Book Review: Artemis

It’s been a long time since I didn’t finish a book, but look at me now, not finishing this book.

Heck, y’all. I tried.

Deciding to read Artemis in the first place was an easy choice. I loved The Martian, and the movie was just as exciting. Brilliant! Loved every minute! Oh, a second book by Andy Weir? Sign me up!

I started listening to it on audiobook, and Rosario Dawson does a wonderful job reading it aloud. Not as good as Wil Wheaton with Ready Player One, but entertaining nonetheless.

Artemis is the first city on the moon, a five-dome bubble with its own economy, culture, and law enforcement. The make-up and design of Artemis is every bit as interesting as the make-up and design of Mark’s temporary home on Mars in The Martian. Those elements, Andy Weir got right. The blow-your-mind Science stuff is woven into Artemis, just as you’d expect. All fascinating.

And that’s where my interest ends. Our protagonist is Jazz, a gritty, foul-mouthed young woman known for her sketchy behavior, and she’s been hired to perform a heist for some serious moon cash. She’s a low-income resident of Artemis, so her back-door dealings help fund her modest life on the moon, where she’s lived since she was six years old. Essentially, Artemis is a space caper. Plot-wise, this is fine.

The problem is this: Jazz is unlikable. She doesn’t even feel real. Jazz is a strong female character who is clearly written by a man who doesn’t know how to write strong female characters.

Granted, it’s hard to do, and I know the pendulum swings both ways. I am currently writing my third novel and two of the main characters are men. This is immensely more challenging than writing from a woman’s point of view, so I’m not trying to throw shade here.

But, dang. Jazz seems like the sort of woman men daydream about, the kind of women who do not exist. She’s gorgeous, flirty, and unbreakable. She participates in the kind of grab-assery that happens among groups of Alpha men. Her level of profanity is deafening, and it’s one of the reasons that I had to stop the audiobook (which is saying something since profanity in general doesn’t bother me).

Over and over, I kept thinking – Jazz sounds like a guy, but Andy Weir made her a girl, and I don’t like her.

Ultimately this led to me not caring whether or not she was successful in her heist. With three hours left on a nine-hour audiobook, I bailed. I moved on to Armada, Ernest Cline’s follow-up to Ready Player One, also narrated by Wil Wheaton. I’m loving every minute of it so far.

I made this post on the off-chance I revisit Artemis and give Jazz another try. For now though, Artemis is my first DNF of 2018.

Book Review: The Martian

The MartianAs I’ve chipped away at the 50 Books Challenge of 2015, I’ve made mental notes along the way counting the top five (or ten) books I’ve loved the most. I just finished The Martian this morning and I’m telling you with confidence that this one is definitely in the Top Five.

In short, botanist and astronaut Mark Watney was one of six crew members on a mission to Mars. While on the surface, a dust storm blew in and Watney suffered an injury that led his crew to believe he died. They evacuated, leaving his body behind.

But he wasn’t dead, and unlike any sort of distance we could imagine on Earth, one just can’t turn around and go back to Mars.

At nearly 400 pages, The Martian is an intense but often humorous rescue mission that is entirely and completely believable. As people on Earth and in space scramble to find a way to rescue him, Watney crafts his own makeshift Martian home with the intention to survive until someone comes back to get him – whenever that might be. Through his almost daily logs, readers watch as he puts his botanist skills to use and calculates exactly how many sols (Martian days) he has until he’s run out of options, all while listening to disco, watching reruns of Threes Company, and reading Agatha Christie (pilfering his crew mates’ personal items).

There’s a lot of math, but don’t let that deter you, because even after he’s tried to explain himself to us in space language he boils the situation down to language we can all understand. Only a few times did my eyes glaze over.

Plot wise, the story is spot on. The tension builds, it hangs, it pulls and tugs. The characters are classic and true. I hope the movie cast reflects this.

Speaking of, unless you’re totally out of touch, you know the movie version is out in theaters and I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews. Now that I’ve finished seeing The Martian in my imagination, I’m ready to see it on the big screen. If the cinematography in The Martian is anything like Interstellar, then it must be seen in the theater.

Buy The Martian here.