface, dust and atmosphere. There just wasn't enough of the moon facts for me.
Also, I'm beginning to question Andy Weir's imagination for the future. The moon inhabitants walk around and do all their business transactions on small computers that they carry. They pay for items and surf the internet and make calls on these "gizmos" as they are called. FASCINATING STUFF right here.
What there is plenty of:
Welding. Yes, welding. More than I ever want to know about welding.
Stupid middle-school humor that the very smart adults all seem to love.
Forced, unnatural dialogue.
Convoluted, crazy plot that never really makes sense.
Integral characters that are unexplained, because of one-note superficial writing.
After the first third of the book, I had to push through to finish it. Especially the middle part with all the welding. Take my advice and skim skim skim through the welding. The very end ramps up with some excitement, but not enough to make up of for the rest. Sad.
I would have liked more moonwalking, less welding. More thinking, less insulting. More imagination, less joking. More sci-fi, less lame comedy.
1 1/2 stars. I really wish I could say I liked this. A couple of years back, I gave in to the hype and read Weir's The Martian, and I have to say-- I loved it. The scary scenario of being stranded so far away from everything and everyone you know, the very high probability that Mark Watney wouldn't survive, his chirpy sense of humour that keeps him going... unfortunately,Artemis's plot is convoluted and less exciting. And Jazz Bashara is SO ANNOYING.
Look, I completely get why Mark Watney annoyed some readers and, given that Weir transplanted his personality and awkward sense of humour into Jazz, it might seem a bit contradictory to have a problem with her personality. But, you know, Mark's narration worked for me because I could imagine this man in the middle of space needing to stay peppy and chatty. His inner narrative is conversational because he is talking to himself - and the reader - to avoid losing all hope. With Jazz, it doesn’t work so well.
Even though Jazz is a woman in her twenties and Arab, she is basically Mark Watney. You can tell Weir really struggled to adapt his writing style in order to write from the perspective of that most alien of all species - THE WOMAN. Jazz has the sense of humour of a twelve-year-old boy. Her constant quips feel forced and unnecessary. Some of the comments she makes about her sex life and body are just... not funny. She's the local lunar tramp, which is, apparently, so hilarious. But her whole narrative is just plain awkward.
I turned my head inside the helmet, bit a nipple (try not to get excited), and sucked some water out.
“Billy, I’ve swallowed better-tasting stuff that came out of people.”
And what grown woman responds like this:
“What’s in there, anyway?”
“Porn, mostly. Starring your mom.”
The real problem for me, though, was that I could not get invested in this half-assed heist plot. I was bored out of my mind with the random talk of gangsters, smuggling, some scientific sabotage blah blah and - oh my god - the welding. Mark Watney talked science to explain how he was going to survive and feed himself on Mars; Jazz talks science to explain the mechanics of welding. I couldn't understand why we were supposed to give a damn about this heist, or the whole conspiracy that develops out of it. Who cares whether Jazz earns herself some slugs (lunar currency)? Who cares if that guy who I didn't give a shit about dies?
Weir takes some minor steps toward making the setting interesting, but then does nothing with it. This lunar colony is run by Kenyans, which is intriguing, but the culture is unmistakably American, and he never expands upon why or how Kenyans came to be controlling space travel. It is like a throwaway fun fact without context or explanation. The main story is also broken up with Jazz's letters to a Kenyan pen pal, starting when she is nine years old, but this never really goes anywhere and feels kind of pointless.
Also, the author chooses to have a Muslim (non-practicing) narrator, which could lead to important representation, but it's hard not to cringe when he addresses his narrative to a solely white, non-Muslim audience:
"Okay, you can stop pretending you know what a niqab is. It’s a traditional Islamic headwear that covers the lower face."
And then goes on to show Jazz using said niqab as a disguise while carrying out criminal activity. She pleasantly declares:
"Great way to wear a mask without arousing suspicion.”
It's just a very messy book overall, with a narrator that tries to be Mark Watney and fails, and a plot that tries to be compelling but isn't. Where the science added thrills and realism in The Martian, here it bogs the story down with boring detail. Weir should stick to survival stories with male narrators.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
When Artemis first came out I started seeing lots of one and two star reviews. Not wanting to spoil the book, I didn't read them very in depth. But, the star situation had me concerned as I was looking forward to this book as I enjoyed The Martian very much. Was I in for a big letdown?
Lucky for me, the book was a 4 star experience!
Thoughts on why others rated it so low - these are just guesses, I may be totally wrong:
It is not The Martian - sometimes when people are a huge fan of a book they are hoping for a same experience with the next book. While it had shades of The Martian with the space science and the sarcastic humor, it is not The Martian. For me, this was not a problem.
It is a comedy - this is a funny/silly book. Sarcastic, cynical, innuendo filled humor is rampant. If you are not a fan of borderline inappropriate jokes or cheesy puns, this is not the book for you. I liked it and thought it was hilarious!
Science/Technology - After The Martian, I think it would be expected, but this book has a lot of science/engineering and maybe that detracted too much from the story for some. It did not bother me.
It is a caper - in addition to the heavy science/engineering, there is also a fairly complex espionage/political intrigue element to the story line. Figuring out what exactly is happening and why is a bit difficult. For me, this was one part I can sort of agree seemed not quite as tightly woven as the rest of the book.
So, I liked it! Since other people I kind of expected to like this didn't, I am not quite sure who to recommend it to. But, if Weir keeps writing, I will keep coming back for more!
This book was great.
I admit to worrying that he wouldn't be able to keep up the quality from The Martian, and this is definitely a very different kind of tale from that, being half a heist novel but otherwise just a great adventure, but he pulls it off. Better than pulling it off, even. I love his characters and the feel of the moon city, Artemis, is vital and detailed.
But you know what the best part is?
I was thoroughly entertained during the entire read. The pacing is great, the reveals believable, the twists unexpected, and the action, delightful. I really couldn't ask for more when it comes to fun science fiction.
The moon is a great place to have an adventure. There's always the threat of being deported to Earth, the expensive living arrangements, and the law if you're a smuggler, which Jazz is, but there's always suit and engineering and environmental problems to worry about, too. And never forget greed and cupidity and the need to balance being a good person against a ton of intrigue. That's what we've got going on, here, and it's a real treat every step of the way.
No spoilers, but I can easily say that I had a great time reading it from the first to the last page. Nothing could have pleased me more. The read is solid as hell.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!