Thursday, October 04, 2018

Book Report: "Artemis"

ArtemisArtemis by Andy Weir
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Weir comes close at times but can't quite recapture the alchemy he conjured in "The Martian." He follows the template he set in that book, sticking us in the head of an ultra-nerdy protagonist who solves extraterrestrial problems with exhaustive knowledge of engineering and science.

The setting shifts from a botanist marooned on Mars to a smuggler attempting to make a big score by undermining a megacorporation on a moon colony.

But the formula doesn't quite translate. The hero this time out is a woman in her mid-20s who happens to think, talk and act like a geeky 45-year-old.

Her stream of consciousness and outlook are overly manufactured, undermining the humor and making her thoughts and actions seem forced and calculated, rather than natural. It also doesn't help that she tends to make awkward pop culture references to 20th and 21st century American pop culture, rather than futuristic moon culture in which she was raised.

It's also annoying how Weir gets hung up on the minutiae of scientific explanations, over-narrating scenes that easily could have been pared down.

I liked the book at the beginning, but it wore on me as it droned on. "Artemis" sputters rather than flows, ending as barren and desolate as the barren satellite on which it's set.

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