heinlein

Artemis

Guest Post Blog

This is a Guest Post by Rob Whiteley.

So Andy Weir’s new book, Artemis, stoked my interest from the moment I saw the cover, and read the dedication. The novel is dedicated to all of the Apollo Command Module pilots, i.e. the 7 Apollo astronauts whose job it was to not walk on the Moon. They were impressive people, who didn’t get the glory of the Armstrongs and Aldrins. They just flew the ships that got everybody home. But I digress.

Artemis is a story about a caper involving working-class citizens of the first Lunar city. Jazz Bashara is the main protagonist of the story, which is told from her first person perspective. Her voice is interesting. She is Saudi by birth, but is a firm rejectionist of pretty much any religious or cultural tropes from her homeland. She is an accomplished smart-ass, and a first-rate smuggler, but is a down-and-outer who seems to have relationship issues.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Book Review

This book wasn't originally on my loose, more-than-a-little-disorganized-not-really-a-true-list, to-read list. I have a number of books that I'm actively looking forward to reading, and while I lurve me a Heinlein, I'm more likely to read a new book these days than one I've already read.

That said, after Rob read Artemis, he started in on The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and suggested I read the Heinlein lunar revolution book before reading Artemis, there being some similarities (I haven't read his review of Artemis yet). Easy enough to do. So I did.

And remembered why I love Heinlein so much. Yes, he has opinions I find offensive. Yes, he has ideas about humans that fundamentally could absolutely never work. But, yes, he has a way with words, a way that draws you in and makes you wish that people were more than our natures, that we could be his idealized version of ourselves.

I love the idea of people being rational. We are not.

I love the idea of a small government that respects the rights of its people. Its people are fragile, irrational beings, capable of incredible cruelty to each other. One cannot respect all the rights of a person when said person cannot respect the rights of another; cannot be rational when irrational acts creates a "might makes right" belief; cannot be fair when a victim cannot speak up or out for fear of retaliation, banishment, exile, or death.

His ideas are lovely on paper, and impossible in life.