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Kalbear

Persepolis Rising (Book 7 of the Expanse) - SPOILERS

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1 hour ago, Bronn Stone said:

The previous books focused on the missions that went wonky, but there were plenty of indications that there were previous missions that all went fine.  The books cover the exceptions, not the rule.

Oh, come on, let's not be dishonest here.  "They did everything just fine except for all those times they didn't."  That's true about anything and allows you to handwave all the stupid shit away.  The fact is that almost all of these characters ended up together precisely because they frequently broke the rules and didn't follow orders.  I think Alex might be the only exception in the group.  The reasons that Holden and co were able to get away with it in the previous books is because things were in serious and constant flux and they were often the only ones with all of the info, the skills, or the willingness.  The were contracted largely because there was no other choice and nearly everyone who worked with them complained about how they did things.  These books start at the tail end of 30 years of stability.  A crew whose basic characterisation includes breaking the rules isn't going going to stay employed long with the major powers unless they undergo major changes and the book goes through some (albeit lazy) effort to claim they didn't.  They either underwent major changes or they didn't.  

 

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If one of us is being dishonest, it isn't me.

There were undocumented stable periods in previous novels (albeit much shorter) and an undocumented stable period in this novel.

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I guess I don't understand the argument one way or another. Stability doesn't mean static. Most people experience a fairly 'stable' life by comparison to the Roci, but they go through massive changes simply due to chance and life happening. 

We can argue about whether or not wiping out half of Earths population and influence would tend to make things more or less stable in the universe (it wouldn't) or if it's okay not to show stability for 30 years, but really it doesn't matter, because the reality is that people do change quite a bit in 30 years time. 

Here's an example: why wouldn't Bobbie and Amos had a fight like they did in 30 years? Amos got pissed because Clarissa was possibly going to die and he couldn't do anything about it - is it that reasonable that Amos wouldn't have gotten pissed like that in 30 years time? To me, that seems odd - either he would have become significantly more stable and chill over the years or he would have exploded like that many times. 

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1 minute ago, Bronn Stone said:

If one of us is being dishonest, it isn't me.

There were undocumented stable periods in previous novels (albeit much shorter) and an undocumented stable period in this novel.

Sorry, I guess I missed those three decade long periods of stability in those other books.  You'll have to point them out to me.  Maybe also try to point out how during those periods of instability the Roci crew weren't uniquely situated to be offered the job (in those situations where they didn't force their way in).  Keep in mind that they had a very specialized ship and the use of such ship was something that helped the belt be on more even keel during those periods of instability.  This isn't the case after 30+ years of no wars and exponential growth.  The Roci is now an aging ship, the crew an aging one that doesn't follow orders.  It's stupid as fuck that Drummer is calling on this gun ship with a known problematic crew when there were obviously other options for such a serious job. 

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13 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I guess I don't understand the argument one way or another. Stability doesn't mean static. Most people experience a fairly 'stable' life by comparison to the Roci, but they go through massive changes simply due to chance and life happening. 

We can argue about whether or not wiping out half of Earths population and influence would tend to make things more or less stable in the universe (it wouldn't) or if it's okay not to show stability for 30 years, but really it doesn't matter, because the reality is that people do change quite a bit in 30 years time. 

Here's an example: why wouldn't Bobbie and Amos had a fight like they did in 30 years? Amos got pissed because Clarissa was possibly going to die and he couldn't do anything about it - is it that reasonable that Amos wouldn't have gotten pissed like that in 30 years time? To me, that seems odd - either he would have become significantly more stable and chill over the years or he would have exploded like that many times. 

The stability argument comes into it when you consider that the characters were static.  When there was a bunch of instability, it was understable why the Roci crew was used despite their unpredictable nature.  Many times they were the only option, or the only best option.  But if they've been static for 30 years when the three major powers have enjoyed a steady alliance, then their continued service seems ludicrous.  The TU is building massive cities and war ships.  They have a full component of diplomats and other governmental type workers.  They don't need the Roci crew, they don't need that unpredictability.  The use of her at the start of the series is what makes the static nature of the crew stupid and lazy.  Literally nothing has changed with them.  It's like they were frozen in time, with a few minutes of Alex getting married and having a kid, which didn't seem to affect him in any way.  Bobbie mentions the kid more than Alex does and only to highlight how much she and Alex are besties.  Any stories they mention tend to be ones that happened 30+ years ago.  They were a crew stuck in times gone past and somehow the major players are still hiring them.  No way.  Kills the plausibility of the book.

I hope this series is almost done.  I'm thankfully not giving any money to it, but I'm stuck in that space where I've devoted enough time that I just want to see how it ends.

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16 hours ago, Dr. Pepper said:

That would explain how they might have high profile and important jobs in the years immediately after we last saw them.  Might even carry them for a decade.  But 30 years?  No way.  They can only ignore the parameters of the job or completely alter relationships between governing bodies so much before that celebrity status no longer holds weight.

As I said, celebrity status only has to hold for long enough for the crew to establish a reputation otherwise, which should be simple for them to do. They're well-equipped and highly competent, after all. The assumption that they regularly go off-script is founded on the assumption that they regularly get jobs that might cause them to go off-script, that involve moral dilemmas or difficult questions, but actually, the likelihood is that they mostly get routine work. 

