Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Quick thoughts on a new book

Artemis - Andy Weir

I was late to the party with Weir's The Martian but I loved it when I did get there. It was a gripping romp set in space with science that (mostly) worked, and it was in the 'hard' sci-fi camp rather than soft/fantasy end of the genre.

I was really excited when I got an advance copy of Artemis and, unlike so many of the reviews I've seen, I really liked the book. Yes the prose is clunky and there is a little too much 'Basil Exposition' in the plot but the story races ahead and I was swept away with it.  I'm not a fan of crime capers and this was the bit of the story that I enjoyed least but there was so much to enjoy...

  • A female lead
  • A female lead who is competent and tech savvy
  • A female lead who enjoys life, all of life - including sex and drinking without guilt.
  • Wonderful descriptions of what a moon base could look like.
So many of the reviews are calling Jazz things like "a middle aged man's fantasy", but I liked her. To me she seemed believable - she knew what she wanted and went for it without asking permission/feeling bad afterwards - oh that's right she behaved like a man whilst being resolutely female...hmmm I wonder if this is actually what many people dislike?

This book won't win prizes for prose (or possibly plot) but I found it a great read where the whole space set up worked and Jazz didn't fail because she was female but rather because she was too gung-ho and dangerous.  She definitely owed a lot more to the early American astronauts with her slightly reckless attitude rather than the much more cautious (and sensible) modern was of exploring.

Artemis was 'just' a romping good read, and in a week when the scary figures surrounding how few literary books are bought each year I think that it is a great that there are still some non chick lit/crime romping reads written.
I also liked the little jokes/word plays/assumptions that Weir led you towards - I'd never have thought that KSC stood for that.

My thoughts have got muddled as I write this - I know what I want to say... I liked the book a lot, and I hope that a base like Artemis is built on the moon eventually. I also liked a strong female character who was quite happy in her life choices. It might have been a bit stretched in terms of plot, and the language not outstanding but to be honest as long as people are enjoying the book then that's the most important thing. Enthusing, inspiring and entertaining - what more do you need from a book?

No comments:

Post a Comment