Friday, December 8, 2017

The Andy Weir Algorithm


After turning the last page of Artemis, I was left wondering who -or what- Andy Weir actually is. Is he truly the smiling picture of the software engineer on the back flap who created his own sci-fi sub-genre with The Martian and taught us about growing potatoes on Mars? Or is he a piece of software himself? An elaborate computer algorithm designed to generate books after the user fills in a few required fields:

Protagonist (Male/Female): ___________

Protagonists's scientific discipline/major skill: ______________

Planet:____________

Number of scenes involving an airlock: ____

The truth is, I don't care. It doesn't make "his" formula any less enjoyable but if you are looking for something original you won't find it here. He's a bit like AC/DC; they have been recording essentially the same album for the past 43 years, but fans still line up to buy the "new" one because the lyrics might be different and, you know, they rock.

Questions of originality aside, this book is surgically designed to be a blockbuster motion picture starring Nazanin Boniadi. So if, like me, you are the kind of person who enjoys telling your friends how the book was better than the movie, reading this now will put you three to five years ahead of that obnoxious curve. You can also impress people with your newly acquired knowledge of welding metal in the vacuum of space. AC/DC fans love that kind of thing.

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