Andy Weir has set the bar pretty high when it comes to his writing. His first book, “The Martian,” was a best-seller and adapted into an award-winning film of the same name starring Matt Damon.
Now, he has returned to space for his second book, “Artemis.” It’s the story of a 26-year-old smuggler named Jasmine Bashara living on Artemis, the first human colony on the moon.
Recently, Weir sat down with KQED to talk about “Artemis,” why he has never wanted to go to space himself and his passion for mixology.
Describe your book in 10 words or fewer.
Heist story set on the moon.
Your last book, “The Martian,” was set on Mars. If you had to choose, would you rather go to Mars or the moon?
I would rather not go to either, but if I had to go to one, I guess I’d rather go to the moon because it’s closer and would make it easier for me to come back. I write about brave people, but I’m not one of them.
I like the idea of those places, but I don’t like the idea of me going to those places. I’m pretty sure that George R.R. Martin would not want to live in Westeros either. Just cause you write about it doesn’t mean you’d personally want to be there.
Is there a question you’re tired of getting asked about “Artemis”?
The one that I find myself explaining a lot was, “Talk to us about writing a female lead when you’re a man.” And I’m like, OK. Do people always ask J.K. Rowling, “Tell us about writing a teenage boy lead when you’re a woman.” Or to J.R.R Tolkien who was, to my knowledge, never an elf? I don’t see the value in that question.
What is your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area?
The boring answer is like woodworking, but what I like to do in the area is my friends and I like to go to high-end cocktail bars. There’s a group of us who are really into mixology. We like going and trying out new high-end cocktails and cocktail bars.
Do you have a favorite cocktail bar in the area?
I think my favorite in all of the Bay Area is probably Smuggler’s Cove here in San Francisco, although San Francisco is kind of far. I live in Sunnyvale, so San Francisco is a bit of schlep for me to get to, so I’m actually really fond of Haberdasher, which used to be called Single Barrel, in San Jose.
Do you mix your own drinks as well?
Oh yes, absolutely. I’ve got a wet bar at home.
What’s your specialty?
I don’t know if I have a specialty, but the drink I most often make for myself and for my friends is a Rum Old-Fashioned, which is basically just an Old-Fashioned, but I use a dark rum instead of whiskey.
If you could have everyone in the world read one book you didn’t write, what would it be?
I guess I’d want it to be something fun because I’m not interested in trying to change people’s opinions or ideals or anything like that. So just something that’s fun. How about “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov? That’s my favorite book, so let’s make everyone else read it.
What’s on your to-read list right now?
You’re putting me on the spot. I can’t remember off the top of my head.
So the problem is — well, it’s not a problem, it’s awesome — I always get sent those books well in advance. So the books that are coming out soon, I’ve already read. “Paradox Bound” by Peter Clines is very good. “Endurance” by Scott Kelly, that’s nonfiction. That’s really good.
I guess one thing I will say is I’ll read pretty much anything by Mary Roach. She writes nonfiction. Whatever random topic she decides to cover next — I got sucked in by reading “Packing for Mars,” which was all about the space industry, but it doesn’t matter. She could talk about the history of lint, and I’d be enthralled. She’s really good at what she does.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.