The Verge interviewed Andy Weir, author of The Martian, about his new book, Artemis:
I started by developing the city itself. I really wanted to write a story that takes place on humanity’s first off-world home, the beginnings of humanity’s colonization of the Solar System, that kind of thing. I wanted to define the city on the Moon. First thing, I had to ask myself why there’s a city on the Moon. Why would anybody go live there? What’s the point? There’s a lot of fiction out there about this, and there are a lot of unsatisfying answers: “We’re there to mine it!” So send robots. “Earth is overpopulated!” Well, colonize the Sahara or the ocean floor. Literally every location on Earth is easier to colonize than anywhere on the Moon.
So I asked: what about tourism? Tourism is by definition people being somewhere. Okay, so that will only happen when the price to low Earth orbit is low enough that little people can afford to go. That’s kind of the conceit of Artemis, where the commercial space industry has driven that price down far enough that it’s affordable. It’s not not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination, but doable. So I designed the city with that in mind. I built it from the ground up, figuring that they’d need to be efficient, they wouldn’t want to waste a huge amount of money or resources. Once I was done with that, I had a setting, then set about working on story ideas. The contents of the book are actually the third story revision. I came up with two completely unrelated stories with different characters before this version.
I read The Martian a few years ago. It’s very suspenseful but it’s also deeply flawed. The narration/internal dialog of the main character is extremely annoying and corny.
But hey, who the fuck am I? The Martian hit #1 on The New York Times Best Seller List and was turned into a movie with Matt Damon.