Andy Weir
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
Jasmine Safrana is a Saudi resident of the moon with American street smarts in a 1/6th gravity environment. In the Lunar city of Artemis, she is a lowly porter with ambitions of being licenced for Extra Vehicular Activities and the big pay that goes with escorting parties of tourists on the moon’s surface. Having managed to alienate her engineer father and his friends with teenage stroppiness, she has since endeared herself to major power holder, the millionaire Trond, with her abilities to smuggle banned goods into Artemis using her contacts and bribery.

Trond offers Jazz the chance to make her fortune by carrying off the sabotage of the century which would enable Trond to take control of the oxygen and aluminium production on the moon. If all goes well Jazz will become a millionaire and Trond gets the business acquisition of the century. After a secret EVA turns into a race against time across the moon’s surface, an organised crime syndicate commits murder in the city; it is revealed that the crime syndicate is using the aluminium smelting and oxygen production as money laundering and Jazz realises she is a target and abandons her living cubicle to sleep in the walls of Artemis.

In an attempt to keep the crime syndicate out of Artemis, Jazz enlists the help of her friends and father to sabotage the aluminium smelter. With the city, the nuclear power and the production facility so heavily inter-twined can Jazz save the city without endangering its inhabitants?

With the author having a background in all things physics and engineering the technology is believable and not so much science fiction as possible science fact in the next fifty to one hundred years. The main character Jazz tells the story in the first person and reveals herself to be full of human foibles; jealousy, precociousness, egotism, real and perceived injuries, being a few. She is intelligent, has her father’s gift for engineering and has the resourcefulness which goes along with that. However, the remainder of the cast, while having a diverse range of sexualities, are more supporting characters with some, but not much, depth to them and are there to support Jazz; in this case it suits the story and works well. The novel is witty, moves along easily, with enough technical detail to keep you informed in a manner that does not bog down the story. To me it seemed to lose its momentum a little in the final quarter but resurrected itself in the last twenty pages. A good holiday read for anyone with an enjoyment of science and thrillers.

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