Tag Archives: james sa corey

Galactic Suburbia 143

In which we talk reviews and gender balance thanks to the Strange Horizons SF count, and Alisa makes books while Tansy & Alex visit the theatre! you can get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

coriolanus-covWhat’s New on the Internet?

Locus Awards finalists
Shirley Jackson nominees: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2016/05/2015-shirley-jackson-awards-nominees/

Peter MacNamara Achievement Award

Strange Horizons – the 2015 SF Count

CULTURE CONSUMED

Tansy: A Sci-Fi Vision of Love from a 318 year old hologram, by Monica Byrne , Wuthering Heights by shake & stir co; Whip it, Kingston City Rollers

Alisa: Working on the release of the Tara Sharp mysteries by Marianne Delacourt (now available for pre-order) and Grant Watson’s upcoming book of film essays.

Alex: Coriolanus (all female production directed by Grant Watson for Heartstring, Melbourne’s new independent theatre); The Dark Labyrinth, Lawrence Durrell; Nemesis Games, James SA Corey; Saga vol 5; Fringe rewatch, The Katering Show

Skype number: 03 90164171 (within Australia) +613 90164171 (from overseas)

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Nemesis Games

Previously, in The Expanse: Leviathan Wakes; Caliban’s War; Abaddon’s Gate; Cibola Burn.

Unknown.jpegBasically my entire review of this book consists of JAMES COREY YOU ARE TOO MEAN FOR WORDS WHY FOR DID YOU DO THAT?!

Spoilers for the first four. Duh.

The preceding books have mostly focussed on Holden and someone else, or a few other someones, doing important things in the solar system. This time there are four points of view: Holden, Amos, Alex, and Naomi. This should have warned me about what was coming, but somehow my brain refused to process the obvious reason for doing this.

Corey splits up the crew of the Roci.

Splits. Them. Up.

I mean, it was bad enough when half the crew went onto the surface of a planet in the last book. Of course sometimes one or more have gone off on their own individual missions. But never before have the four been pursuing largely separate ends, separate from one another. It was devastating.

Where Cibola was focussed on the early attempts at colonising a new planet through the gate, this is focussed squarely on the repercussions of such colonising for the solar system itself. After all, why bother terraforming a planet when there are planets already ready to be colonised, where you can walk on the surface? Why break your back mining asteroids when there’s minerals on the worlds where you can breathe the air? … but then what happens to those places that had people working on them, who then leave?

It’s kind of an epic version of a gold rush.

Overall this is another excellent, page-turning, enthralling novel and I cannot wait for the sixth (and final, I think) volume.

I have one quibble. Continue reading →

Cibola Burn

Unknown-1.jpegIt’s weird. I did my mammoth James SA Corey re-read specifically in order to read this and then… it took me a while to really get into it. Partly, I think that’s because it was jarring to go from the familiar to the not but with some familiarity; it kind of threw me. And then there’s the fact that most of this book is set on, or orbiting above, a planet. I mean, there’s been bits set on Earth before, and quite a lot within the inhabited asteroids, but – a planet? as the main setting for an Expanse novel? That’s just weird.

But, eventually I got there. And of course I’m glad I did because this, really, is the conclusion to the arc that started with Leviathan Wakes (… although I’ve just bought the fifth novel and there’s a sixth due next year, so I don’t really know what’s going to happen there).

As always, there are multiple narrators. The prologue starts with Bobbie Draper, which is mean because it meant she wouldn’t feature and I really like Bobbie. Anyway. The first chapter is Basia, and it took me a little while to recognise the name (and a rather obvious hint, actually): but this is Miller’s acquaintance from Eros, the one whose little boy was kidnapped at the same time as Mai. He’s been part of the first wave of people to head out through one of the gates that’s now opened to the galaxy; basically, they’re squatters. Which is mostly fine, since their planet has a nice store of lithium for digging up and then selling – but because of that lithium, there’s a corporate ship coming with offical Earth papers that say the planet is theirs for the mining. Of course, why should an Earth piece of paper make a difference? And so Basia gets caught up with the wrong people (saboteurs) for the right reasons (family and freedom). He has many difficult decisions to make over the course of the novel.

The second narrator is Elvi, a scientist who is coming to the new planet (whose name depends on which side you’re on) with the corporate ship because heck, wouldn’t you? Chance to check out (what should be) a pristine new environment? Of course things go wrong (see previous comment on Basia’s friends), but she does at least get to do some science. I wasn’t always happy with Elvi’s narrative; I’m particularly conflicted about the romantic aspects, because while I think I understand it, it did feel a bit like “oh a lady must feel romance” and that makes me sad. She does get to be a kickass scientist though, which I guess is a consolation.

Third is Havelock, and I am so embarrassed by how long it took me to figure out who this was. It wasn’t until there were really obvious comments about being an Earther and being part of Belter security that I realised: this was Miller’s partner, back in the day. The one he warned off when things were getting difficult for Earthers. So we have a marvellous set of call-backs to the first novel, here. I mostly liked Havelock, although his tendency to just follow and mirror what his leaders are doing got pretty old. I enjoyed the perspective he allowed, though – it did add a nice rounding to the story.

