Artemis by Andy Weir

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#1
Like I said in one of the other threads the book is ok, and that's about it. The thing I missed the most was humour that was present in The Martian but not here.

A bit about the book:
The main character is Jazz Bashara. She's a young woman living on this Moon base. She's ethnically an Arab from Saudi Arabia, but she came to Artemis when she was 6 yo with her father.
After a strain of bad life decisions stemming from typical teenage rebellion from rejecting her father's culture & religion and to a big degree rejecting her father as well, as well as seeking dead end relationship, she's at a low point in her life.
Working as a delivery person, she has failed at getting any education despite being talented at math and science. So she gets by with low level smuggling, while she lives in a capsule hotel (these things exists in Japan in real life), trying to save every penny of Artemis currency.
So, she takes one job that requires her to sabotage some vehicles of some big Artemis company. Of course things go wrong and she's in trouble.

I finished it today, and it went just as I expected it would.


This is basically a small thief story that is one of the most common tropes in fantasy, only here the setting is Artemis moonbase.

So yeah, mediocre, but fun and the MC is likeable enough. It's nowhere near The Martian imo.
Even though the MC is 26 yo, the book has strong YA vibes in terms of bildungsroman.

My final rating 6/10
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#2
Was really excited to get to this but I've seen these ''ok'' reviews all over so I don't know. Maybe sometime next year if I'm not too into anything else.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#3
Like I said in one of the other threads the book is ok, and that's about it. The thing I missed the most was humour that was present in The Martian but not here.

A bit about the book:
The main character is Jazz Bashara. She's a young woman living on this Moon base. She's ethnically an Arab from Saudi Arabia, but she came to Artemis when she was 6 yo with her father.
After a strain of bad life decisions stemming from typical teenage rebellion from rejecting her father's culture & religion and to a big degree rejecting her father as well, as well as seeking dead end relationship, she's at a low point in her life.
Working as a delivery person, she has failed at getting any education despite being talented at math and science. So she gets by with low level smuggling, while she lives in a capsule hotel (these things exists in Japan in real life), trying to save every penny of Artemis currency.
So, she takes one job that requires her to sabotage some vehicles of some big Artemis company. Of course things go wrong and she's in trouble.

I finished it today, and it went just as I expected it would.


This is basically a small thief story that is one of the most common tropes in fantasy, only here the setting is Artemis moonbase.

So yeah, mediocre, but fun and the MC is likeable enough. It's nowhere near The Martian imo.
Even though the MC is 26 yo, the book has strong YA vibes in terms of bildungsroman.

My final rating 6/10

I'm about two hours into the audiobook and, thus far, it's not even a fun read.
I know I'm just getting into the meat of the story, but predictable it is, and a bit cheesy.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#5
Yup! Can't argue there.

Hi Sparrow :)
Hi Alucard!:)

My gut feeling is that Weir spent years on, 'The Martian'... it was sort of his baby, and it shows. It was an excellent Hard Science Fiction story, and I guess I was expecting Artemis to be something akin to it. I'll just have to settle into the story and listen to it on its own merits. I can tell you one thing is for certain... Hollywood will not be turning this one into a movie.;)
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#6
Have read it too, practically the moment it came out, yes, it was a page-turner like "The Martian", for me, but no, IMO it did not come close.

One thing I unconsciously had in my head all the time when I was reading it, that became more obvious was that he writes the book from the presumed perspective of a 20something muslim female.

Apart from that being IMO not a very good idea (cultural appropriation), I also feel that he does not pull it off, either.

If I read the book and, all the time, have the impression that it is written by a bloke trying to be funny (similar to "The Martian", but somehow different), who now and then interjects "BTW, being a 25-year-old muslim girl blah blah blah ", that does not work very well.

Disclaimer: I also could not in any way credibly demonstrate how I think a 25-year-old muslim girl should write a book. Hmm.

So meh.
 
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Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#7
@Derk of Derkholm
Not to go into politics at all and cultural appropriation, but I have to correct you factually.

Jazz is not muslim. She's ethnically arab yes. She has a muslim father yes, but she's not a muslim.
She never practiced Islam, which is requirement for being a muslim. Not the fact that she's an arab.

She was brought to Artemis when she was 6 (she's 26 now) and she never engaged into any of her father's faith. She in fact rejected it in higher degree than she rejected her father.
She considers moon her home and multiple times throughout the book she displays complete rejection of Saudi Arabia, repeating 'there is nothing there for me. Moon is my home'.

