Genre: Science Fiction

Artemis by Andy Weir

Posted November 14, 2017 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Artemis by Andy WeirArtemis by Andy Weir
Published by Crown/Archetype on November 14th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Hard Science Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense
Pages: 320
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: NetGalley
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two-half-stars

Attack of the Moon Woman Who Made Bad Life Decisions.

Jazz has lived on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, for two decades. To make ends meet, she smuggles contraband to those willing to pay. One day, a rich client has an intriguing request. He needs her help to sabotage Artemis’s sole aluminum company so that he can enter the aluminum business. This is far beyond any criminal act that she’s performed before, but he makes her an offer she can’t refuse: one million slugs (Artemisian money). Four days later, Jazz’s life is in danger and she’s on the run. Her initial suspicions were correct. This goes much deeper than gaining a controlling stake in the lucrative aluminum industry.

Jazz and her father moved from Saudia Arabia to the Moon when she was six-years-old. Now she’s twenty-six-years-old and in a bit of a rut. She and her father have a contentious relationship because of a mishap that happened when she was sixteen. He wanted her to be a welder like him, but she has no interest in following in his footsteps. She’s a quick learner and an intuitive problem solver but has no ambition. Everyone is constantly telling her how much untapped potential she has and she’s sick of hearing it. She doesn’t want to spend her life working herself to death only to live paycheck to paycheck. She wants to make money quickly and painlessly. Her goal is to earn 416,922 slugs and purchase a living space in a wealthier area. She’d at least like a private bathroom!

•  I LOVED listening to Weir’s The Martian. Artemis didn’t wow me as much. I think it’s the difference between a person who has to work their way out of an unexpected life-and-death situation (Mark) and a person who repeatedly has to get themselves out of life-and-death situations of their own creation (Jazz). I also couldn’t identify with Jazz as much as Mark. Her initial assignment is mundane and I wasn’t invested in her money-making schemes or survival. Greed actually isn’t her driving motivation, but we don’t learn about that until much later.

Setting: The Moon city was awesome! It was interesting to learn about the methods they used to overcome the hostile environment. I also liked the parts about the society and how Earth problems transferred to the Moon.

Humor: Jazz has a snarky rapport with her neighbors and a self-deprecating sense of humor. She may be approaching thirty, but she’s really a teenage boy at heart. Here’s Jazz describing the multi-dome city of Artemis: “The city shined in the sunlight like a bunch of metallic boobs. What? I’m not a poet. They look like boobs.”  There are constant jokes about identity, breasts, sex, excrement, and prostitutes. By the end, I was so over the constant jabs at Jazz’s sex life. At one point, even her dad made a sex joke at her expense! (And what was the purpose of the reusable condom prototype, besides giving a Svoboda a reason to constantly inquire about her sex life? He asked about it so much that I was surprised it didn’t play a part in the end.) I know there were similar critiques of the humor in The Martian, so maybe my love of stories about people trying to get back home overrode any potential annoyances. But with Watney the humor felt like a pressure-relief valve—Jazz just felt like she was trying way too hard to be edgy: “I looked like a leper. Or a hooker who gave handjobs exclusively to lepers.” and “I’d have to blow the remaining two at the same time. Please don’t quote that last sentence out of context.” She did tell one total dad-joke that made me smile though:

“Don’t joke around. Not with airlock procedures.” 
“Sheesh, you really suck the air out of the room, you know that?”

Science: The technical explanations were so boring to me this time around. The intricacies of welding just aren’t as thrilling as potato farming! Who knew? Jazz constantly stops to explain concepts to the reader, so sometimes I felt like I was on a museum tour or reading a textbook.

• The expression super-duper was used three too many times. It’s a really juvenile term, so it really jolted me out of the story.

• My favorite part was the relationship between Jazz and her father: “Very few people get a chance to quantify how much their father loves them. But I did. The job should have taken forty-five minutes, but Dad spent three and a half hours on it. My father loves me three 366 percent more than he loves anything else.” Aww!! I loved how much pride he had in her!

This story was a slow-starter for me, but it became more of a page-turner once the stakes were raised about 1/3 of the way through.  I loved the setting and the plot reeled me in by the second half, but Jazz didn’t ring authentic to me. I think I may have enjoyed the audiobook more, especially since Rosario Dawson is the narrator. Artemis had its entertaining points, but I don’t think it will necessarily be a winner for all fans of The Martian.

I received this book for free from Netgalley and Crown Publishing. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It’s available now!

two-half-stars

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

Posted August 17, 2017 by Taryn in Reviews / 2 Comments
The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

Three astronauts embark on a seventeen-month training simulation in preparation for a real trip to Mars. During the hyper-realistic simulation, Prime Space will be studying the astronauts’ behavior and monitoring their communications with their families to see how they hold up on such a long mission. The goal is “not asking them to deal with […]

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

Posted March 16, 2017 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

Existence runs on energy, a fluid movement forward, yet we never stop seeking the point of origin, the Big Bang that set us upon our inevitable course. Jakub Procházka, the first Czech in space, is sent on a solo mission to collect dust from the mysterious Chopra cloud. The long journey through the cosmos gives […]

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Posted February 9, 2017 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

3.5 Stars. I read this at a very appropriate time because I’ve recently been getting the strange sensation that I’m living in the wrong timeline! 😉  I’m going to avoid specific details about the story’s path, but here’s a review summary for those who don’t want to know as little as possible: The tone is […]

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Posted January 10, 2017 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Kindred is the tale of a black woman who is repeatedly transported from her 1970s apartment to antebellum Maryland. The main reason I requested the adaptation was so that I would finally force myself to read the full-length novel. I’m so glad I did because it ended up being one of my favorites last year! […]

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Posted December 18, 2016 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
Kindred by Octavia Butler

Without any warning, Dana Franklin is thrust back through time and space. It’s 1976 and she’s settling into her new California apartment when she starts to feel dizzy. Her modern surroundings fade away and suddenly she’s in antebellum Maryland. She seems to be inextricably linked with Rufus Weylin, the young son of a plantation owner. […]

Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation by Ken Liu

Posted November 16, 2016 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation by Ken Liu

Expertly curated anthology of short speculative fiction by Chinese writers. I’ve really enjoyed reading short science fiction lately and Invisible Planets is a fantastic addition to my collection! It features thirteen short stories from seven Chinese writers, collected and translated by writer Ken Liu. Liu is upfront about the book’s limitations and he cautions the […]

Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein

Posted September 13, 2016 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein

If you love the TV series Black Mirror, this book is for you! This collection of thirteen short stories features a variety of imagined futures where technology has become so embedded in day-to-day life that it’s impossible to live without it. Many of the characters have grown so dependent on virtual reality that they’ve forgotten […]