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Kalbear

TIAMAT'S WRATH - Book 8 of Expanse (SPOILERS)

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Re Amos and the resurrected kids slight hesitation before responding. I am wondering if their brain has been augmented with something artificial and the hesitance is a process of them accessing stored info from their previous lives to respond appropriately. Although in the last interaction between Amos and Holden he seemed to be more "present" 

An augmented Amos would be even more formidable. 

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Well damn.

Finished tonight. Very very good.  

In the next book we'll get another Miller apperance, right? And somehow, I predict Teresa ends up with a resurfaced Filip...

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11 hours ago, Kalbear said:

I think also that you need to separate the effects from the entities. 

As far as I can tell, the substrate entities exist in the between spaces of the universe. Those between spaces are what the gates manipulate in order to enable FTL travel via gates, they appear to be what is used with the magnetar cannon, and they appear to be what the protomolecule uses to communicate with other parts of itself (as we saw with things like Caliban's war, and more recently here with the Catalyst).

Hypothesis: every single time these are used, it's basically akin to driving through the substrate's house.

This sounds conceptually quite similar to some of ST:Discovery but done better (and I enjoy that).

6 hours ago, Spaßvogel said:

This wasn't as clear in the text, but in the TV show there's a shot of Holden as they pass through the gate and it looks like he "sees" something briefly.  Wonder if that was some hardcore foreshadowing.

Yeah I definitely interpreted it as such, they've done well with seeding foreshadowing for stuff that comes up later in the books quite early in the story.

On the slow zone - I'm picturing it as a bubble in the substrate, but the bubble isn't fragile - maybe more like a protomolecule reinforced beach ball that was slipped inside then inflated. When the gamma burst hit it I don't see what followed as an invasion so much as...this is hard to describe. Basically picture shafts of sunlight falling through the leaves of a tree - the structural integrity of the slow zone was wavering and shafts of substrate were passing through and destroying all matter it crossed paths with, like if the sun was instantly incinerating everything it fell on. As the leaves of the tree blow back and forth, the sunrays pass across a larger and larger area but its only ever 20% (or whatever the percentage that was missing) getting in at any time, so the Falcon got scorched but escaped - everything that was stuck in there was eventually entirely erased.

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11 hours ago, Corvinus said:

And maybe the protomolecule aliens tapped into that, which allowed them to create their great technology, but at the same time resulted in their extinction. The book title kinda ties into this. In ancient Babylonian mythology, Tiamat and her husband, Abzû, are the creator gods, one representing the salt water, the other fresh water. (Matter and antimatter).

This is actually a very good point.  The allusion to Tiamat would seem to imply a certain primordial nature to the substrate/entity(s).  Tiamat also connects to the later conception of Tehom, of the Old Testiment, which is something like a more "passive" form of the foundational primordial water(s):

Quote

They are personified by the serpens mercurii, the dragon that creates and destroys itself and represents the prima materia. This fundamental idea of alchemy points back to the תְּהוֹם (Tehom), to Tiamat with her dragon attribute, and thus to the primordial matriarchal world which, in the theomachy of the Marduk myth, was overthrown by the masculine world of the father.

Quote

The hero’s fight with the dragon, as the symbol of a typical human situation, is a very frequent mythological motif. One of the most ancient literary expressions of it is the Babylonian Creation Myth, where the hero-god Marduk fights the dragon Tiamat. Marduk is the spring-god and Tiamat is the mother-dragon, the primordial chaos. Marduk kills her and splits her in two parts. From one half he makes the heavens and from the other he makes the earth.

So, it would seem highly plausible that the substrate simply is conscious, perhaps, even is consciousness itself.

So, Duarte would seem to be cast as the sort-of-Marduk, but inverted, the evil Marduk.  I don't know that this is meant to portray then substrate/Tiamat as "good."  Rather, it is a way to see "nature" as specifically not something to be conquered or mastered.

Edited by .H.

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Just finished the book, and I must say I really liked it.

Not sure if I can really say why I liked it as a whole, but one of the many reasons was how it made the 30-year gap feel more justified. It's not just how all the characters are suddenly older to give some time for Laconia to advance, it also shows how much a generation of ring travel has changed everything. The rebellion being mostly old OPA idealists, without new generations to take up their fervor. New generations of spacefarers accustomed to newer ships and better tech, which we see to the point where the Rocinante feels less like a state-of-the-art spaceship of awesome and more like an old house whose value is mostly affection value. It's not the center of the setting, the ever-trusty headquarter of the protagonists, but a setting it feels really good to come back to at the end, with the crew all gathered. 

