About The Book
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.
Back in March 2015 I read The Martian by Andy Weir. It was our book club choice and was a book none of us had really heard of, I loved it and it was generally a hit at book club too. A few months later the film version of the book hit the cinemas, starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott it was a brilliant adaptation, Matt Damon played Mark Watney perfectly and it was one of the few times I haven’t ranted my way through a film not doing justice to a book. When I read that Andy Weir had a new book coming out called Artemis, that was set on the moon and the protagonist was a kick-ass woman I knew I just had to get my grubby mitts on it.
It is very difficult to categorise Artemis, it is set on the moon in its only city called, er, Artemis, population 2,000 and is set around 70 years or so from now so you’d think it was a ‘just’ a sci-fi novel, right? Wrong. It is so much more than that. It is action packed, explores social and moral consciences, politics and corruption and is a whole lot of fun. The protagonist is Jazz Bashara, a witty, sparky, ballsy young woman who is probably one of my favourite characters of the year. She is a smuggler, bringing in contraband like cigars for the rich and powerful of Artemis. Estranged from her dad she is eking out a living and trying desperately to get a job as an EVA Master so she can earn more money and her home is a “capsule domicile”, also known as a coffin. It may be on a different planet and 70 years in the future for inequality is still rife. Artemis has splendid hotels, fancy restaurants, opulent apartments with housekeepers and then rooms with only a bed and a shelf inhabited by people whose only food is Gunk (an extremely cheap food grown in vats on the moon).
I really loved the descriptions of the moon and the city of Artemis, it is detailed and vivid and I desperately want to visit there. Andy Weir does a wonderful job of creating this world, the attention to detail and the way the practicalities of living on the moon are explained are brilliant. I especially liked the descriptions of moving around the city as walking is completely different due to the moon having 1/6th of Earth’s gravity meaning that you can jump higher, run faster and propel yourself off walls to get around.
I also really enjoyed the explorations of Jazz’s relationships both with her estranged father and with her friends. She has a pen pal named Kelvin who lives on earth and they have been communicating via e-mail since they were young. The messages between them provide us with Jazz’s innermost thoughts and provide back story to explain why she is the way she is and what has led her to become a smuggler.
Her life as a smuggler leads her into dangerous and precarious situations and she becomes embroiled in the corruption on the moon. She sees the dark underbelly, the political manoeuvres by powerful people and Jazz unwittingly becomes a pawn in somebody else’s game.
Artemis is a wonderful book which is much more than a sci-fi novel. Jazz is probably one of my favourite characters of the year, I loved her ballsy and kick-ass attitude and how she was in control of her life and destiny. The city of Artemis was wonderfully described (when can I visit please?) and the science was detailed yet accessible. Full of humour and unexpectedly emotional Artemis was pretty wonderful and one of my favourite books of 2017.
Artemis is published today by Penguin Random House, Ebury Publishing and can be bought here. Thanks to both the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review – it was my pleasure.