SpaceChampion

The Expanse #2: Caliban's Thread - [spoilers for book only up to latest tv show episode]

372 posts in this topic

Protomolecule design specifications (spoilers for all books):

 

The task of the protomolecule is to build a portal and connect the Sol system to “the Expanse”—to give it a name. I mean the 1600 systems connected by the weird portal. This happened 2 billion years ago. The reason to use the Sol system is that it apparently has a planet of the right size and the right distance to its star to support whatever civilisation wanted to inhabit it. (We see that the other planets in the Expanse have similar characteristics.)

In order to work, the protomolecule needs biomass, which Earth had then. So Alien Civilisation sent a building device (much like a robot), probably on a millions-year long journey using standard physics (i.e., without funky dimension portals, much like infected-Eros moves about.) Plan fails, device gets captured.  

From the perspective of the device, it just “wants” to build a portal, so that Earth becomes reachable faster. So when it wakes up again, that’s what it starts building. Eros+Venus provide enough bricks to play with, Julie’s change of plan does not violate its ultimate goal.

Then it sets off and constructs the portal, much like 1599 other devices have already done throughout history. The plan was not to destroy Earth; it was to connect Young Earth to the Expanse (so that the Aliens can live there, or go on holiday, or whatever. Study it, maybe.)

Only glitch is that the Alien civilisation seems to now be extinct, because of an epic war with another civilisation. 

[\spoiler]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

21 hours ago, boojam said:

A very Clarke-ian 'alien', not indistinguishable from magic, just indistinguishable!

I like that.

Like Happy Ent, spoilers for all books, though I give fewer specifics than Happy Ent does.

Spoiler

Agreed boojam, the protomolecule does seem 'Clarke-ian' from what little I've read of Clarke.

As I think you surmised, the protomolecule is not the alien, only the aliens' tool, unimaginably complex, resourceful and inventive though it seems to humans.  The protomolecule itself does not have consciousness, though its creators clearly did.  But the protomolecule does improvise to find ways to use the consciousness of living things it encounters to further its assigned goal even though it was designed to work with microbes without consciousness.  And it manages all that without being aware that it does so, or aware of anything really (since again, it is not conscious itself).  In the end, Julie is not the only one thus used.

What it creates, and what that leads to, has more far-reaching ramifications for humans than... well, anything.

And the aliens themselves who created such a tool?  Where are they?

Where indeed.  Abraham and Franck provide an interesting suggestion about Fermi's Paradox, which one of their characters references in book 5 in fact.

 

Edited by Wethers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

On 3/6/2017 at 7:48 PM, karaddin said:

 fI will add that something I picked up from the podcast (where Drummer = Sam amalgamation was confirmed) is that the protomolecule is warping reality more than I expected. I don't think it explains things like Holden walking around the Roci while its chasing the ship around Eros (which was one of the things that bugged me a little as well - I just had to go with 'the acceleration is actually much less than would make the ship move like that, but TV constraints'), but there may be some other things that look off initially but are explained by it later.

Spoiler

Being a SF reader since 1953 all this is quite familiar to me. The Monolith Makers in 2001 never make an explicit appearance on screen a decision that Kubrick made after consideration of possible representations. 2001 owes more to Childhoods End (the prose novel) than to The Sentinel in that department. 

 

The Expanse is extraordinary as visual drama science fiction, even if it has seams. Alas no way for them to acknowledge John W Campbell and almost every good science fiction writer from 1938 on, there is heavy borrowing from the sources , but then the writers  Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck have acknowledged that, also both have been mentored by George R R Martin .

I have not read the novels, these days that would be hard for me to do.

 Anyone notice that Epstein’s space jalopy seems to owe a lot to Robert Heinlein’s Torch Ships? The show had not, that I remember, to that point explained why or how the general solar system ships could have as much fuel as Hopalong Cassidy had bullets in those old B westerns. The physics is not explained and I don’t think the conservation laws of physics allow it.

Also if The Expanse is set 200 years in the future , going back 137 years makes that 2080,  might be a colony on Mars in 2080 , but I don’t believe it will be a big one, or one that has space ship junk yards. When I saw 2001 in 1968 I said to myself , there will be no big instillation on the Moon in 2001 , and there still is not.

200 years in the future is old prose science fiction nomenclature, 200 was considered a good hedge for extrapolation. This device was used by Star Trek too. I am thinking even for The Expanse’s Solar System 300 would have been a better setting.

 

 

Edited by boojam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

s2e5

Roci chases Eros. Distances are out of the window here. Part of the drama wants there to be 15 light minutes between the Roci and Earth (communication delay), but the kinetic problem with the missiles and evacuation of Earth pretend that collision is imminent. Sloppy and unnecessary. 

And 15 G burn? “Alex, cut the brakes but do not lose visual?” C’mon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Happy Ent said:

s2e5

Roci chases Eros. Distances are out of the window here. Part of the drama wants there to be 15 light minutes between the Roci and Earth (communication delay), but the kinetic problem with the missiles and evacuation of Earth pretend that collision is imminent. Sloppy and unnecessary. 

And 15 G burn? “Alex, cut the brakes but do not lose visual?” C’mon.

