Andy Weir’s new novel ‘Artemis’ misfires
Like a lot of broke, rudderless 20-somethings, Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara is trying to make enough money to climb out of a tiny apartment and into a better place and better job. Maybe even patch things up with her dad after her rebellious teenage years soured their relationship —and torched his workshop.
Accidentally setting fire to part of your blue-collar father’s business is fraught enough on Earth. A blaze on the first colony on the moon is another issue; it’s not like you can run outsideto escape.
“Artemis” (Crown, $27) is Andy Weir’s second novel after 2014’s best-seller “The Martian,” but his latest work struggles to find the kind of easy charismahis debut novel captured.
Before it became a hit, Mr. Weir self-published his first book, the story of a lone astronaut stranded on Mars who must rely on his wits, humor and lot and lots of potatoes in order to not only survive the Red Planet, but also find a way to communicate with NASA to return to Earth. What started as a series on his website became a self-published e-book. Soon, “The Martian” burned up the best-seller list and was adapted into the entertaining 2015 film starring Matt Damon and directedby Ridley Scott. The story was heavy on the science, showing how resourceful (and lucky) even the most highly trained astronaut would have to be to survive a hostile, alien environment.But Mr. Weir successfully integrated those details into a fun,fast-paced yarn.
Aself-professed “space nerd,” Mr. Weir returns to an extraterrestrial setting for “Artemis,” and this time, the story is a little closer to Earth — the first moon settlement of the late 21st century. The city is a series of interconnected double-hulled domes named for the first five men to walk on the moon: Armstrong, Aldrin, Conrad, Bean and Shepard. Each neighborhood is the stomping ground for starryeyed tourists, the insanely wealthy, and the workers who keepthe colony running.
Jazz, the narrator of “Artemis,” is a broke porter and small-time smuggler who is