I think you confused her religious and ethnical identity. There are plenty of Arabs who are not Muslim.
Weir might have not written the best book, but you are wrong in your claim that he wrote it from a perspective of 26 yo Muslim woman.
He wrote it from the perspective of 26 yo Moon woman, who happens to be ethnically Arab.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#8
Alucard, thank you for pointing it out!!!!

You are absolutely right, of course.

However, I have to add that he - IMO - still does not really sound very much like I would expect a 26-year old Arab woman to sound.
Moon, of course, might account for that.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#9
Moon, of course, might account for that.
That's how I saw it. She's naturally a bit of a tomboy. She has an interest in math and science and she ran away from home and shacked up with a guy when she was 16 yo.
She had a hard life, so she had to toughen up. Especially after she found out you know what about her first boyfriend.
In all honesty I think he wrote himself in as Jazz. Or at least a significant part of his personality.

I wouldn't expect her to compare to any of the stereotypes with Arab women in general. IMO the whole set up of her ethnicity is bit of a play into what is popular to do nowadays in fantasy. And her religious, strict father is an easy character to create conflict with the main character.

I don't know, this book is full of flaws. It's predictable, cheese fest but there you have it. I saw yesterday that Weir did AMA on reddit, and he himself said that he prefers Martian and that he's not sure if this is a good book or not. But the sales are going well and there is a sequel planned with another character, but Jazz will make a re-appearance as a side one.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#10
@Alucard, I do have a question for you:

Maybe it stems from my superficial reading of the book ... but ... you say that Jazz is not a Muslim, however ... if her father is a devout muslim, what would be a reason for him not to raise her in the muslim faith? That was actually my assumption, unless there was a specific mention of her mother as being a non-muslim (again, tough for a "devout muslim" to imagine marrying a non-muslim, but still) that I have overread somewhere. She might not be devout, but I was assuming that she would still be a muslim as far as her official religion is concerned. Sorry if this is taking the thread off-topic...
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#11
if her father is a devout muslim, what would be a reason for him not to raise her in the muslim faith?
Well he did try. But she rejected it.

Her mother is not mentioned as far as I remember, so I can't comment on that.

She might not be devout, but I was assuming that she would still be a muslim as far as her official religion is concerned.
Why just because she's Arab? Again, ethnicity does not equal religion.
You have plenty of christian parents whose kids aren't christian. Why would you have double standard for Islam? It's just another abrahamic religion along with christianity and judaism.

There are atheist Arabs. A lot of them actually, but they often have to hide it. I knew several Iranian while I was in Japan who were atheist. They are not Arab though, they are Persian.

I am Bosnian, and I'm not a muslim. I'm an atheist. My mother is practicing muslim, but I'm not. So I don't see any issue with this.
I have a Croatian friend who's parents are practicing catholics, but they are atheist like me.

Islam is a religion, not ethnicity.

Jazz is her own person. We might inherit both our DNA and our faith (or lack of) from our parents. While we can't change our ethnicity (and why should we?), most people at least once in their lifetime think about their religion.
Besides in Islam particularly it's not a passive thing you inherit from your parents. You actually have to opt in or opt out once you hit puberty, although I doubt Andy Weir is familiar with any of that.


The point is she rejected it. You can't be a believer just because your dad is one if you fundamentally reject his religion.
 
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Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#12
You have plenty of christian parents whose kids aren't christian. Why would you have double standard for Islam?
I thought the difference was (more or less) that in Christianity it is pretty simple to exit the church (did it when I was 12, basically had to write a letter to the magistrate and that was it), but in Islam you will get killed by fellow Muslims if you try to do that?

Again, I am not an expert, that is what understand from what I have heard.

But then, again, might be different for people living on the moon ;-)
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#13
but in Islam you will get killed by fellow Muslims if you try to do that?
If you live in theocratic dictatorship yes. Not all countries that have majority muslim population do that.
But a lot of these countries where Islam is the state religion haven't really progressed as far as human rights go. They are about the same level as Europe was in middle ages as far as human rights go, when you couldn't leave christianity either without being murdered as a witch or something along those lines.
Moon is not that, and neither is my country lol
Both me and my brother are athiest, we didn't have to write anything. We simply do not believe in any kind of god and that includes my mother's.
My father was pantheist, so everybody is entitled to their own belief or lack of in my case.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#14
If you live in theocratic dictatorship yes. Not all countries that have majority muslim population do that.
But a lot of these countries where Islam is the state religion haven't really progressed as far as human rights go. They are about the same level as Europe was in middle ages as far as human rights go, when you couldn't leave christianity either without being murdered as a witch or something along those lines.
Moon is not that, and neither is my country lol
Both me and my brother are athiest, we didn't have to write anything. We simply do not believe in any kind of god and that includes my mother's.
My father was pantheist, so everybody is entitled to their own belief or lack of in my case.
I'm an atheist myself, but if you don't actively write to the magistrate to get delisted from the Church records you are very much still counted as a practitioner. At least that's how it works in the Protestant and Catholic churches in the Netherlands. I delisted myself when I turned 18. My parents and one of my brothers are atheist, but they are still enlisted in the Church records. They're too lazy to write the letter to delist. The problem here is that the Church can still get prerogatives (tax exemptions and such) based on number of practitioners. So basically, besides being hypocritical, being in the records actually provides the Church leadership with leverage to gain advantages for themselves. A ridiculous system if you ask me.

