What’s an author to do after he writes a surprising bestseller about a man abandoned on the surface of Mars, trying to survive until people come to rescue him? If the author in question is Andrew Weir, the answer is, he writes another science fiction book, but this time instead of being set on Mars, it’s set on the moon. And not just on the moon, but on the largest city on the moon, Artemis, which give the book its title. But rather than being a story of survival under very difficult conditions, and the efforts people on earth are making to save one man’s life, Artemis takes the trope of the heist story and transplants it to the moon.
You see, in the future when the moon has been colonized, it turns out that it’s really hard to make a living there. It’s a great place to go if you’re rich, a fun place to stay if you’re a tourist (though again you would have to have a lot of money to be a tourist on the moon), but if you’re an ordinary person, trying to make a living, it’s like living in the most expensive city in the world, only more so. Jazz Bashara has an ordinary job as a porter, but it’s not paying her bills by itself. So she’s turned to crime, petty crime at first: a contraband item here and there, smuggling one or two things that harm no one and make her a little money. Key word there is “little.” As a small time criminal, Jazz isn’t really getting ahead or even staying afloat, so when she’s given the opportunity to make some real money (slugs, as it’s referred to on the moon, for reasons that make sense there) by doing a little sabotage on behalf of a very rich and powerful man, she’s more than willing to go for it. Naturally, this being the kind of story it is, pulling off the job does not put her in a better position and in fact puts her in grave danger, as she discovers the bodies of two people who have already been killed in connection with this and realizes that she’s most likely next.
This is Andrew Weir, so you know you’re going to get lots of science and worldbuilding, a wisecracking protagonist, and a fast paced plot. You don’t have to be a big science fiction fan to enjoy Artemis, but if you are, you’ll have even more fun with it.