Also, the way Duarte was taken out. Not through assassination or in a hefty battle. Just as a side-effect of the Goths breaking apart human consciousness, and him not being human enough to put it back together again afterwards. He wasn't even a particular target, he just became more affected than everybody else because he'd tried to be more special than everyone. Wonder if he's gone for good, though, or if his apparent ability to delete matter will manifest as something bigger in the next book. 

I think I see where the end-game goes, though, and to be honest it's been clear ever since Cibola Burn. The Slow Zone has to go to end the trouble with the Goths. Humanity scattered between 1300 locations in the Milky Way, unable to contact each other. Each one a civilization in isolation. Not the usual galaxy-spanning civilization situation common to sci-fi, there wouldn't be any significant communication between the various locations of humanity.

Another prediction of the end-game: One of the final scenes we see is the construction of another generation ship. A new Nauwoo, maybe even with the same name. Built so that two of humanity's outposts can finally make contact again even if it takes generations. The original Nauwoo has featured in every book so far, under a bunch of different names, and met its end in Tiamat's Wrath. It's only fitting that a new one is built for the final book.

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12 minutes ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

I think I see where the end-game goes, though, and to be honest it's been clear ever since Cibola Burn. The Slow Zone has to go to end the trouble with the Goths. Humanity scattered between 1300 locations in the Milky Way, unable to contact each other. Each one a civilization in isolation. Not the usual galaxy-spanning civilization situation common to sci-fi, there wouldn't be any significant communication between the various locations of humanity.

Another prediction of the end-game: One of the final scenes we see is the construction of another generation ship. A new Nauwoo, maybe even with the same name. Built so that two of humanity's outposts can finally make contact again even if it takes generations. The original Nauwoo has featured in every book so far, under a bunch of different names, and met its end in Tiamat's Wrath. It's only fitting that a new one is built for the final book.

That's a nice prediction. I was thinking too that the gate system would have to be closed, but maybe with use of protomolecule technology, someone brilliant starts working on a different means of FTL travel, like developing the warp drive, where normal space is simply bent to allow FTL travel. Humanity has had the Epstein drive for a long time, and now it will be a new drive (the Duarte drive if Teresa is the one to do it, the Kamal drive, if Kit turns out to be a great scientist, or maybe the Meng drive, if Prax's daughter Mei grew up to be a physicist :dunno:

I do like the Nauvoo idea, too, even though that might be a more bittersweet ending.

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I personally don't think that's where they're going. It's not very Abrahamic. That would be something closer to what GRRM would do, IMO, but not Daniel or Ty. 

They're also not going to go blow shit up.

I think the 9th book is going to be finally about figuring out this stuff, once and for all. Figuring out what is causing it, how it is caused, and how to communicate with it. The diamond world is going to have the actual answers to it. It might mean that the gates are going to be changed - but I think this book shows that simply turning them off isn't going to be enough to stop the entities.

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I had a different, and more superficial take on Tiamats connection. From Babylons Ashes it's pretty clear that Earth/Sol (the birthplace of humanity) is Babylon (the birthplace of human civilization). Likewise Persepolis Rising is the civilization that rises to power from the ashes of Babylon - Laconia. Only in this case, Babylon isn't dead and the gods (represented by Tiamat) of it are pissed and in this book we get to feel the wrath of the survivors which fits in with the bit about it being the old timers doing the fighting.

I suspect it's at least double meaning and both are valid.

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27 minutes ago, karaddin said:

I had a different, and more superficial take on Tiamats connection. From Babylons Ashes it's pretty clear that Earth/Sol (the birthplace of humanity) is Babylon (the birthplace of human civilization). Likewise Persepolis Rising is the civilization that rises to power from the ashes of Babylon - Laconia. Only in this case, Babylon isn't dead and the gods (represented by Tiamat) of it are pissed and in this book we get to feel the wrath of the survivors which fits in with the bit about it being the old timers doing the fighting.

I suspect it's at least double meaning and both are valid.

:agree:

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3 hours ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

 I think I see where the end-game goes, though, and to be honest it's been clear ever since Cibola Burn. The Slow Zone has to go to end the trouble with the Goths. Humanity scattered between 1300 locations in the Milky Way, unable to contact each other. Each one a civilization in isolation. Not the usual galaxy-spanning civilization situation common to sci-fi, there wouldn't be any significant communication between the various locations of humanity.

