2018’s Artemis is Andy Weir’s highly anticipated follow-up to his shattering debut, The Martian. This book has been hotly critiqued since its publication, and presents plenty of material ripe for analysis and discussion. Whether your book club is preparing to discuss it, or you’ve read it on your own and are looking for more, I hope the questions below will help guide your discussion.
Note: If you haven’t read Artemis, you can read my review of it here.
Please let me know if you use these questions, find them helpful, or think I missed something. And of course I would love to see your answers to any (or all) of these questions in the comments. Happy discussing!
Of course, MAJOR SPOILER WARNINGS below:
Artemis is first and foremost a story about Jazz Bashara, moon resident and our protagonist.
How did you feel about Jazz? Did you find her likable? Realistic?
Many readers have been critical of Jazz, particularly as a young female character.
In fact, many of those readers were similarly critical of all of the female characters in Artemis. That the narration painted them as strong and capable and brilliant, but that their actions did not match that portrayal. Do you see evidence of that? Or perhaps is it an unfairly harsh judgement?
Weir is famous for his deep research in preparation for his books. How did you see that research manifest in Artemis?
Similarly, Weir gained support from readers of the Martian for the way he allowed his character to curse, both in dialogue and throughout his narration, and he brought that same irreverent quality to his second book. Did you like it, or like Jazz more for it?
How did you feel about the physical world that Weir created? Were you able to immerse yourself in the city of Artemis as you read?
What did you struggle to picture, if anything?
The lore of Artemis, which is explored in various ways throughout the narrative, is based in large part upon celebrating the early legacy of man’s moon landings.
Did that appeal to you or feel overly sentimental? Would an actual lunar civilization borrow from that history? Would they be right to?
As a morally ambiguous character, Jazz’s motivations and actionable worldview shifted throughout the narrative. Did you find that progression believable?
Was there one part of the book or another where you liked Jazz most? Least?
When and why?
At a few parts in the story, narratively competent people freeze, leaving Jazz to single-handedly address the problem.
For example, Artemis Administrator Fidelis Ngugi demonstrates to Jazz that she’s not only known about the utilities plot, she’s planning to make it work for her. Literally a page later, she becomes completely inactive and creates a vacuum for Jazz to act within.
Is this realistic? Or is this Weir hamstringing his other characters in order to allow Jazz to be the hero?
At the end of the book, after hundreds of pages of insisting that there’s no chemistry or interest there, Jazz kisses Svobo.
How did that feel to you?
Science fiction has a long history of being sexualized and has been critiqued in recent years for that unnecessary sexualization. In light of that, does the kiss Weir wrote add to the story or does it feel unnecessary to you?