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

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27 minutes ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

That's not true. I count less than 1,300. ;)

Meanwhile, has anyone else been wondering about the impact of having the Dark Spot floating around in Sol with no one even looking for it?

I was wondering, but apparently no one character seemed to have time for it. Was it still on the Tempest when it blew up?

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8 minutes ago, Corvinus said:

I was wondering, but apparently no one character seemed to have time for it. Was it still on the Tempest when it blew up?

Last I knew. To be fair, no one but Trejo even knew about it right? Maybe whats-his-name-teacher-man and the bag bunny right?

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9 minutes ago, unJon said:

What’s Darkness’s Spot?

The thing that appeared on the Tempest when it fired its antimatter gun.

11 minutes ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

Last I knew. To be fair, no one but Trejo even knew about it right? Maybe whats-his-name-teacher-man and the bag bunny right?

I'm drawing a blank of who you're referring to, but I thought the black spot thing was common knowledge. Anyway, if it's out there in the Sol system, how would you see it? If it doesn't have any gravitational pull, then it's pretty much invisible, no? Unless it emits some kinds of rays/energy/whatever.

Edited by Corvinus

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1 minute ago, unJon said:

What’s DarkSpot?

The consciousness void thingy that appeared on the Tempest after it fired the Magnetron gun (or whatever) in Sol.

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1 minute ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

The consciousness void thingy that appeared on the Tempest after it fired the Magnetron gun (or whatever) in Sol.

Man I need a reread. 

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4 minutes ago, Corvinus said:

The thing that appeared on the Tempest when it fired its antimatter gun.

I'm drawing a blank of who you're referring to, but I thought the black spot thing was common knowledge. Anyway, if it's out there in the Sol system, how would you see it? If it doesn't have any gravitation pull, then it's pretty much invisible, no? Unless it emits some kinds of rays/energy/whatever.


Teresea's teacher Colonel...  Illich ( or something?) and Duarte's body man.

 

ETA: All the soldiers on the Tempest knew about the spot, and I know the Governor of Medina and his replacement Admiral Whats-her-Face knew, but all those dudes are dead and I don't think the Laconians have an leak problem.

 

Edited by Jace, Basilissa

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On 4/24/2019 at 2:40 AM, Kalbear said:

I think the drones are related to - or activated by - protomolecules in the area, just like the artifacts were in Cibola Burn, just like the antimatter forges and the shipyards were on Laconia, and just like  the catalyst does with the diamond. They are listening on the same frequency that the protomolecule uses for nonlocal communication, but they don't have active protomolecule tech in them. They're just incredibly useful machines.

Ah, there we go. Sorry, it's not the protomolecule that matters - it's whatever that allows for nonlocal communication and interaction. So the gates are 'run' by nonlocal behavior, the drones aren't. The shipyards and even the ships sans the magnetar beam are all not. They have self-healing construction and whatnot, but that isn't nonlocal, so it doesn't count as being affected. Cara and Xan got fixed up to the molecule, but they don't have any nonlocal interaction in them. They have knowledge, but not communication. 

But Duarte? Duarte, unfortunately, is entirely wired with it. He didn't have to be - he could have in theory been upgraded like Cara and Amos and Xan were - but because Cortazar didn't know any better and didn't have the drone tech, just the drone results, he used what he had to ape the results - but also added in this nonlocal element. 

I like this theory but am not sold on it. Mainly because I also like the theory that the strange pauses from Amos and the rebuilt kids is them using non local effects to access then process info from the big green diamond. 

Edited by unJon
Typo

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20 hours ago, unJon said:

Man I need a reread. 

Me too, at least some specific chapters since Cibola Burn.  The spot was pretty much the same thing Elvi had to drag Miller into in Cibola Burn, also want to recheck Naomi figuring out the gate energy spikes, and any of the stuff in PR that deals with the magnetar cannon / darkspot.  And I havne't read Vital Abyss, which I believe is from Cortazar's pov?   

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Vital Abyss doesn't have a lot of plot-relevant bits here, but it's an incredible read on Cortazar and my favorite of the novellas.

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7 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

Me too, at least some specific chapters since Cibola Burn.  The spot was pretty much the same thing Elvi had to drag Miller into in Cibola Burn, also want to recheck Naomi figuring out the gate energy spikes, and any of the stuff in PR that deals with the magnetar cannon / darkspot.  And I havne't read Vital Abyss, which I believe is from Cortazar's pov?   

The Dark Spot was always the flashing macguffin to me since it first appeared and shut down all the Precursor tech on New Terra. It stands to reason that the most direct method of influencing our physical dimension would be the method used to resolve conflict.