I don't think that shutting down the system is going to make a lick of difference now that the Goths have decided that humanity has to go. In AG where Holden goes onto the alien station and accesses the hive mind, we see that the Romans attempt at quarantine by shutting down the ring gate system didn't stop the Goths from wiping them out anyway. 

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Finished the book today and loved it. Was my favorite installment in quite some time (and I’ve liked them all to varying degrees). 

Per usual many of the posters here have hit on some of the same theories I’ve been thinking through. 

I think we will get a bunch next book in the Green Diamond system. Holden will be there with Amos, and Elvi will he there with the kids. I agree that those changes humans will be key, since the kids admitted to knowing something about the Diamond. 

There was also the implication that the substrate aliens are still entering the Slow Zone. When the last “20 minute” and different event happened, Trejo says there are some indications that the Slow Zone was emptied again. 

My hypothesis is that in the same way the substrate aliens can create non local events in our universe, humans will be able to do the same in the substrate. So I predict a show down where we learn that the Protomolecule Engineers discovered some way to attack or destroy the substrate aliens through a non local substrate attack. Maybe even a reverse engineered say to kill consciousness in the substrate. 

And Trejo will want to attack, but Holden/Elvi will want to negotiate and sue for peace. Naomi’s position will be interesting here. It may be she ends up seeing Trejo’s side, which drives a wedge between her and Holden (loves her character development this book). Ultimately, I think she will propose the “synthesis” solution of reconciling humanity and the substrate. That’s how I read this books foreshadowing of her argument with Draper and internal resolution.

I don’t by that the substrate aliens are in an antimatter world. Or else the antimatter bomb wouldn’t have hurt them, and they wouldn’t want to suck our matter atoms in through the gate. 

Tit for Tat strategy will be used again. I think Duarte had the game wrong. When the substrate aliens make a ship go Dutchman, that’s them responding tit for tat already. Because overloading the gates is already the first “tit” in that game by somehow harming the aliens. (I like Kal’s Analogy here.) So the aliens go “tat” by just taking one ship. And Duarte, by responding with a hugely escalating “tat” with the antimatter ship is the one that destroyed the paradigm. 

I predict Holden will argue for a (trite) solution to the Prisoner’s Dilemma by saying the key is to not play it in the first place. 

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Just had a thought. The neutron star to black hole system was a weapon the “romans” made to hurt the substrate aliens. Sending too much energy through the gates “hurts” the substrate aliens and they respond by taking a ship Dutchman. 

The black hole collapse, we are told, is the most powerful energy blast in the universe aimed right at a gate. And it then hits the center of the Slow Space where it gets magnified and blasted through every gate. It’s actually a perfect weapon to attack the substrate aliens if you think the way to hurt them is sending energy/mass through gates. 

Maybe it was going to be part of a Cold War brinkmanship strategy. The Gate Builders have a black hole gun loaded and ready to go and message to the substrate aliens that pulling that non local attack will end up pulling the trigger. 

But the message never got communicated or Gate Builders died out first. 

So there’s actually been an ever escalating tit for tat by the substrate aliens:

1) Too many ships through a gate; response: send ship Dutchman. 

2) Escalate: Anitmatter bomb through gate; response: fire bullet similar to in last book. Small loss of time. 

3) Escalate: Huge ass black hole energy through gates; response: Bigger bullet and clear slow zone of any matter. 

Now realizing that you are at war; send another bullet that knocks out people for 20 minutes. 

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They also blacked out all time in Earth system in Persepolis Rising in response to the Magnetar attack. 

The 'bigger bullet' after the neutron star explosion was interesting in that it affected every single system. As far as we can tell, it hit everyone in all 1300 star systems. 

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On 4/9/2019 at 8:06 AM, unJon said:

Tit for Tat strategy will be used again. I think Duarte had the game wrong. When the substrate aliens make a ship go Dutchman, that’s them responding tit for tat already. Because overloading the gates is already the first “tit” in that game by somehow harming the aliens. (I like Kal’s Analogy here.) So the aliens go “tat” by just taking one ship. And Duarte, by responding with a hugely escalating “tat” with the antimatter ship is the one that destroyed the paradigm. 

I predict Holden will argue for a (trite) solution to the Prisoner’s Dilemma by saying the key is to not play it in the first place. 

Now you've said it, this seems really obvious but I completely spaced on it myself. I think you're pretty spot on here, the occasional Dutchman clearly wasn't an attempt to wipe people out - just a tat to say "cut that out".