And fourthly, of course, what would an Expanse novel be without James Holden? Oh Jim. Seriously. This time, he’s involved precisely because of who he is: one of the most notorious men in the solar system, renowned for a disturbing sense of decency and fierce love of truth. Who better to negotiate between Belter squatters and an Earther corporation? BAHAHA.

Also, of course, Miller is still around and being annoying in Holden’s head. In fact, the artefact gets its own occasional appearance in the narration of the story…

Not quite as enjoyable as the previous novels, but still a really solid SF story… and the epilogue makes me rather excited for the fifth.

You can get Cibola Burn from Fishpond.

Galactic Suburbia 133

In which Alisa has feelings about Lovecraft’s image being associated with (and from next year, removed from) the World Fantasy Award.

WHAT’S NEW ON THE INTERNET

World Fantasy Awards announced

CULTURE CONSUMED

ALEX: Alex: re-reading the James SA Corey series, The Expanse, books 1-3, so I could read the fourth one, Cibola Burn; Eff Yeah Film and Feminism podcast; Manners and Mutiny, Gail Carriger.

ALISA: PhD research and experiments.

TANSY: Tremontaine Parts 1-3 by Ellen Kushner & others, The Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, I, Zombie, Supergirl, Jessica Jones

Skype number: 03 90164171 (within Australia) +613 90164171 (from overseas)

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Abaddon’s Gate: Redux

(Some spoilers below for Leviathan Wakes and Caliban’s War. READ THEM.)

The last line of Caliban’s War was an absolute killer, because I read it when it was first published which meant that the next book was about a year away and GOODNESS ME it was a cliffhanger. So I preordered this as soon as I could and happily, it arrived about a week before I went on holidays. I very carefully put it on a shelf where it wasn’t tempting me to read it… and then this week, on holidays, I cracked it open and devoured it in one day. And it was worth the wait. Oh yes. Thank you, James Corey.*

Naw. Cute. PastMe did not feel the need to reread the other two, clearly.  Continue reading →

Caliban’s War: Redux

This review will contain spoilers for Leviathan’s Wake, the first in this series. As with that book, I’ve just reread this one, so this is the REDUX…

Continue reading →

Leviathan Wakes: redux

I have the fourth book in the Expanse series waiting to be read… but I haven’t read the other three in a long time, and then only once each. So, yes, I am re-reading. And I’m now going to do a Le Guin and REDUX my review of Leviathan Wakes.

Continue reading →

Galactic Suburbia 104

In which we gaze into the World of the Future with a double dose of Culture Consumed and Culture Yet To Consume. Get us at iTunes or Galactic Suburbia.

Culture We Are Looking Forward To

Alex: new James SA Corey; Isobelle Carmody’s last Obernewtyn novel; every TPP; Guardians of the Galaxy; Snowpiercer; Saga.

Tansy: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison; Kameron Hurley, The Mirror Empire; Ben Peek, The Godless; Sailor Moon

Alisa: Extant

Culture We Have Consumed

Alisa: Twinmaker, Sean Williams

Alex: holidays!! Diaspora, Greg Egan; The Reluctant Swordsman, Dave Duncan; James Tiptree Award Anthology 3

Tansy: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet.

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia 84!

bowieIn which we ask the all-important question, what do David Bowie, Tolkien, Judith Merril, H.R. Giger and Joanna Russ have in common? Also harassment in SF, and the many shades of awesome that was Captain Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager

SF Hall of Fame includes some familiar names.

Elise Matthesen reports sexual harassment at Wiscon, kicking off a long conversation across various spots on the internet about harassment, procedures, and gender issues.

Some of the related posts we discuss:
Alisa: It’s Not Just Them Over There
Tansy: Sexual Harassment at SF Conventions (links mostly)
Genevieve Valentine on “Dealing with It
Elise Matthesen’s post at Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog (with commentary, and links to all the other hosts of the post)
Jared Axelrod on “Ruining the Party
SFFragette: Moving SFF/F into the 21st Century

Culture Consumed

ALISA: Defiance and Voyager rewatch, and Why Voyager Is The Most Feminist (and Best) Star Trek

TANSY: Captain Marvel: Down, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Dexter Soy & Emma Rios (artists); Xena Season 4; Ovid’s Heroines by Clare Pollard, Warehouse 13 Season 1

ALEX: Abaddon’s Gate, James SA Corey; The Lowest Heaven (anthology; ETA: discussed on Last Short Story!)

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Abaddon’s Gate

Unknown

HOOOORAAAAAAAAY.

(Some spoilers below for Leviathan Wakes and Caliban’s War. READ THEM.)