Why does Drummer send them to Freehold? Firstly because they have a gunship and she doesn't have a navy. But I also got the impression that she was on some level not committed to killing the colony, and so wasn't that pissed when Holden found a way not to do that.

Before Laconia showed up, Drummer still had options that didn't involve turning the Transport Union into a de facto government of the colonies. They could have handed over the governor to the EMC, for example. They could have convened with the colonies to discuss how to avoid this happening again.

The one thing that wasn't going to happen was a war or trade war. The colonists didn't have the power to prosecute either. The EMC could have cut off trade, but they had no viable military options to seize Medina, and cutting off trade would hurt the TU but kill the colonies. So the parties would have sorted something out politically. Limited legal authority for the TU to prosecute colonists who violate agreements on gate use, etc. 

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4 hours ago, mormont said:

As I said, celebrity status only has to hold for long enough for the crew to establish a reputation otherwise, which should be simple for them to do. They're well-equipped and highly competent, after all. The assumption that they regularly go off-script is founded on the assumption that they regularly get jobs that might cause them to go off-script, that involve moral dilemmas or difficult questions, but actually, the likelihood is that they mostly get routine work. 

Why does Drummer send them to Freehold? Firstly because they have a gunship and she doesn't have a navy. But I also got the impression that she was on some level not committed to killing the colony, and so wasn't that pissed when Holden found a way not to do that.

Before Laconia showed up, Drummer still had options that didn't involve turning the Transport Union into a de facto government of the colonies. They could have handed over the governor to the EMC, for example. They could have convened with the colonies to discuss how to avoid this happening again.

The one thing that wasn't going to happen was a war or trade war. The colonists didn't have the power to prosecute either. The EMC could have cut off trade, but they had no viable military options to seize Medina, and cutting off trade would hurt the TU but kill the colonies. So the parties would have sorted something out politically. Limited legal authority for the TU to prosecute colonists who violate agreements on gate use, etc. 

So your conclusion is that maybe they didn't go off script, but maybe their reputation for going off script is why Drummer sends them.  Yes, they have a gun ship, but so does she.  She has access to dozens.  We were with her in real time while she used those ships and void cities during a war with Laconia.  

Sorry, but things were going to change after Holden's stunt.  Drummer was aware of it.  Unless you think she was also wrong.  Again, the only reason we don't see the fall out from it is because Laconia showed up.  

 

Edited by Dr. Pepper

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3 minutes ago, Dr. Pepper said:

So your conclusion is that maybe they didn't go off script, but maybe their reputation for going off script is why Drummer sends them. 

Yes? These two things aren't mutually exclusive. I mean, one might have a reputation for being reliable in one context but not in another. I think it's quite easy to assume the crew of the Roci are known to be reliable and to get the job done in many ways - if the job is a simple one with clear objectives and no big moral issues. Routine jobs, like I said: not necessarily easy ones, but just not politically sensitive ones.

3 minutes ago, Dr. Pepper said:

Yes, they have a gun ship, but so does she.  She has access to dozens.  We were with her in real time while she used those ships and void cities during a war with Laconia.  

Yeah, sure. But my impression was that most of those are the same as the Roci, independent contractors - and some were not dedicated military ships but ships pressed into service as such. They may not have been suitable or available for the Freehold job. I mean, these are the sort of assumptions any story in print has to make, really. 

3 minutes ago, Dr. Pepper said:

Sorry, but things were going to change after Holden's stunt.  Drummer was aware of it.  Unless you think she was also wrong. 

No, I don't think that - in fact I've said the complete opposite all along, that things were going to change. That's not the same as concluding that a trade war or actual war was the inevitable result, though. 

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I liked the book. :dunno: 

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I liked the book too. But I didn't love it like I did Nemesis Games. 

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On 20/01/2018 at 7:43 AM, Dr. Pepper said:

 

  

The interviews in the back of the book are pretty clear that they had an option to stretch this out to 12 books and stuck with 9 on purpose.  I don’t think they are milking anything.  I have high respect for them being able to put out a great novel every year generally with a quality short story as well while still juggling the production schedule on the show.

Given the many threads here dedicated to book series in limbo (not to mention we are actually on a board dedicated to a series that is possibly dead); you’ll never see me call Dan Abraham’s or Ty Frank’s production into question. 

I wouldn’t call it lazy writing in the least.  There’s an argument to be made that people don’t change.  Maybe that’s not your general experience, but I have seen it in people I knew growing up.  They have “adventures,” they work, but they are the same person I knew thirty years ago.

An example used up thread is that Amos and Babs should have had a knock down/drag out at some point.  Maybe. But there was a line in there about how Amos would sometimes wander off during shore leave and basically fuck and fight his way around until he worked off his demons and returned to ship.  Amos has also been very comfortable with his family and not “needing” stuff.

In the end, it never took me out of the book.  I understand the setting needed time to breathe.  I’m fine with where it picked up.

I thought the conflict was believable and also agree that Duarte’s final line was pretty damn epic.  Can’t wait to see what happens with the bullet and the protomecule.