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I'm wondering why the 'Goth' aliens are affected only when too much energy passes through the gates, and also when the Magnetar ships fire their main weapon. Considering that ships weren't going dutchman in the slow zone prior to the big event in this book, then all the energy of the ships spending time in the slow zone didn't affect the 'Goths'.

Also, why do the gates need to be at equal distance between them? hmm, while humans didn't see it, the creation of the Sol gate would have shifted all the other gates, though they weren't active. 

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6 hours ago, Corvinus said:

I'm wondering why the 'Goth' aliens are affected only when too much energy passes through the gates, and also when the Magnetar ships fire their main weapon. Considering that ships weren't going dutchman in the slow zone prior to the big event in this book, then all the energy of the ships spending time in the slow zone didn't affect the 'Goths'.

Also, why do the gates need to be at equal distance between them? hmm, while humans didn't see it, the creation of the Sol gate would have shifted all the other gates, though they weren't active. 

What?  That's not true at all - the ships going through a gate regardless of direction were disappearing prior to and during Nemesis Games (this is what Alex and Bobbie were looking into when Alex met with Duarte on Mars, right?).  Didn't Naomi figure that out about the energy spikes with too much ring traffic?  That was the whole point of the Transit Authority and the Freehold plot - Freehold endangered everyone by making an unauthorized transit.  

Makes sense though - if a bird flies over your house and takes a shit you don't care.  If a flock three hours long covers every inch of your neighborhood in shit for half the day you get pissed off.

Unless I'm totally missing what going dutchman means, I'm assuming it means the ships that disappeared during transit?  Seems connected to the nebula star response and Duarte killing Cortazar where matter just disappears. 

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16 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

What?  That's not true at all - the ships going through a gate regardless of direction were disappearing prior to and during Nemesis Games (this is what Alex and Bobbie were looking into when Alex met with Duarte on Mars, right?).  Didn't Naomi figure that out about the energy spikes with too much ring traffic?  That was the whole point of the Transit Authority and the Freehold plot - Freehold endangered everyone by making an unauthorized transit.  

Makes sense though - if a bird flies over your house and takes a shit you don't care.  If a flock three hours long covers every inch of your neighborhood in shit for half the day you get pissed off.

Unless I'm totally missing what going dutchman means, I'm assuming it means the ships that disappeared during transit?  Seems connected to the nebula star response and Duarte killing Cortazar where matter just disappears. 

Ships went dutchman only when too many where transiting through gates, but not when they were inside the slow zone, otherwise the slow zone would have been pretty useless.

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Gotcha, I assume it's not that they aren't affected, it's just an escalating the level of response.  There could be a different response depending on how egregious the disturbance. 

 

eta*and also it's probably the gates, not the slow zone itself, that gives access to the Goths

Edited by larrytheimp

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11 hours ago, Corvinus said:

Also, why do the gates need to be at equal distance between them? hmm, while humans didn't see it, the creation of the Sol gate would have shifted all the other gates, though they weren't active. 

This didn't come across to me as a requirement but simply the way its coded. It simply automatically distributes them evenly around the edge of the slow zone because that's a simple way to determine the distribution with a variable total. Remember the protomolecule is essentially just a super advanced algorithm - its primary functions are effectively software even though its operating on a biological medium.

4 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

eta*and also it's probably the gates, not the slow zone itself, that gives access to the Goths

My interpretation was that the Goths can act upon anywhere in normal space, ie in the universe. As the gates are on the border of the universe, they can stand in the threshold as well. Up until the gamma burst they are not able to enter the slow zone as its outside the universe, a pocket dimension or a reality marble or whatever term you'd like. After this book I think it likely that its "touching" the universe in some fashion and making the border highly energised lowered the integrity of the boundary allowing the Goths to break through into it rather than the pocket dimension being completely separated from normal space. I guess this is necessary for the way the gates anyway.

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Finished up late last night.  Was slow to get started because I had to pause my reread of Abercrombie.  

What a fantastic read.  From start to finish just a steady build to a crescendo.  I don't know that I have a lot to add that hasn't already been said, but I did like the way the conflicts were set up and resolved within the book.  I also agree that this book makes the 30 year gap much more palatable.

I have not read any of the short stories for the series.  (Not an ereader guy if I can avoid it... hoping they get collected into one work someday.)  So I have not read Strange Dogs.  Sounds like it introduced the kids and the repair bots?  Even without that intro, I still had the Amos resurrection figured out pretty quickly.

Loved the book all around.  I pre-ordered the signed edition, so its my first to carry the @DanielAbraham scribble since I'm still waiting on a signing tour to head in the direction of the Bluegrass state!

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