The last line of Caliban’s War was an absolute killer, because I read it when it was first published which meant that the next book was about a year away and GOODNESS ME it was a cliffhanger. So I preordered this as soon as I could and happily, it arrived about a week before I went on holidays. I very carefully put it on a shelf where it wasn’t tempting me to read it… and then this week, on holidays, I cracked it open and devoured it in one day. And it was worth the wait. Oh yes. Thank you, James Corey.*

At the end of Caliban’s War, the protomolecule has been doing weird things on Venus, the Mao-Kwik company has been busted for attempting to weaponise it, and Miller – who died, going with the protomolecule to Venus – has just appeared to James Holden, who has once again (somewhat accidentally) been fundamental to saving the universe (well, the solar system). The conclusion to the series has the protomolecule and its… construction project… out near Uranus’ orbit (it’s basically gone on its own little Grand Tour of the system… and now I’m imagining the Ring being made out of Lego. Oops). Earth and Mars are once again sitting in an uneasy truce with each other, with the Outer Planets Alliance (OPA) not sure where it fits. Meanwhile James Holden is almost happy with his crew (but we all know that won’t last)…. While some of the early story takes place on-planet (or moon), most of it happens on board space ships of varying sizes, which is a big change from the earlier two where Earth and Ganymede in particular played important roles. Much of it also happens a significant time-delay away from official decision-making bodies, highlighting the issues of merely light-speed communication when people are many light-hours apart.

As with the first two books, this is told from multiple perspectives. The only one that is continuous across the three is Holden, master of the Rocinante (and OH! I just GOT the name, in making sure I was spelling it correctly. Don Quixote’s horse!!) and generally known across the solar system as a truth-telling, occasionally annoying, bad-ass. I love Holden. He is far from perfect, but he does the very best he can by his crew – who have, as a group, come a delightfully long way from their dysfunctional beginnings in Leviathan. (They’re still somewhat dysfunctional as individuals, but they work exceptionally well as a team.) He’s finally it together properly with Naomi, he’s getting good above-board work to keep the ship flying (… hmmm. It now occurs to me that there are some distinct similarities between Holden and Malcolm Reynolds. Huh.), and he really is trying to leave his solar-system-shaking days behind him. Honest. The fact that Miller – ghost? or something? – keeps bugging him… well, that’s a sign he’d rather ignore. Pity we all know that’s not going to work.

There are three other narrative streams, and (as with the other books) they have distinctly different parts to play in the story. Melba – not her real name – has one driving ambition, and it is not a nice one. Hers is a really interesting exploration of how an individual impacts on wider events. Holden’s story does, too, except that the way he impacts on wider events is usually accidental – or at least begins that way, as he is driven to bigger events, all to get back to his nice comfortable leave-me-alone life. Melba, though, doesn’t really care what impact she has on other people as long as her goal is achieved. Her development over the novel is the greatest of any character – or perhaps it just seems that way as the reader gets deeper into her head over the course of it.

Melba’s opposite in many ways is Anna, a Methodist minister who’s been out on a Jovian moon with her wife and daughter for two years. Let me say here that one of the most awesome things about this story is the way it takes religion seriously, and as a genuine force to be considered in medium-term science fiction. The religious figures are not perfect, and nor should they be – Corey is representing humanity in its fullness here. But Anna has conversations about the spiritual impact of the protomolecule’s existence, about what it means if there are aliens for those who hold to Christianity (are they fallen, like humanity? if so, does that mean that Christ died for them?) – and that’s fine, that’s acceptable. I can’t express how happy it makes me to see religion acknowledged like that. Anyway – Anna ends up on a ship heading out to the Ring. She gets to play a really important role on a personal level with a lot of people, but she herself basically stays the same over the course of the events.

Fourthly, and acting in some ways as Holden’s opposite, is Bull. An Earther in service to the OPA because of the charisma of its leader, Fred Johnson, Bull is on board the OPA ship going to investigate the Ring as security chief. I really like Bull. He is honest about himself and his limits, he tries hard to get the job done, and he’s willing to take the consequences when they’re in service to a worthwhile cause. It was a small event concerning Bull that brought a tear to my eye, which is not something I expected in a grandiose space tale like this one. Bull has a very tough job, especially as an Earther in charge of a largely Belter (that is, people from the asteroid belt, not from Earth or Mars) crew.

This issue of racism is an intriguing one throughout the series. I think (in my whitey-white way, I hope) that Corey* has done a very good job of showing the colonisation of the solar system as a multi-ethnic business; there are a few lines where someone is described along the lines of “if he was from Earth, he’d be [X]; here, he was a Belter.” The names are a delightful mash of multiple European, Asian, and African backgrounds (maybe South American as well, but I have less familiarity there and can’t be sure to pick it up). Sadly, but realistically, there is still xenophobia – and it’s based largely on where you were born. Planetary birth? You’re a duster, to a Belter. Born in the asteroids or on a moon? You’re a skinny, to an Earth- or Mars-born. And given the political situation – two wars between Earth and Mars, the Outer Planetary Alliance only recently (and that sketchily) graduating from terrorist organisation – place of birth can still be seen as having a significant impact on your politics and views on a range of important issues, like who gets to be boss of the inner solar system. I think Corey does a very good job of showing these issues in a sympathetic, not condemning but not condoning, manner.

This is a brilliant end to an exciting series. There is action, there is drama; there are explosions and chases, personal confrontations as well as planetary ones. Women and men both play important roles, the solar system is not white, and James Holden finally find out what the hell Miller wants with him.

You can get Abaddon’s Gate from Fishpond.

*Yes, I know that James Corey is actually two people.