December 2, 2017 9:00 pm

Neil deGrasse Tyson Chats with ‘The Martian’ Author Andy Weir on His New Book ‘Artemis’

The Martian took the world by storm, first in literature, then in cinema. Behind its meteoric rise as one of the best, most scientifically-accurate pieces of recent science-fiction was author Andy Weir.

Ben Ratner's close-up photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Andy Weir.

Credit: Ben Ratner.

Originally releasing The Martian chapter by chapter for free online, and then on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents, the classic man-against-nature survival tale has been at the center of science fiction storytelling for the past few years, ever since its release.

As a special bonus StarTalk Radio episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with Andy in his office to discuss Andy’s new book, Artemis. Here’s how Audible describes Artemis:

“Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.”

I don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty great. As a personal fan of heist/crime and noir storytelling AND being a “space dork”, a phrase Andy coins in this episode, this seems like two great things coming together to make something well worth the investment.

You’ll hear Neil and Andy discuss the creative process that went into the making of Artemis, including Andy’s approach in dealing with the socioeconomic reasons for putting a city on the moon, food for lunar residences, energy sources for the city, the changes in gravity, and much more. You’ll also hear why Artemis is more scientifically accurate than The Martian, and Neil questions Andy to see if he actually thought of everything. However, no major spoilers are revealed, so take a deep breath. I will say that if you’re someone who doesn’t like hearing ANY information, quickly read the book then listen to the episode after.

These conversation episodes are a rare occurrence and they provide a nice change of pace from our regular format. It allows our guests to get more in-depth about their work which, in this case, allows Andy to delve into more details about how he created the fascinating world of Artemis. He also gives out some details about the film adaptation – but it still stays spoiler-free. I also just want to mention that this particular episode was made possible by Audible. (You can listen to Artemis on Audible, too, if you prefer hearing your books than reading them.)

Listen to A Conversation with Andy Weir – Special Bonus Episode up now on our website, as well as on our channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. And if you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen