A Past Goodreads Choice Awards Winner

Artemis, by Andy Weir, was published in 2017.

It won the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Science Fiction.

The first sentence is: “I bounded over the gray, dusty terrain toward the huge dome of Conrad Bubble.

Artemis

Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara lives in Artemis, the first (and so far, only) city on the moon. She is 26 years old. She is the story’s narrator.

Artemis consists of five, half-underground domes (referred to as “bubbles”), plus other structures. The bubbles are named “Conrad”, “Bean”, “Shepard”, “Armstrong”, and “Aldrin”.

Artemis is an expensive city to get to and an expensive city to live in. Jazz is not rich, however. She’s one of the “little people” – the city’s working class. “You don’t expect J. Worthalot Richbastard III to clean his own toilet, do you?

Artemis is a vacation destination. Aldrin Bubble contains luxury hotels, casinos, and shopping plazas. A train takes tourists 40 kilometers to the Apollo 11 Visitors Center. But there is nothing luxurious about Jazz’s sleeping quarters.

Artemis is called a city, but it’s really a small frontier town, population 2,000. It has a volunteer fire department, a security team instead of a police department, and a sick bay instead of a hospital.

Jazz’s back story is told through a series of letters, starting when she was nine, with a pen pal in Kenya.

Jazz works as a porter and, to supplement her income, occasionally smuggles contraband.

Then Jazz is offered a lucrative job. It’s more illegal than smuggling, and a lot more dangerous. If she’s caught, she could be deported to her birth country of Saudi Arabia. Jazz has been living on the moon since she was six. She couldn’t survive the stronger gravity of Earth without extensive physical therapy.

(Artemis is too small to have a prison, so deportation is the sole punishment for major crimes. Since the lunar gravity is too low to raise a healthy baby, Artemis is populated entirely by immigrants and tourists.)

Artemis, the novel, is a crime caper on the moon.

It’s obvious that a lot of research and thought went into this novel. Andy Weir tells us how glass can be made without sand, how to face Mecca during prayer when you’re on the moon, why airlocks would, logically, be locked from the inside but not from the outside, and why the internet on the moon would be so slow.

I enjoyed Artemis. Parts of it were a little too lone-rebel-against-an-evil-corporation clichéd for my taste, but I thought it was a very good book.

Why I chose this book:

I’d heard of Goodreads, but I wasn’t familiar enough with it to know about its Choice Awards. An internet search cured that.

I absolutely loved Andy Weir’s first book, The Martian. (I wasn’t thrilled with the movie adaptation – I felt it lost too much of the novel’s quirky geek humor.) So I was excited to discover that Artemis was a Goodreads Choice Awards winner.

I learned that the novel was on the shelves of several of Seattle Public Library’s branches, including Capitol Hill. For a book less than a year old, and a recent Goodreads Choice Awards winner, that concerned me. I took a chance and picked it up on my way home from work one evening.

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