A few years back – sometime around the release of the film – I read Andy Weir’s debut novel The Martian. It was exactly what you would expect from a science fiction novel, and I loved it. From the technical science, to the feelings of isolation and the inventive survival strategies that kept poor, stranded Mark Watney alive. I was hooked on the suspense and comedy quips, and you can read the full review of The Martian here.
It should therefore come as no surprise that I was thrilled on discovering that Andy would soon be releasing a second sci-fi novel, Artemis. However, at the time of its release money was tight, so the book has been sitting on my to-be-read list for what feels like forever. But finally, over ten months after its release I’ve obtained the e-book of Artemis, on loan from my local library.
Initially I was really excited to dive in to this fictional story, set in the first city built on The Moon, Artemis. However, this is probably the most interesting aspect of the book: the detailed description of what life would look like if mankind colonised The Moon, is exactly as science fiction fanatics would probably expect; Giant half-sphere shaped bubbles surrounding breathable cities interconnected by narrow walkways.
Unfortunately, the rest of the book didn’t really impress me much. Rather than being a proper science fiction novel, it comes across as more of a crime thriller set in space, with some science haphazardly thrown around. A lot of the technical science is offered as background information from email conversations between the main character Jasmine and her penpal, Kelvin, which are confusingly inserted into the narrative at the end of chapters. This prevents the story from having a natural flow.
Also, I absolutely detested the ridiculous side story about the reusable condom, and its associated sexual content; therefore this is not for young adults. This bothered me so much that I almost gave up reading due to that one aspect alone, never mind the tedious dialogue, stereotyped characters or idiotic plot.
All in all I would give this a miss and with a rating of 1 out of 5 stars, I’m only glad I rented this book from the local library rather than having spent any money on it.
The Martian by Andy Weir