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Did Andy Weir’s creative mojo weaken when he joined the Big 5 Publishing Machine? Is publishing in New York City his kryptonite? For sure, it’s hard to follow The Martian. It became an on-line sensation that was noticed by publishers and movie-makers. But still, I know Mr. Weir has better chops that this.
I had high hopes for this novel. I absolutely loved the map of the moon colony at the front of the book, it stoked my imagination! Sadly, this book was lacking in so many ways. Just so you know, I’m going to talk about that now. Spoiler alert!
Jazz, the main character in this story is a petty outlaw. A smuggler. She’s estranged from her dad, a renowned welder. She’s promiscuous and impulsive. But why? We know that she and her boyfriend accidentally burned down her dad’s shop- thus the estrangement- but we never learn why she’s such a Bad Girl.
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She has a pen pal on Earth named Kelvin (clever!). I though her backstory would develop through the letters they sent back and forth, they started out that way, but fizzled. Kelvin’s character became mainly her smuggling/scheming partner. As I’ve talked about before, every story has a back-story. Our past is what makes us who we are and what we do in the present. I didn’t know what made Jazz tick, so I didn’t really care about her. Story death. Big time. (Story Genius by Lisa Cron.)
Other things that bothered me include several characters “pinched his/her chin…” What’s that all about? I believe in each scene, the character was thinking, but it’s awkward that at least three different characters did it. I understand if it’s one character’s tendency, it shows a bit of their personality, but it’s not o.k. for several characters to “chin pinch.”
Jazz’s friend, Svoboda, talked in exclamation points! Everything he said ended in an exclamation point! Most writers understand that exclamation points should be used sparingly! This story read like a young adult or juvenile story. It was written in first person, like The Martian was, but it lacked maturity. Every time Jazz talked to me, the reader,
I was pulled out of the story. Again, story death.
Like The Martian, there was lots of chemical, sciency stuff that went over my head in Artemis. However, in Weir’s first novel, that stuff was explained better. In that book, I could see the technology in my mind. I this book, I could not visualize so many, too many, things.
Overall, the characters were underdeveloped, making me not really care about them. The premise of the story was all about being underhanded- by accident they learned their underhandedness was against organized crime, and in the end Jazz talked herself out of being deported by convincing the Powers-That-Be that her monopoly and personal ‘community first’ stance in smuggling was what kept their colony free from drugs, gangs, and crime, and if she was deported to Earth, who knows what kind of smuggler would take her place? Give me a break.
Until next time,
Be Good To Yourself.