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Visiting Andy Weir’s lunar city Artemis at New York Comic Con

When Andy Weir published his first novel The Martian a couple of years ago, it went on to become a major best-seller and blockbuster film. His next novel is Artemis, a crime thriller set on the Moon, and New York Comic Con fans have the opportunity to step right into that story. It’s all part of an extensive exhibit put together by Audible to promote the book, entitled The Museum of Artemis: Life on the Moon.

The novel follows Jazz, a young woman who runs a smuggling operation out of the titular lunar city. When she’s invited to take part in a scheme that promises a major payday, she suddenly finds herself in the midst of a vast conspiracy, with control of her home city hanging in the balance.

That’s the basis for the installation, as well. It’s a quasi in-universe museum exhibit that brings the world of Weir’s novel off the page and onto the convention center floor. There are items like a space suit, a replica of Jazz’s living quarters (known as a “coffin”), examples of the food she and her fellow lunar residents eat, and even a scale to see how much one would weigh on the Moon’s surface. Accompanying each exhibit station are excerpts from the novel’s audiobook, which is read by Daredevil’s Rosario Dawson.

The props are a clever way to bring the the book to life, but the installation’s showstopper is Museum of the Moon, a massive art project created by UK artist Luke Jerram. The piece is a 1:500,000 scale replica of the Moon, created by stitching together high-resolution NASA images of the lunar surface into a giant globe approximately 23 feet wide. The project has been traveling around the world for the last year, but its New York Comic Con stop is the first time it’s appeared in the United States.

Hanging in the middle of the exhibit, it’s an awe-inspiring sight. While we’re used to seeing the Moon just by stepping outside and looking up into the night sky, the massive globe offers something different: the opportunity to peruse NASA’s incredibly detailed imagery of the surface right up close.

These types of activations are common for films and television shows, but having one for a novel is almost unheard of. What it brings to the table for potential readers is obvious: a way to touch and experience a small sliver of Weir’s new fictional world, even though it’s from a book that isn’t even out yet.

Photography by Andrew Liptak / The Verge

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