The best-selling author of The Martian returns with an irresistible new near-future thriller - a heist story set on the moon.
Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself - and that now her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.50(d)|
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I bounded over the gray, dusty terrain toward the huge dome of Conrad Bubble. Its airlock, ringed with red lights, stood distressingly far away.
It’s hard to run with a hundred kilograms of gear on--even in lunar gravity. But you’d be amazed how fast you can hustle when your life is on the line.
Bob ran beside me. His voice came over the radio: “Let me connect my tanks to your suit!”
“That’ll just get you killed too.”
“The leak’s huge,” he huffed. “I can see the gas escaping your tanks.”
“Thanks for the pep talk.”
“I’m the EVA master here,” Bob said. “Stop right now and let me cross-connect!”
“Negative.” I kept running. “There was a pop right before the leak alarm. Metal fatigue. Got to be the valve assembly. If you cross-connect you’ll puncture your line on a jagged edge.”
“I’m willing to take that risk!”
“I’m not willing to let you,” I said. “Trust me on this, Bob. I know metal.”
I switched to long, even hops. It felt like slow motion, but it was the best way to move with all that weight. My helmet’s heads-up display said the airlock was fifty-two meters away. I glanced at my arm readouts. My oxygen reserve plummeted while I watched. So I stopped watching.
The long strides paid off. I was really hauling ass now. I even left Bob behind, and he’s the most skilled EVA master on the moon. That’s the trick: Add more forward momentum every time you touch the ground. But that also means each hop is a tricky affair. If you screw up, you’ll face-plant and slide along the ground. EVA suits are tough, but it’s best not to grind them against regolith.
“You’re going too fast! If you trip you could crack your faceplate!”
“Better than sucking vacuum,” I said. “I’ve got maybe ten seconds.”
“I’m way behind you,” he said. “Don’t wait for me.”
I only realized how fast I was going when the triangular plates of Conrad filled my view. They were growing very quickly.
“Shit!” No time to slow down. I made one final leap and added a forward roll. I timed it just right--more out of luck than skill--and hit the wall with my feet. Okay, Bob was right. I’d been going way too fast.
I hit the ground, scrambled to my feet, and clawed at the hatch crank.
My ears popped. Alarms blared in my helmet. The tank was on its last legs--it couldn’t counteract the leak anymore.
I pushed the hatch open and fell inside. I gasped for breath and my vision blurred. I kicked the hatch closed, reached up to the emergency tank, and yanked out the pin.
The top of the tank flew off and air flooded into the compartment. It came out so fast, half of it liquefied into fog particles from the cooling that comes with rapid expansion. I fell to the ground, barely conscious.
I panted in my suit and suppressed the urge to puke. That was way the hell more exertion than I’m built for. An oxygen-deprivation headache took root. It’d be with me for a few hours, at least. I’d managed to get altitude sickness on the moon.
The hiss died to a trickle, then finished.
Bob finally made it to the hatch. I saw him peek in through the small round window.
“Status?” he radioed.
“Conscious,” I wheezed.
“Can you stand? Or should I call for an assist?”
Bob couldn’t come in without killing me--I was lying in the airlock with a bad suit. But any of the two thousand people inside the city could open the airlock from the other side and drag me in.
“No need.” I got to my hands and knees, then to my feet. I steadied myself against the control panel and initiated the cleanse. High-pressure air jets blasted me from all angles. Gray lunar dust swirled in the airlock and got pulled into filtered vents along the wall.
After the cleanse, the inner hatch door opened automatically.
I stepped into the antechamber, resealed the inner hatch, and plopped down on a bench.
Bob cycled through the airlock the normal way--no dramatic emergency tank (which now had to be replaced, by the way). Just the normal pumps-and-valves method. After his cleanse cycle, he joined me in the antechamber.
I wordlessly helped Bob out of his helmet and gloves. You should never make someone de-suit themselves. Sure, it’s doable, but it’s a pain in the ass. There’s a tradition to these things. He returned the favor.
“Well, that sucked,” I said as he lifted my helmet off.