My other brother is a Muslim. What @Derk of Derkholm says is basically true if you follow Sharia law. In the Netherlands (where I live) you will probably not be killed, but turning away from Islam means the devout will from then on shun you and you are basically ostracized from their society. No apostates allowed. :/
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#15
When I moved to Germany and went to register with Kreisverwaltungsreferat (I don't know the english term for this) both me and my husband got the question of our denomination. We said atheist, and that was that. Because they also have church tax here, and we aren't paying for that and because it's 100% true.
I honestly think church tax is stupid. No offence to Germany or Holland. I'm guessing it's just one of those remnants of old laws that aren't modernized yet.

In Bosnia, as far Islam goes, there is no tax as far as I know. But if you want you can pay into Islamic community membership per year, and you get cheaper services of funeral rituals when you die, and some other 'perks'. My mom pays for this. It's not something I was ever interested. I want to be cremated not buried anyway. No rituals or funeral services required. But cremation is absolute haram in Islam lol. Like I care...
Bosnia is quite a bit different to other majority muslim countries. Mixed marriages happen. People don't take their religion seriously, they are casual believers, like christians in the west. We also had 50 years of communism, where religion was reserved for private sphere, so that left a mark. Most people treat it that way. They celebrate holidays, go to a mosque once in every blue moon, and as soon as Ramadan is over it's back to drinking rakiaand eating meze. All of these people would tell you they consider themselves muslim. And they are in some sense, but transport them to Saudi Arabia, and most of them would end up on a square with public lashing sentence. There are very, very few devout muslims and a significant portion of them are foreigners from middle east.

Also in general in Islam you have to actually opt in the religion. Sure, you might be born to muslim parents, but until you say the Kalimas, you are not muslim. And kalimas is a phrase, where you bear witness that Allah is one and only god, and that Muhammad was his prophet.
Until you actually say this and believe it, you are not a muslim in a true sense of the word. Problem is most kids go to islamic schools and they learn and say kalimas without actually having the mental capacity (as kids) to understand what they are saying.
Also kids are considered not to know right from wrong until they reach puberty. So they are not obligated to start praying and fasting until that age according to Quran. Doesn't stop some ignorant parents from imposing shit on them since they are toddlers though.


Just a quick thing I want to mention is something that's mostly western media's fault. Terminology which they established. Sharia already means Islamic law. So when you say 'Sharia law', you are saying 'Islamic law law'. I heard someone say that it's very funny to native arabic speakers.
So you can just say Sharia, or Islamic law, and that would be correct. It's not really important, I just wanted to let you know. I know it's canon to use it incorrectly, as that's what most people know.


In any case we went far away from the book.
We have to acknowledge the setting and time this is happening.
This is Moon base, 100 or 150 years (I'm not quite sure) from now.
Today's rules don't really apply. You can't see Jazz from the lens of today's world. But also her behaviour is something that would get her killed in a lot of Islamic countries. She started having sex at 16 yo, and she doesn't believe in Allah. Now how fair is it to consider her a Muslim with that kind of behavior and lack of belief? Just because her dad is muslim? Because she's ethnically a semite, more specifically of Arabic descent?

That's incredibly patronizing standpoint to me. And shows a misunderstanding of ethnicity and religion, putting almost an equal sign between them. A lot of atheist Arabs get an asylum in western Europe and US and I can only imagine how fucked up they would feel if a UK native or a US native would still consider them Muslims, after all the shit they go through.
I'm not throwing any shade at Andy here, it's just disheartens me that these things happen in real life, forget the book.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#16
I must say, I'm incredulous at the influence that Islam has made in all your lives. The commonality? Simply living in Europe. My heart goes out to you.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#17
Eh @kenubrion, Islam came to Europe with Ottoman empire, so 500 hundered years ago. If you said that to any ex-yugoslavian person that identify as muslim, you'd probably get some strange looks. 500 years of foreign culture and religion is enough to transform native population into thinking that it's part of their identity.
I was never cool with this, but most people don't think in historical context.