I could be totes wrong though, and it's just gone from the story. Maybe pulled into Jupiter? It just stood out to me that Elvi is selected because of her experience with the Dark Spot (and to a lesser extent the Precursor tech) and then it isn't mentioned a single time in the penultimate issue. We know the Laconian's follow the rules and authoritarian regimes often struggle with so much centralization of power that it becomes ultimately diffuse. So if the exact right person isn't aware of the exact right question in a totalitarian regime where subordinates often refuse to share their limited power in assisting rivals, and are terrified of acting independently lest they displease their superiors, it is not at all unreasonable to assume obvious and universally agreed upon solutions to crippling problems simply will not be addressed. And look, Duarte has his own personal little Martin Bormann. I'm kinda talking myself into this burgeoning Dark Spot theory!

Anyways, so in non-ramble speak: Dark Spot is the key to all of this. If we get Dark Spot working. 'Cause he's a funnier character than we've ever had...

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I took some time rereading parts of Abaddon’s Gate (and also book 7), trying to slowly make sense of the history and mechanics of Romans and Goths.

Here is an excerpt from AG(3), where Miller shows Holden the summary of the previous war:

Quote

 

From the station at his core, he reached out into the places he had been, the darkened systems that were lost to him, and he reached out through the gates with fire. The fallen stars, mere matter now, empty and dead, bloated. Filled their systems in a rage of radiation and heat, sheared the electrons from every atom, and detonated. Their final deaths echoed, and Holden felt a sense of mourning and of peace. The cancer had struck, and been burned away. The loss of the minds that had been would never be redeemed. Mortality had returned from exile, but it had been cleansed with fire. A hundred stars failed. 

Corey, James S. A.. Abaddon's Gate: Book Three of the Expanse series (p. 267). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition. 

 

 

 

Speculation 1 (fallen stars)

A star “falling” or “flickering and failing” means something different to the Romans. The stars themselves in question didn’t explode or vanish. Instead, the Roman consciousnesses inhabiting those systems were switched off by Goth attacks, in the matter we’ve already seen in Sol system in book 7: Black sphere appears, and all consciousness is simultaneously switched off for a minute or two. Effect on Romans: the local consciousness of that star system just dies, the “node” of that network (an entire solar system) becomes invisible to the rest of the Roman hive mind.

So, from a non-Roman perspective, those systems were alive and well. Frog analogues continued their quacking, photosynthesis went on like nothing happened. But everything connected to the Roman hive minds, including the Romans themselves, but also their technology, was switched off.

Ilus is a good example of a “fallen star”.

Speculation 2 (Roman counterattack)

Here’s what the Roman’s did in the quoted passage, using the mechanism we’ve seen in TW(8).

When system X “falls”, the Romans go to the system on the other side of the sphere from X. call it X'. System X' is evacuated, and the matter inside system X' is rearranged into a neutron star, which is spun so as to point towards system X. This seems within Roman capabilities. Then the weapon is fired at will towards X. We see exactly this happen in TW(8).

The result is to tear the target system atom from atom. (As a side effect, the gate closes.)

What I like: This explains where the energy comes from. I like it better than having the Alien Ring Station itself shooting  entire star systems with “radiation and heat” enough to kill suns. In the Holden movie it just looks as if the station does the shotting. But what we see is the gamma burst of a collapsing neutron star on the opposite site of ring space.

If true, the Human colony isolated in TW(8) is of course gone, since the star went out. (In the physical sense. Not in the Roman sense.)

What I can live with: Why are there still trigger-ready neutron stars around? Well, why not. The Romans were in a hurry, I guess they built a bunch of those, managed to fire 3, got burned for it, and then switched strategy.

What I don’t quite like: I still don’t quite understand why the neutron star in TW(8) fired, or rather: why protons were formed in that system. Was this an unintended side effect? Did the Goths know what would happen? Was it their intention?

In my speculation, the star-killing and gate-collapsing event in TW(8) is an unintended side effect just based on weird alien space physics. The “tit” from the Goths – their angry reaction-and-escalation to the bomb ship – was their consciousness- and matter-removing attack into ring space.

Edited by Happy Ent
(Romans do communicate faster than light, I got this wrong)

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On 4/1/2019 at 3:02 AM, shortstark said:

Trees on Laconia retract their leaves during winter, and animals try to get to the inside of trees during their hibernation for the tasty bits.. Shout out to Happy Ent.

Thanks for noticing. I assume the authors are playing tit-for-tat.

Whenever I voice a careful criticism of the way they treat their fictional flora on this forum, they just hit back harder next time.

They should expect a perfectly spherical anomaly of green tentacles to appear in their living room next time.

And after that: in their bedroom.

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I have decided that Duerte's consciousness proper is inside the giant emerald computer thingy. They're gonna open it up and he's become stuck in some horrific in-between space where his physical form remains in our dimension and his mind is fused to the emerald which can presumably touch the Goths in some way via connection to the ring gates. 

Boom, nailed it. Gonna sue the bastards when they steald my idea! (That last bit is a joke)

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If you haven't seen season 4 of the show yet, it covers Cibola Burn + some other stuff and starts up the Nemesis Games plot.

And it even spoils a bit of Tiamat's Wrath

Spoiler

When Elvi drags the Miller infected machine into the Goth sphere, we see what she sees, and we see the sinuous creatures that are described in Tiamat's Wrath.

