Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara has lived in Artemis, the only lunar city, since she was 6. When we meet Jazz, she is in the process of failing her EVA Master exam, because she bought a used EVA suit and a piece of safety equipment has failed. Jazz is always looking to make money, and being able to take tourists from Earth on lunar tours outside the bubble would really set her up. Things don’t go according to plan. That’s a pattern in Jazz’ life – she’s got a great scheme, but things don’t go according to plan.
Though she is very smart and had a lot of potential, she has become a part of Artemis’ seedy underbelly. Her father, a devout Muslim and well respected welder, is disappointed in her. The head of security wants to deport her back to Earth. Her current money making scheme could kill her.
I enjoyed Artemis. I listened to the audio book narrated by Rosario Dawson. I enjoyed her performance very much. I thought she brought a lot to Jazz. Artemis doesn’t have The Martian’s magic, but it is a good crime caper with a heavy dose of science. A lot of the science of humans living on the lunar surface is explained. If the science didn’t bother you in The Martian, it won’t bother you here. Like Mark Watney, Jazz is smart and a smart ass. Unlike Mark, Jazz is kind of a fuck up. Jazz is up against a hostile terrain and hostile people. She is both more and less on her own.
There were a few things I didn’t love. I didn’t love some of the focus on appearance that Weir gave to Jazz’ narration. I especially didn’t love the way Weir talked about sex workers. There wasn’t anything egregious, it was standard stuff. I still didn’t love it.
It’s clear that Weir has thought a lot about what a lunar city would look like and how it would function – physically, socially, and economically. I’m looking forward to Weir’s third book. I think he has a distinctive voice and perspective.