I am eager to see more of why space is “boiling.”  I also want to see how radiation affects these new Laconia ships.  There was a throwaway line early in the book about new panels on the Roci (made with Sol’s new tech) were prone to flaking.  I kept thinking that might come into play later with the Imperial ships.

Edited by Stubby
Now-deleted quote removed.

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27 minutes ago, Rhom said:

An example used up thread is that Amos and Babs should have had a knock down/drag out at some point.  Maybe. But there was a line in there about how Amos would sometimes wander off during shore leave and basically fuck and fight his way around until he worked off his demons and returned to ship.

That has been mentioned since book one, and also in the tv show, so that comment upthread didn't make any sense to me.

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1 minute ago, RedEyedGhost said:

That has been mentioned since book one, and also in the tv show, so that comment upthread didn't make any sense to me.

Because in 30 years time it's weird that Amos never got into it with anyone else, especially Bobbie. I know what he normally does - and that happens on the show as well - but again, given a long enough timeline it's odd that this is the time that it happens. 

Hell, it's weird that in 30 years time Amos is still around with the group. Given how close he came to almost killing Holden (or having Holden almost kill him) over and over, him having anything like a long life expectancy is odd. 

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7 hours ago, Kalbear said:

Because in 30 years time it's weird that Amos never got into it with anyone else, especially Bobbie. I know what he normally does - and that happens on the show as well - but again, given a long enough timeline it's odd that this is the time that it happens. 

Hell, it's weird that in 30 years time Amos is still around with the group. Given how close he came to almost killing Holden (or having Holden almost kill him) over and over, him having anything like a long life expectancy is odd. 

Well there was an in book explanation that Amos’s trigger was inability to access the ship so Clarissa wouldn’t be able to die there with her family. It was the only thing he let himself “need” and was denied him. Either that’s a believable explanation to you or not, YMMV, but it’s not something that came up in the prior 30 years and Amos never let himself “need” anything else. 

If you postulate that the prior 30 years were sort of routine and ordinary course for the crew of Roci, then there also wouldn’t be many opportunities for Holden or Amos to be in situations where they might kill each other. 

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On 20/01/2018 at 11:08 PM, Dr. Pepper said:

I   

That wasn’t my point... but it kinda is now.  Dan Abraham is a long time member of this forum.  Don’t try to be an internet badass by throwing insults at other board users.  Kinda against the forum guidelines.

Your schtick gets old quick.  I’m sure the view from way up on that horse of yours is quite good.

Edited by Stubby
Now-deleted quote removed.

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6 hours ago, Rhom said:

That wasn’t my point... but it kinda is now.  Dan Abraham is a long time member of this forum.  Don’t try to be an internet badass by throwing insults at other board users.  Kinda against the forum guidelines.

Your schtick gets old quick.  I’m sure the view from way up on that horse of yours is quite good.

It's all right.  There are plenty of people who don't like me or what I do.  It's kind of comforting when they're also wrong about my motives and my friends. ;)

Seriously, though, there are a *lot* of really excellent books out there.  If my work doesn't float your boat, you aren't my audience.  I recommend you to go find someone else's work that actually gives you joy.  Life is finite.

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Well I loved this one as I've loved all the others. Loved that this one kind of felt like a slow burn. Have to think about were I would rank it for a bit.

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If I was forced to rank them, I'd have to split them into three tiers, with Nemesis Games as the best of the bunch:

nemesis games

leviathan wakes/ caliban's war/ babylon's ashes

cibola burn / abbadon's gate / persepolis rising

And it's not really a broad spectrum, they're all pretty close.

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I can't rank them but they definitely fall into liking the next one less, liking the one after that one more so 1 great, 2 ok, 3 great, 4 odd, 5 great, 6 ok, 7 good. I'll brace for the next book but none of them have been bad.

I usually like the ones with the game-changers in them eg the possibility of interstellar travel, the destruction of earth and the birth of the laconian empire. But I guess people's definition of game changers vary too.

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Mixed bag. Two good chapters, but a lot of filler.

Chapter 23 sees Drummer in the arboretum of People’s Home. The description seems to disregard the effects of various gravity schemes on plant physiology – hormone production under coriolis, in particular for auxins, ethylene, gibberellins, and cytokinins. This is a huge blunder in an otherwise well-researched series. Maybe it can be rationalised because Drummer refers to the trees as “experimental”.

My theory is that the Trade Federation does have protomolecule access, and has used it to construct plant-based superwarriors in the void cities, to finally take on Laconia. Extremely intriguing.

Chapter 26 pays some more attention to the forgotten voices of Medina, when we see a park with trees. Pollination is mentioned, but only with Victorian embarrassment. Clearly, Space Opera is still not ready for some explicit descriptions of insect pollination – half a generation after a lesbian kiss on Deep Space 9

Some lazy plant violence imagery remains (“like an arrow shot into a tree”, “cut the rot out of the tree”, …), which will probably forever haunt this genre.

In the final chapter (52: Naomi) there is finally payoff after all this buildup, when we get some poetic imagery of anemophily on Freehold.

Thank you for this, I cried.

Edited by Happy Ent

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