How do you follow up one of the greatest sci fi debuts in recent years?

Andy Weir’s debut The Martian was originally self published, before going on to be picked up by a major publisher and later turned into a movie starring Matt Damon.

His follow up, Artemis, was released late in 2017.

So how did he approach what could have been a difficult second novel in the shadow of such previous success?

Weir has produced Artemis, which more than stands up as a good novel in its own right and is not overshadowed by its predecessor.

Artemis is set on the moon, in and around the city of that name, the only city on the moon.

The main character, Jazz, is a young woman. But she shares enough personality traits with Mark Watney, the hero of The Martian, to keep things interesting.

Watney was alone on Mars for several hundred pages so he needed a bucket load of personality.

Jazz is not alone, but has enough of Watney’s brand of humour to keep the plot running along while interacting with a host of other characters.

Sample line: “on a scale of one to ‘invade Russia in winter’ how stupid is this plan?.”

The only area I felt The Martian could have been improved was through more descriptive sections around the plot.

Artemis has more descriptive parts than The Martian and this works well.

While The Martian didn’t lend itself to an obvious sequel, Artemis could easily be the first in a series.

Whether this is what Weir has in mind, or not, I have no idea.

Whether he chooses to visit Jazz again or do something else with his next novel, I will certainly be happy to read it.

This is a solid novel, with enough twists and turns to keep you interested. There is enough world building going on for the novel to work in its own logic, without the back story being overbearing.

I had hoped for a knowing reference to The Martian somewhere in the narrative, but didn’t spot one (please use the comments to tell me if there is one I haven’t picked up on).

Expect to see a big Hollywood movie version in the near future.

Advertisements

As usual I have read quite a few books this year.

Here are some highlights of books I read this year:

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham – love this author (The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos are two of my all time favourite sci fi books) and this book, while taking a while to get going, ended up un-put down able. A great exploration of unfounded intolerance, and relevant today as when it was written.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher – which I wrote about before, is a tour de force in modern teen fiction. Better than SE Hinton – and my teenage self is properly upset I have written that statement. Highly recommended.

Archangel by Robert Harris – any novel which can make me interested in post WW2 Russian history must be doing something right. This is a real page turner from the opening right up to its fabulous, if ambiguous, conclusion. Some of Harris other works I have found slow, or the world building more attention grabbing than the plot (Fatherland), but this has it all going on.

House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds – in a future where faster than light travel is impossible a house of long living clones travel the galaxy in cycles, spending vast aeons of time in suspended animation, holding reunions every few millennia. The scope of this novel is breathtaking and while it feels like it wanders off from the plot towards the end, maybe the real point of the novel is how even hideous events lose their horror after 17,000 years or so. Up for debate, which only adds to the positive feelings I have towards the book – still deciphering meaning long after reading is always a good sign about a book.

Please feel free to share your views on these books in the comments and also any novels you read this year, either ones published this year or otherwise.

Happy reading in 2018.

If you own a Kindle (which, along with the Apple iPad) is the future of publishing, you can now own a digital copy of my first novel for much less than the paperback RRP of £7.

Depending on the conversion rate of the dollar (the Kindle store is driven from the US at present) the UK price should be about £2.

In my opinion the future of books is digital, but to survive this format should cost much less than buying a physical book.

Bearing in mind there is no cost for printing, distribution from printer to store, no storage cost, no cost of owning the store, paying the staff to  stock the shelves and man the tills – there is no justifiable business model (apart from excessive greed, which I guess isn’t actually justifiable) which would allow publishers to charge the same for their eBooks as for the physical versions.

My new (ish) novel has been published.
This is a re-working of the novel I had a go at writing when I was 16.
Probably 65% of the content is from 1993 and the rest a bit of a re-write in 1999 and a further re-write to pull it all together in 2009.

The back page blurb says:
“When you are 16 the adult world is a great wide open space full of possibilities. Or at least it should be.
The grunge-fuelled early 1990s, saw the last of Generation X reach adulthood.
Will and his friends are among the last born to this desolate, degenerate generation.
They are full of hormones, full of alcohol and full of fears about the grown up world.”

I am trying a new appreoach to publishing for this book, so it is available from:

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1222989

%d bloggers like this: