Andy Weir goes to the moon
What: A Conversation with Andy Weir
When: 7 pm Wed., Nov. 29
Where: Bellingham High School, 2020 Cornwall Ave
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
I have a confession to make. When I read Andy Weir’s bestselling novel The Martian last year, I wasn’t all that interested in the fact that the sci-fi story about an American astronaut stranded alone on Mars was as scientifically accurate as was humanely possible.
What did grab me from page one of the futuristic fable was how much I was rooting for the survival of Weir’s protagonist—a quick-thinking engineer and botanist named Mark Watney who has to improvise time and again in order to stay alive after he’s left for dead on the barren planet.
Weir has a background in computer science and is the son of a particle physicist, so it’s not surprising that his debut novel spent just as much time focusing on the intricacies of orbital mechanics and spaceflight as it did on the inner life of a lonely man light years away from a solution that might deliver him back to Earth.
The story about how The Martian made it to the New York Times bestseller list is also out of this world. First published as a free serial story on Weir’s website, it then sold for 99 cents per download on Kindle before being printed in 2014 by Crown Publishing Group and going on to sell four million copies in North America alone. The following year, it was made into a hit movie starring Matt Damon as the titular resident of the red planet.
When the author comes to Bellingham for “A Conversation with Andy Weir” Wed., Nov. 29 at Bellingham High School, it’ll be to discuss his new book, Artemis, with Melissa Rice, a Western Washington University assistant professor of geology who has been named by NASA as a Participating Scientist on the Mars Curiosity Rover science team.
In the new space tale, Weir has crafted a near-future crime caper that takes place under a series of domes in the first and only city on the moon and introduces a protagonist every bit as memorable as Watney—a young woman named Jasmine Bashara, aka Jazz.
A directionless 20-something with a job as a porter who chafes at the constraints of a small-town life on a planet where the going can be tough for those who aren’t rich tourists or eccentric billionaires, Jazz has an opportunity to get ahead. Only problem is, it involves breaking the law. Soon, pulling off the perfect crime is just the first of her problems as she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself.
If Weir’s new book is anything like The Martian, readers should expect doses of technical and scientific details interspersed with humor, plot twists and an engaging voice that encourages the reader to keep turning the pages until there are no more left. Pick up a copy before his visit, and find out for yourself.
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