“You almost died.” He stepped out of his suit. “You should have listened to my instructions.”
I wriggled out of my suit and looked at the back. I pointed to a jagged piece of metal that was once a valve. “Blown valve. Just like I said. Metal fatigue.”
He peered at the valve and nodded. “Okay. You were right to refuse cross-connection. Well done. But this still shouldn’t have happened. Where the hell did you get that suit?”
“I bought it used.”
“Why would you buy a used suit?”
“Because I couldn’t afford a new one. I barely had enough money for a used one and you assholes won’t let me join the guild until I own a suit.”
“You should have saved up for a new one.” Bob Lewis is a former US Marine with a no-bullshit attitude. More important, he’s the EVA Guild’s head trainer. He answers to the guild master, but Bob and Bob alone determines your suitability to become a member. And if you aren’t a member, you aren’t allowed to do solo EVAs or lead groups of tourists on the surface. That’s how guilds work. Dicks.
“So? How’d I do?”
He snorted. “Are you kidding me? You failed the exam, Jazz. You super-duper failed.”
“Why?!” I demanded. “I did all the required maneuvers, accomplished all the tasks, and finished the obstacle course in under seven minutes. And, when a near-fatal problem occurred, I kept from endangering my partner and got safely back to town.”
He opened a locker and stacked his gloves and helmet inside. “Your suit is your responsibility. It failed. That means you failed.”
“How can you blame me for that leak?! Everything was fine when we headed out!”
“This is a results-oriented profession. The moon’s a mean old bitch. She doesn’t care why your suit fails. She just kills you when it does. You should have inspected your gear better.” He hung the rest of his suit on its custom rack in the locker.
“Come on, Bob!”
“Jazz, you almost died out there. How can I possibly give you a pass?” He closed the locker and started to leave. “You can retake the test in six months.”
I blocked his path. “That’s so ridiculous! Why do I have to put my life on hold because of some arbitrary guild rule?”
“Pay more attention to equipment inspection.” He stepped around me and out of the antechamber. “And pay full price when you get that leak fixed.”
I watched him go, then slumped onto the bench.
I plodded through the maze of aluminum corridors to my home. At least it wasn’t a long walk. The whole city is only half a kilometer across.
I live in Artemis, the first (and so far, only) city on the moon. It’s made of five huge spheres called “bubbles.” They’re half underground, so Artemis looks exactly like old sci-fi books said a moon city should look: a bunch of domes. You just can’t see the parts that are belowground.
Armstrong Bubble sits in the middle, surrounded by Aldrin, Conrad, Bean, and Shepard. The bubbles each connect to their neighbors via tunnels. I remember making a model of Artemis as an assignment in elementary school. Pretty simple: just some balls and sticks. It took ten minutes.
It’s pricey to get here and expensive as hell to live here. But a city can’t just be rich tourists and eccentric billionaires. It needs working-class people too. You don’t expect J. Worthalot Richbastard III to clean his own toilet, do you?
I’m one of the little people.
I live in Conrad Down 15, a grungy area fifteen floors underground in Conrad Bubble. If my neighborhood were wine, connoisseurs would describe it as “shitty, with overtones of failure and poor life decisions.”
I walked down the row of closely spaced square doors until I got to my own. Mine was a “lower” bunk, at least. Easier to get into and out of. I waved my Gizmo across the lock and the door clicked open. I crawled in and closed it behind me.
I lay in the bunk and stared at the ceiling--which was less than a meter from my face.
Technically, it’s a “capsule domicile” but everyone calls them coffins. It’s just an enclosed bunk with a door I can lock. There’s only one use for a coffin: sleep. Well, okay, there’s another use (which also involves being horizontal), but you get my point.
I have a bed and a shelf. That’s it. There’s a communal bathroom down the hall and public showers a few blocks away. My coffin isn’t going to be featured in Better Homes and Moonscapes anytime soon, but it’s all I can afford.
I checked my Gizmo for the time. “Craaaap.”
No time to brood. The KSC freighter was landing that afternoon and I’d have work to do.
