Sarah reviews Artemisby Andy Weir, Crown Publishing Group, 2017, 305 pages, map included.

You may have heard of The Martian, a 2011 sci-fi hit that was made into a movie in 2015. If you loved that story, or if you generally enjoy space adventures with sailor-mouthed, tech-savvy female protagonists: you’ll love Artemis.  

Jazz Bashara is a criminal, not a hero; for years, she’s had a monopoly on smuggling contraband to her colony on the moon. Raised in space since she was six years old, Jazz is an expert at maneuvering in low gravity, an unregulated economy, and small-town politics. She speaks her mind—with many colorful embellishments—and feels no shame telling a stranger where to find a prostitute on the moon.  

Unfortunately, despite her flourishing smuggling business, Jazz is still poor. Her “apartment” is nothing more than a private bed, with a shared bathroom down the hall.  Her goal is to join the EVA masters, giving tours of the Apollo 11 landing site (and making good money!), but passing the test is taking longer than anticipated. When one of her regular customers offers her a chance to get rich quick, she jumps at the opportunity. A million slugs?! What wouldn’t she do for a million slugs? 

But it’s not that easy. The heist doesn’t go as planned, and there’s a murderer on the loose. The head of security is nosing around, always on Jazz’s tail. A powerful gang back on Earth has a competing interest in this scheme, and now Jazz is a target.  

This is a book where everything that could go wrong goes wrong. By the end of the story, more than money is on the line, and it’s up to Jazz to fix the mess she started. The dialogue is quick and witty, and constant suspense keeps the pages  turning. It was nominated on Goodreads as the best Science Fiction novel of 2017, and it definitely deserves it.