We catch up with Andy Weir, whose novel 'The Martian' went from self-published online project to Oscar-winning film, on the eve of the publication of his follow-up, 'Artemis.'
by David Compa
The northwest corner of his office in Northern California, Andy Weir likes to joke, is the best spot for “cowering and crying,” but the southwest corner gets the better light. So what does Weir have to cry about? He’s a huge success: His novel, “The Martian,” self-released in 2011, scored a publishing deal and a movie option in the same week and went on to become a blockbuster bestseller and a hit movie starring Matt Damon. A modified version of the book is used to help teach science in classrooms around the country — also ensuring a new generation of readers. His short story “The Egg” — a viral hit online — became the basis of Logic’s rap-concept album “Everybody,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard last spring. And Weir’s fanfic story “Lacero,” a prequel to fellow novelist Ernest Cline’s bestselling “Ready Player One” — is now included as canon in a sold-out limited edition of the book, just as anticipation is ramping up for the Steven Spielberg film adaptation coming next year. Yet Weir, who wears a jaunty cap and a cheery grin during most of his public appearances, says he is plagued by crippling self-doubt. What if he’s a one-hit wonder, he wonders? What if his just-released follow-up novel, “Artemis,” fails to measure up? Has his success been a fluke? Weir is clearly suffering imposter syndrome anxiety. While in New Mexico this year to shoot a television pilot for a proposed NASA series, Weir sought advice from fellow writer and cap-aficionado George R.R. Martin. “I was like, ‘Now is when everybody is going to find out that I actually suck. That I don’t know what the hell I’m doing,’ ” Weir said. “And George was like, ‘Yeah, that feeling never ends. You’ll still feel that way when you’re writing your 28th book.’ ” Paresh Dave / Los Angeles Times Matt Damon, Ridley Scott, Andy Weir and NASA scientist Jim Green discuss Mars and the film 'The Martian' in 2015. Matt Damon, Ridley Scott, Andy Weir and NASA scientist Jim Green discuss Mars and the film 'The Martian' in 2015. (Paresh Dave / Los Angeles Times) Weir thinks of his new novel, “Artemis,” as his fourth book. His first attempt at a novel was written when he was studying computer science at UC San