To be clear: The sun doesn’t define “afternoon” for us. We only get a “noon” every twenty-eight Earth days and we can’t see it anyway. Each bubble has two six-centimeter-thick hulls with a meter of crushed rock between them. You could shoot a howitzer at the city and it still wouldn’t leak. Sunlight definitely can’t get in.
So what do we use for time of day? Kenya Time. It was afternoon in Nairobi, so it was afternoon in Artemis.
I was sweaty and gross from my near-death EVA. There was no time to shower, but I could change, at least. I lay flat, stripped off my EVA coolant-wear, and pulled on my blue jumpsuit. I fastened the belt then sat up, cross-legged, and put my hair in a ponytail. Then I grabbed my Gizmo and headed out.
We don’t have streets in Artemis. We have hallways. It costs a lot of money to make real estate on the moon and they sure as hell aren’t going to waste it on roads. You can have an electric cart or scooter if you want, but the hallways are designed for foot traffic. It’s only one-sixth Earth’s gravity. Walking doesn’t take much energy.
The shittier the neighborhood, the narrower the halls. Conrad Down’s halls are positively claustrophobic. They’re just wide enough for two people to pass each other by turning sideways.
I wound through the corridors toward the center of Down 15. None of the elevators were nearby, so I bounded up the stairs three at a time. Stairwells in the core are just like stairwells on Earth--short little twenty-one-centimeter-high steps. It makes the tourists more comfortable. In areas that don’t get tourists, stairs are each a half meter high. That’s lunar gravity for you. Anyway, I hopped up the tourist stairs until I reached ground level. Walking up fifteen floors of stairwell probably sounds horrible, but it’s not that big a deal here. I wasn’t even winded.
Ground level is where all the tunnels connecting to other bubbles come in. Naturally, all the shops, boutiques, and other tourist traps want to be there to take advantage of the foot traffic. In Conrad, that mostly meant restaurants selling Gunk to tourists who can’t afford real food.
A small crowd funneled into the Aldrin Connector. It’s the only way to get from Conrad to Aldrin (other than going the long way around through Armstrong), so it’s a major thoroughfare. I passed by the huge circular plug door on my way in. If the tunnel breached, the escaping air from Conrad would force that door closed. Everyone in Conrad would be saved. If you were in the tunnel at the time . . . well, it sucks to be you.
“Well, if it isn’t Jazz Bashara!” said a nearby asshole. He acted like we were friends. We weren’t friends.
“Dale,” I said. I kept walking.
He hurried to catch up. “Must be a cargo ship coming in. Nothing else gets your lazy ass in uniform.”
“Hey, remember that time I gave a shit about what you have to say? Oh wait, my mistake. That never happened.”
“I hear you failed the EVA exam today.” He tsked in mock disappointment. “Tough break. I passed on my first try, but we can’t all be me, can we?”
“Yeah, I got to tell you, tourists pay good money to go outside. Hell, I’m headed to the Visitor Center right now to give some tours. I’ll be raking it in.”
“Make sure to hop on the really sharp rocks while you’re out there.”
“Nah,” he said. “People who passed the exam know better than to do that.”
“It was just a lark,” I said nonchalantly. “It’s not like EVA work is a real job.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Someday I hope to be a delivery girl like you.”
“Porter,” I grumbled. “The term is ‘porter.’ ”
He smirked in a very punchable way. Thankfully we’d made it to Aldrin Bubble. I shouldered past him and out of the connector. Aldrin’s plug door stood vigil, just as Conrad’s did. I hurried ahead and took a sharp right just to get out of Dale’s line of sight.
Aldrin is the opposite of Conrad in every respect. Conrad’s full of plumbers, glass blowers, metalworkers, welding shops, repair shops . . . the list goes on. But Aldrin is truly a resort. It has hotels, casinos, whorehouses, theaters, and even an honest-to-God park with real grass. Wealthy tourists from all over Earth come for two-week stays.
I passed through the Arcade. It wasn’t the fastest route to where I was going, but I liked the view.