Furthermore, Elvi tells Holden that what she saw, more like felt, when she passed through the sphere, was the space between things. This was in the season's finale, which was co-written by Ty Frank and Daniel Abraham along with the showrunner.

So that's interesting, the Goth space may be something like an out of phase dimension, what other SF properties often call subspace, which had to be accessed by the Romans in order to create the rings.

 

Edited by Corvinus

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Since this seems to be the current Expanse thread, I'm making a big push to try to get up to date before the last book comes out. This will get me up date with the series for the first time since, I think, the ARC of Abaddon's Gate came out.

The Expanse #6: Babylon's Ashes

The Solar system has been plunged into chaos. A third of the Martian fleet has defected to a new cause, an OPA breakaway faction has committed the greatest terrorist attack in human history and the new colony worlds beyond the gateways are engulfed in strife. It once again falls on the shoulders of Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante to help end the crisis.

Babylon's Ashes is the sixth novel (of nine) in The Expanse series, but is really the second half of the preceding novel, Nemesis Games, which took the Expanse universe we'd all grown to know and tossed it through a blender. Ashes picks up the wreckage from that book and tries to restore some sense of normalcy to the setting.

The book is huge in scope. In fact, it's the broadest in scale of the series to date, with numerous POV characters in multiple factions, including picking up on various one-off POVs who appeared in earlier novels. Seeing characters like Prax and Anna show up again several volumes after their own storylines apparently ended and lend a hand (or take a view) on what's going on is quite good fun.

However, since Babylon's Ashes is pretty much exactly the same length as the other books in the series, this enlarged scope does mean we get a lot less time with other characters. In fact, the book's pace feels a bit accelerated, as we pin-pong back and forth between a large cast. Having more characters in a standard-sized book means that we spend less time with each character, and the resulting story arcs are much choppier.

It also doesn't help that there is a repetition of structure and plot here. We've seen Jim Holden and the team getting into hijinks with the Nauvoo aka Behemoth aka Medina Station and the "slow zone" previously whilst various other factions shoot at one another and here we are, doing it again.

The Expanse is, at its best, a thrillingly executed political thriller in space, with normally enjoyable adventure elements added. At its worst, the series' workmanlike prose and tight focus can leave it feeling repetitive and a bit MOR as these kind of space operas go. Nemesis Games was probably the best book in the series because it gave readers a "Red Wedding" level of shock, something which overthrew the apple carts and put our heroes on the back foot with a genuinely thrilling sense that anything could happen. Babylon's Ashes wastes that promise by lowballing the damage done from the disaster in the previous novel (the characters are now completely removed from the carnage so it's only related through statistics and people looking glumly at reports on screens), eliminating the over-arcing threat easily with a convenient mcguffin and then establishing a new status quo with almost indecent haste.

That's not to say that Babylon's Ashes is a bad book. Even at its weakest, The Expanse is competent. But there is the prevailing feeling here that the books feel like a first draft with the (decidedly superior) TV adaptation coming in afterwards and rearranging the character and plot elements into something considerably more compelling.

Babylon's Ashes (***) is readable and interesting, but after Nemesis Games it feels decidedly underwhelming, occasionally bordering on the lacklustre. It is available now in the UK and USA.

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On 3/28/2019 at 8:47 AM, Jaxom 1974 said:

I've not seen that at all. Never anything other than the trade sozed paperback...that's what I have for 1-7...

I haven't seen a single hardcover edition over here in Kangaroostan. We've gotten all of them in one uniform trade paperback style. 

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On 1/18/2020 at 4:56 PM, Werthead said:

Since this seems to be the current Expanse thread, I'm making a big push to try to get up to date before the last book comes out. This will get me up date with the series for the first time since, I think, the ARC of Abaddon's Gate came out.

The Expanse #6: Babylon's Ashes

 

 

I think part of the problem was the larger than usual POV cast and too many different locations/storylines. I think it would have been difficult to handle the scale with a smaller cast and tighter ain story.

On the bright side the next books have renewed focus with less disparate characters and storylines that often reflect one another or at least appear to be converging.

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16 hours ago, red snow said:

I think part of the problem was the larger than usual POV cast and too many different locations/storylines. I think it would have been difficult to handle the scale with a smaller cast and tighter ain story.

On the bright side the next books have renewed focus with less disparate characters and storylines that often reflect one another or at least appear to be converging.

I think the plot problem was establishing a player hubristic enough to antagonize the Goths.  One of the things i like about the series is that it treats the debate between dictatorship and democracy as if it never really goes away...which I think is historically true. 

Edited by Gaston de Foix

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6 minutes ago, Gaston de Foix said:

I think the plot problem was establishing a player hubristic enough to antagonize the Goths.  One of the things i like about the series is that it treats the debate between dictatorship and democracy as if it never really goes away...which I think is historically true. 

Aristotle was right.

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