Artemis takes place in the first city ever built on the moon and the book takes the title of that city. Once again Weir lays out a plausible, near-future technological invention---a city on the moon inhabited by a bunch of techie and smart people able to survive in a super inhospitable environment. Because Artemis is a city there is a government, of sorts, laws and guiding rules. One slip by anyone could mean the death to all. There is also poverty. Workers born on or brought to Artemis for that role, often are quite poor, earning only enough to survive and to sleep in a tiny sleeping chamber not big enough to stand up in. Jazz Bashara is one of those poor workers. But she is also quite ingenious and has worked out a system for getting black market products from Earth and then selling these items for a hefty profit. Her ingenuity comes to the attention of a man who wants her help in positioning himself to take over the oxygen production on the moon. This could make him a tiny sum and he is willing to pay dearly for her help. But before Jazz can do anything, the man is murdered and Jazz knows she is next. Where can she hide? Her plight becomes even more desperate when she learns that it is the Brazilian mob that is after her.
I liked, not loved, Artemis. Weir is so impressive in his imaginings of ways to use current technology that would make places like a city on the moon possible in the future. Every scene in the book played out with that little voice in my head saying, "this might be possible." The problem with the book seemed more with the flatness of the characters and though there was a survival episode similar to that in The Martian, it lacked the tension. Perhaps Weir should stick to future tech novels and avoid writing murder mysteries. N.K. Jemisin, writing for the NYT "What's New in Science Fiction and Fantasy" says this about the book, "this is a 300-page film pitch that, like its predecessor, will probably be more appealing after it goes to Hollywood (NYT). Hmm. That is not very complimentary, but I agree Artemis will make an excellent movie.
My husband and I listened to the audiobook, read by Rosario Dawson, on one of our many road trips this spring/summer. My comment at the time was, "This one may be even a little too science-geeky for me." My husband liked/appreciated the book more than me. All in all I was glad I read it and experienced the listening experience. So, yes, I do think if you read and liked The Martian, you should read this book, too. Let me know what you think of it.
Past Due Book Reviews