New York has Fifth Avenue, London has Bond Street, and Artemis has the Arcade. The stores don’t bother to list prices. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. The Ritz-Carlton Artemis occupies an entire block and extends five floors up and another five down. A single night there costs 12,000 slugs--more than I make in a month as a porter (though I have other sources of income).
Despite the costs of a lunar vacation, demand always exceeds supply. Middle-class Earthers can afford it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience with suitable financing. They stay at crappier hotels in crappier bubbles like Conrad. But wealthy folks make annual trips and stay in nice hotels. And my, oh my, do they shop.
More than anywhere else, Aldrin is where money enters Artemis.
There was nothing in the shopping district I could afford. But someday, I’d have enough to belong there. That was my plan, anyway. I took one more long look, then turned away and headed to the Port of Entry.
Excerpted from "Artemis"
Copyright © 2017 Andy Weir.
Excerpted by permission of Crown/Archetype.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A great follow on effort, this new novel has the same hard science and technology as The Martian, and a protagonist who's every bit as smart as Mark Watney. However, Jazz is so much Watney's polar opposite, on suspects they would annihilate each other and form a burst of photons if they ever came in contact.
Witty, well written, great pace and rock solid science. Enjoyed every page
I really enjoyed this book. Character driven hard sci-fi is my favorite genre and this an excellent example of it.
If you read The Martian, then Artemis will feel very familiar. This time Andy Weir tries his hand at a female lead though she is cut from the same comically irreverent cloth as Mark Watney. This keeps the read fun and it’s peppered with scientific detail to satisfy our inner nerd. The story takes place in the lunar city of Artemis. In addition to an entertaining story and characters, Artemis allows a glimpse into what living on the moon might be like. I only gave this 3 Stars because while there is good drama, the storyline lacks an epic quality. That said, it is well worth the read.
It was an interesting read. Bit too much of the dirty jokes vs intelligence. But there was some good science and decent overall concepts.
I enjoyed the character’s smart-alecky way of dealing with situations. Enjoyable read.
Weir delivers another great one. Fast paced, full of great twists, and well-researched. Don’t start this book if you have anything important to do in the next 2 days! :)
Okay, I'm Jazzed. Finally - a heroine who's independent, feisty and could give MacGyver a run for his money. That much of the time Jasmine ("Jazz") Bashara skirts the edge of the law makes her all the more interesting. Throw in a kinky sense of humor that doesn't let up from start to finish, and I'm in it all the way. Jazz, now in her mid-20s, has lived in Artemis - the first and so far only city on the moon - since early childhood. Residents live and work in five self-contained spheres called bubbles that have numerous fail-safes to protect residents from an unfriendly moon atmosphere. People come from all parts of Earth to live and visit (tourism is big business, and trips from Artemis to Earth take half a dozen days or so). Jazz herself is from Saudi Arabia, brought by her father, who practices the welding trade in his adopted city. They aren't particularly close - for openers, he's a practicing Muslim and she has no interest in any kind of religion. Because it's forging new territory, life on Artemis isn't as fully regimented as is Earth; some rules, for instance, like no firearms (or fire of any kind, for that matter), are more stringent, mostly for safety reasons. In addition to her regular but peon-type job, Jazz has been smuggling goodies up from Earth for quite some time. But because she's almost desperate to earn lots of money (called "slugs" on Artemis) so she can move out of her coffin-like living quarters and eat food that isn't reminiscent of Soylent Green, she's hoping for something closer to a windfall. Then along comes her big chance, in the form of filthy rich businessman Trond Landvik. He's consumed with the notion of putting Artemis's huge aluminum smelting operation out of commission so he can buy it at a fire-sale price and take over. Knowing her proclivity with a blowtorch (some skills she bothered to learn from her father) and willingness to color outside the lines, he offers Jazz a monumental amount of slugs if she can disable the company's four "harvesters" that gather rocks from the moon for use in the smelting process. Needless to say, things don't exactly go according to plan, and Jazz and her cohorts more than once find themselves between a rock and a hard place (literally). Telling more would ruin the story for others, though, so you'll just have to read it to find out who wins and who loses. What I will venture to say is that I liked this book even better than the author's previous book, "The Martian," which also earned 5 stars from me (and FYI, each of the two books stands totally alone). Admittedly, Jazz can grate on the nerves a bit, although overall I enjoyed the heck out of her sense of humor. And as was the case in "The Martian," the technical stuff is both educational and fun but can be a bit overwhelming at times. But in the end, I loved it. Many thanks to the publisher (via NetGalley) for the opportunity to read an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Easy read .... one smart guy ... this guy Weir
Know the feeling of excitement that comes with not being able to put a book down? Read this book.