Hey in the latest episode it shows how the Roci is really docked with Tycho and it makes sense: while it looks like Roci is docked flat on the spin ring, it is not docked on the outer diameter of the ring, but on its side - thus the Roci's decks are parallel to the Tycho floor, and should experience the same centrifugal force.

Here is a concept art for the show with various ships docked to Tycho. http://magazine.artstation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/160126_NorthFront_TychoStation_Concept_03v4.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much Corvinus! Very nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

All episode long was spent watching the characters climbing stairs.  All I thought about was Happy Ent complaining that they never climb stairs.  Lol

Hard to really judge this episode.  Sort of filler, sort of a shifting of gears.  We'll see how it fits in when next week comes around.  Now if I could only go into a coma until next wednesday..

Edited by Dr. Pepper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The show Belters are kind of laughable, but I love Jared Harris' portrayal of Anderson Dawes. Are the neck tattoos Belters sport supposed to pay tribute to the scars older Belters like Dawes have from the old spacesuits which would burn their skin?

I love Amos' interactions with the scientist.

I was pleased to get Draper's recollection from the Ganymede fight. However, I was a little confused as to whether they were pushing  Bobbie to cover up the incident or tell the truth, with the chaplain and intelligence officer seemingly looking for different stories. It's been a while since I've read Caliban's War, so my memory is a little foggy. I can't wait until she gets to Earth.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I thought the actress who played Draper did a great job this episode, other than that, it was just a filler as others stated, at least for me.  Interesting thought still.

 

Corvinus, agree, nice job, describes how centripetal forces work on docked spacecraft on a station constructed in that manner.

Edited by SerHaHa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Corvinus said:

Hey in the latest episode it shows how the Roci is really docked with Tycho and it makes sense: while it looks like Roci is docked flat on the spin ring, it is not docked on the outer diameter of the ring, but on its side - thus the Roci's decks are parallel to the Tycho floor, and should experience the same centrifugal force.

Here is a concept art for the show with various ships docked to Tycho. http://magazine.artstation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/160126_NorthFront_TychoStation_Concept_03v4.jpg

Looking at that art reminds me of what a paradigm shift (in film making)  2001: A Space Odyssey was 49 years ago!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, S2E8.

Spoiler

Quite a departure from the books in multiple ways.  Not necessarily a criticism, and parts were really good.  Might need to re-watch.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Wethers said:

Wow, S2E8.

  Hide contents

Quite a departure from the books in multiple ways.  Not necessarily a criticism, and parts were really good.  Might need to re-watch.

 

I have very little memory of Caliban's War but it did feel like they're condensing the material. Am I right?

Spoiler

I certainly don't remember the part where that Belter captain spaces all the inners, but Prax's friend dying in space was a pretty good shot.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Security on Tycho is absolute trash. Cara Gee, however, was fantastic this episode.

The spacing was an excellent scene.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

20 minutes ago, Astromech said:

Security on Tycho is absolute trash. Cara Gee, however, was fantastic this episode.

The spacing was an excellent scene.

Well when there's a guy on the inside working to undermine said security, I wouldn't say it's trash. And wasn't this the episode that had the amazing Cara Gee scene that Daniel Abraham mentioned? Is it the entire scene, or just her execution of the two guys at the end?

By the way I liked (and Happy Ent should, too) the part where Amos goes outside, and he's barely hanging on with the mag boots.

Edited by Corvinus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Corvinus said:

Well when there's a guy on the inside working to undermine said security, I wouldn't say it's trash. And wasn't this the episode that had the amazing Cara Gee scene that Daniel Abraham mentioned? Is it the entire scene, or just her execution of the two guys at the end?

By the way I liked (and Happy Ent should, too) the part where Amos goes outside, and he's barely hanging on with the mag boots.

But Cara's character(the head of security, no less) knew Dawes was trying to enlist help in securing the nukes since at least the last episode when he tried to get her on his side. I initially thought she may be working with him. And Dawes was able to escape with two ships. I could understand the one slip up, but not the second. Considering how many belters work on Tycho, you'd think security would be tighter with the increased threats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Corvinus said:

I have very little memory of Caliban's War but it did feel like they're condensing the material. Am I right?

I feel like in the contrary they're expanding on the book, like they did for the first one. IIRC, in the book, they meet Prax directly in Ganymede, right? They're still not there yet...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, this episode was fantastic! After 28 minutes I looked at the time and was delighted to see a third of the episode was still left.

Prax was of course extremely good as well as Drummer, but I think what elevated this episode was how seamlessly Prax's story was interwoven with the happenings on Tycho.

The spacing scene was beautiful, Amos' spacewalk was scary (you could practically feel the forces trying to force him off) and the control room was intense.

Definitely looks like most of Caliban's War will be shown in season 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

As a little easter egg for book-readers, did anyone notice that Mei had on a "Misko and Marisko" backpack?

Reference to the children's show whose theme Holden and Miller hummed to try to stay sane while dying from severe radiation poisoning as they tried to survive and escape the devolving nightmare that was Eros while the rented CPM thugs kept the crowd penned on the casino level (more drawn out in the books than in S1 E9/10).

Edited by Wethers
Misko and Marisko text link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.