Artemis by author Andy Weir
Spoiler Free Review
Artemis is science fiction author Weir’s follow up to the success of The Martian. It feels like a rush job in order to capitalize on the popularity of his first novel.
He essentially plugs the main character of The Martian into a new story, slaps she/her pronouns on him and calls her Jazz. Jazz is a perfect example of “men writing women.” She in no way rang true to me as a female or even just a regular human.
She’s crass, lazy, sarcastic, and apparently a total slut. Everyone in town, including her Muslim father, treats her like a whore and apparently she’s just cool with this. It reeks of nOt LiKE thE OtHeR GirLS. She doesn’t behave or talk like any women I’ve ever known.
Now, of course there are women out there who curse, make dirty jokes, sleep around, and have otherwise “unladylike” characteristics. But you know when you read it that it’s a woman. My initial notes in the first chapter of this book labeled her as he because I had no idea.
Here are some tells:
- Women do not wash their hair every day. This is highly unusual behavior for most women.
- Women are far less likely than men to say things like: “a fart in the wind,” “looked at him like he had a dick growing out of his forehead,” and describe anything in reference to boobs and genitalia. That’s a boy thing.
- Women do not usually continuously reaffirm that they are women.
Now, don’t @ me with a bunch of gender philosophy. I know everyone is different and gender is a social construct and blah blah blah. The point is that Weir seems to be pretty unfamiliar with how to write from a female perspective and should’ve just not. It would’ve made for a much less annoying book.
On to the general plot of Artemis. It’s supposed to be a moon heist/crime caper but it mostly just doesn’t make a ton of sense and has a lot of holes. Weir adds in a lot of his trademark scientific explanations but it just makes Jazz even more frustrating as a criminal instead of a stronger member of her society. She’s hyper-intelligent but has no interest it using it for anyone but herself.
Jazz’s motivation for taking on a big risky crime caper is simply that she wants money. She has no other drive, just to be rich.
This is very thin motivation and pretty unrelatable. Yes, we all want more money but it’s usually for some other ultimate goal. She just wants the money in her account.
Overall, I found the book tedious and cringey. Weir should stick to writing what he knows instead of attempting to diversify his novel when he clearly has no experience with human females or other minorities.
2/5 space dwellers 👩🏾🚀👩🏾🚀
Artemis Book Summary
Artemis opens with our protagonist, Jazz, running for her life as she is leaking oxygen on the surface of the moon. She races to the airlock and manages to get there just before it’s too late. Unfortunately, this mishap has caused her to fail her EVA guild test. She wants desperately to join and be able to take on a better job of doing moon tours for tourists but failing to properly inspect equipment disqualifies her for this round.
She’s in the low class of moon city, Artemis. She works as a porter and has big dreams of being wealthy. Nothing else, she just wants to have money without having to really do anything for it. Why? Comfort. That’s it. Her motivations through the whole book are extremely thin.
She’s lived on the moon since she was 6 years old and doesn’t know anything else. Her family is from Saudi Arabia but they immigrated to a new life in space. Her father is Muslim but she has abandoned this lifestyle in exchange for one that makes no sense.
She’s very smart and inventive but extremely lazy. She works as a porter so that she can more easily smuggle illegal items in. There’s never any reason given as to why she never used her intellect for better things.
She is also crass, rude, sarcastic, generally mannish in mannerisms, and apparently known as the town whore. Her whole character is unlikable, and frankly, unrealistic.
She smuggles cigars in for a wealthy regular customer named Trond. He offers her a lot of money to take on a dangerous mission. He has a super-villain level plot of wanting to take the air of the city hostage so that he can get a new business deal using the oxygen he’s been hoarding.
This convoluted plan involves Jazz sabotaging an aluminum factory by destroying their harvesters. She sets about this goal and is doing relatively okay at it but she is caught mid mission. She manages to destroy 3 of the 4 harvesters before attempting to return but is double caught at the airlock.
The man who caught her is an old friend with whom she had a falling out. He agrees to stay quiet about her criminal activity but there are others who are on to her as well. She’s questioned by the man closest to law enforcement this town has and she refuses to give up Trond even though he explicitly told her that he would giver her up in a second to save himself. The book relies heavily of her being let go from situations with no consequences. Why? Plot reasons.
She was really holding out hope that Trond would give her that big payday. Unfortunately, he gets murdered so it doesn’t matter. She assumes that the murderer is after her next and begins to attempt to hide and get to the bottom of this.
She avoids being captured or murdered mostly by luck. She uses her wasted intelligence to follow clues and discovers that the administrator of the moon city is in on the crime plot. They explain a very complicated syndicate deal that essentially has to do with an Earth run mafia and them using the moon’s lighter gravity to develop important tech in the aluminum plant.
Jazz assembles a team to help her destroy more equipment to stop their evil plans. As they are destroying this equipment she is forced to rescue the boss of the aluminum plant because she doesn’t want any casualties. Noble.
They are returning to Artemis when they discover that everyone in the city has passed out. You see, the equipment they destroyed manufactured the air that the citizens breath. Melting this equipment caused a chemical reaction that released chloroform through all of the air ducts. Why did no one think that destroying the equipment that actively pumps air into the city might have bad consequences? We’ll never know.
In order to keep every single person on the moon from dying from this dumbass plan they need to find Trond’s oxygen stores. In the process of releasing this oxygen into the confines of the city Jazz needs to perform an act of martyrdom. This was my favorite part of the book. It allowed her to actually show some humility and thoughts of anyone beside herself.
However, that’s ruined when she miraculously survives. No one else died and everyone lives happily ever after. Basically. Jazz is paid the money by Trond’s orphan. She has to give half of it up as penance but doesn’t get deported. Then she goes right back to smuggling and still has the only goal of being rich.
So… nobody learned anything, nobody grew in any way, and everyone’s still stupid and lazy and shitty. Got it. Ugh, waste of time. The End.
2/5 space dwellers 👩🏾🚀👩🏾🚀
Please consider using the following amazon affiliate links to purchase this book, it’s at no extra cost to you and would really help me out, thanks!
For a better female led science fiction novel check out Off World Hotel & Resort