Good narrative. Great technical details.
Well written. Entertaining.
Yet another great novel from Andy Weir! It has a good story, good explanations, and great characters. I loved every second of it. To all the people who loved the science part of the Martian and only that part, you may come up feeling a little dry. It’s still very science oriented and still makes a lot of sense, but it seems more sci-fi and less science.
A bit disappointing, after the Martian I expected better. Main character has sophomoric personality for a 26 year old, I found myself not really liking the main character, and not caring what happened to her unlike the Martian where I was rooting like crazy for the main character's success.
Jazz Bashara has lived her whole life on the moon in the city of Artemis. A brilliant, independent young woman who has little tolerance for rules, and wants to do more than just survive, Jazz long ago turned to less than legal ways of making extra income. However, she is good at what she does, and she does have some moral rules about what kinds of jobs she’ll do. When the right opportunity presents itself via a very rich, regular customer, for a big payout (with lots of risk), she takes it on and does her best. Unfortunately, things go awry, and she barely escapes with her life. To make things worse, her employer has been murdered and it’s certain that she will be the prime suspect. Jazz has to figure out who killed him and clear herself. Can she solve the murder before the real perp takes her out or law enforcement catches up with her? Clearly, this is not The Martian. Completely different kind of story. What they do have in common: Written by Andy Weir Takes place in space (well, away from Earth at least) Very detailed and technical bits throughout The characters were interesting. I kind of had a love/hate relationship with Jazz. Her choices frustrated me. Her attitude frustrated me. But her moral compass wasn’t that far gone, and she was wicked smart and dedicated as all get out. But the constant jabs and sarcasm left me feeling like her emotional growth had been severely stifled. Her attitude seemed more suited to a testy teenager than the woman she actually is. The relationship that Jazz ends up in isn’t really properly developed. There was no chemistry. The words told me where things were going, but I just didn’t feel it/see it. And frankly, I didn’t see the point. The story wasn’t improved by their relationship becoming romantic, especially since it was on the ending note. I’m not gonna lie. I preferred The Martian. It was stellar. This is pretty good. Not something I’m going to run around town screaming about. But, it was a good story. The mystery itself was well thought out. I love that current concerns were worked into the story (an interesting lesson about the cycle of economies!). And, as you’d expect from Andy Weir, lots of technical stuff. Those who loved The Martian will appreciate that about this story. Those who found all those details burdensome will hopefully appreciate the story itself. However. It very much felt like this book was written to continue to appeal to the original sci fi fanbase, while making his work more accessible to readers of more popular genres (mystery, thriller, etc.). I’m not sure it worked entirely. While I understand that topping The Martian is a near impossible feat, changing tactics to gain wider appeal is tricky. I’ll read the next thing by Andy Weir because I think he’s a wonderful writer overall, but I hope it’s more The Martian than Artemis. Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Lived up to my high expectations. Similar style to The Martian: first person, witty and sarcastic, suspenseful.
I found it to be uninteresting and childish. I had no sympathy or connection with any of the characters as I did with "The Martian". I think a better title for this book would be..."Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys On The Moon.
His first book was better, but enjoyed this one as well.
The book requires quite a lot of "willing suspension of disbelief."
I can see this becoming a series, if the author can write more words. It's got so many open plot lines . . . the potential is considerable.
Well it's good, but it's not the next great American novel either
What I just said
The science was accurate, the writing was witty, and the plot was phenomenal. A must-read.
Very good and funny Funny