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


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10 hours ago, Caligula_K3 said:

It's the reading order for cool kids!

I know I'm weird. Basically, I read books 1-3. I felt let down by the second half of book 1, enjoyed book 2 more, and then really disliked book 3. So I decided to stop there. But then I started watching the show, which especially as of season 2, felt like exactly what I had wanted from the book series all along. Excited by the show, I decided I'd start reading them again, but skip over book 4, because even fans seemed to think that one wasn't great. I figured I'd get the TV series' version of it (which I eventually did, thanks to Jeff Bezos). I enjoyed Nemesis Games, but not enough to make me want to do a full read of the series; and looking at reviews of Books 6-7, it seemed like the focus was on all the things I didn't enjoy about the books. After watching season 4, I was in the mood for more Expanse stuff, and book 8 seemed to be when the protomolecule/killers story started paying off. I read some short summaries of books 6-7 and figured out what I'd missed, plotwise. I've got no regrets. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Have you read any of the novellas?  Between the novellas, and books 4,6,and 7, there is a pretty solid amount of characterization, although other than the Churn I don't think it's substantially more than you'd find in the stuff you did read, so ymmv.  But I'd be wary of skipping just based on a few reviews.  

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Agreed. I kinda struggled to get into the novellas because I knew they wouldn't contain any important plot points and what draws me to the stories are the mysteries and the broader commentary on humanity.  But I didn't watch the latest season on Amazon because it seems both redundant and weirdly regressive after reading the books.  I will after the books are finished.  

I do think it should be authorial best practice to release at least placeholder dates and names and generate an amazon webpage so fans can add to their Amazon wishlist.  It has happened several times now that I haven't bought books in the all important first week because I missed the announcement or got busy with work. 

Thorn of Emberlain is still up there so I don't know why Expanse Novel 9 can't be. 

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11 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

Have you read any of the novellas?  Between the novellas, and books 4,6,and 7, there is a pretty solid amount of characterization, although other than the Churn I don't think it's substantially more than you'd find in the stuff you did read, so ymmv.  But I'd be wary of skipping just based on a few reviews.  

Oh, I'm sure I've definitely missed stuff about the characters and plot that I couldn't get from reading summaries. And I haven't read any of the novellas; maybe I'll check a few of those out. The main thing I think I'm missing, characterwise, is Naomi's relationship with Filip and how the events of Babylon's Ashes affect that; I don't think he was mentioned in Tiamat's Wrath, and that would be really important for her, I'd imagine.

But with the basic beats plot after book 5 down (Inaros is defeated and somehow everyone forgives the Belters for the largest genocide in human history, 30 year gap, Duarte and  his old Mars faction, now the Laconians, take over the all the ring systems with protomolecule tech, Holden is captured) it wasn't hard to pick up on what was happening. I also did read the final chapter of Persepolis Rising before starting Tiamat. The main thing that confused me reading TW was what exactly "going dutchman" meant and what had happened when the Tempest had fired at Pallas station; but I got there eventually. It seems that "Corey" writes these books to generally be able to function as standalones; there are upsides and downsides to that.

Anyway, I'll get to those parts of the story when the show gets to it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, End of Disc One said:

Book 4 is my favorite book in the series, fuck the haters

It's a magic trick. Shrinking the story down to a character-centered western while getting the audience comfortable with an alien universe by having the alien shit be little more than an obstacle to overcome.

Meanwhile, books five and six are kinda about how you can't hold an entire people responsible for the actions of a few extremists. The Stockholm-esque relationship all the former Belter power players have with Inaros is fucking beautiful. And the triumph of Earth and Mars' responses isn't that Inaros is defeated, but that even after the biggest crime in human history they go the extra mile to help the Belters that Inaros is essentially murdering in his wake. 

I guess it's hard to digest the intricacies of an optimistic reflection on the way post-9/11 world response could have played out from plot descriptions though.

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9 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

Does anyone know what the progress of book 9 is?

Still writing it, as of a couple of months ago. I'm starting to think this is more likely a 2021 release, although the success of the series is certainly such that they could rush it out if needed.

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I feel like Inaros was handled badly, actually. He is the greatest mass murderer in the history of humanity by several orders of magnitude and he's treated as if he's more like 9/11 hijacker. The guy killed hundreds of times more people than Hitler and Stalin combined and ended much of humanity's civilization on Earth.

The kind of horror and destruction he left should be imprinted on the souls of every Earther for generations.

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1 hour ago, C.T. Phipps said:

I feel like Inaros was handled badly, actually. He is the greatest mass murderer in the history of humanity by several orders of magnitude and he's treated as if he's more like 9/11 hijacker. The guy killed hundreds of times more people than Hitler and Stalin combined and ended much of humanity's civilization on Earth.

The kind of horror and destruction he left should be imprinted on the souls of every Earther for generations.

True.  But sometimes history moves so fast that trauma has to play catch up.  Fear of the Bolsheviks led in  part to ordinary Germans supporting the Nazis and horror at the Nazis pushed many in the GDR towards the Soviet Union and communism.   Similarly the Romans alive in Octavians reign had seen the fall of the first triumvirate, the ascent of Caesar, followed by the assassination and restoration of the Senate, followed by the triumph of the second triumvirate which was in turn followed by another civil war. 

One of the problems with Holden as catalyst, fulcrum and historical witness is that the events described in the books ought to take centuries to play out and involve a much broader cast of characters.  But sometimes history moves extremely fast and sometimes nothing happens for centuries...

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I feel like that too. The raw destruction - no matter how many people hated earth - the videos of the dead kids and the refugees and the like would affect everyone. It would change culture for generations. And it kind of did, but not in the traumatic way I would have expected.

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So because the writers envisioned a humanity capable of rising above tit-for-tat cycles of violence that lay waste to entire generations and you don't think that's possible, it's bad. Not because of character development criticism or plot consistency, you just didn't like the idea of a future where violence is met with actual human response. The THEME.

The series is far from perfect, but saying that what amounts to a piece of fiction's theme is bad because you don't think people you know would react in the same way to an inciting event is not an actual criticism.

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20 hours ago, Kalbear said:

I feel like that too. The raw destruction - no matter how many people hated earth - the videos of the dead kids and the refugees and the like would affect everyone. It would change culture for generations. And it kind of did, but not in the traumatic way I would have expected.

I mean, it may have.  Have we really seen an earther perspective after the rocks have dropped?  And what with the alien worlds and the diaspora maybe it all just sort of got lost.  We don't really get a bunch of people inside Earth culture after the rocks dropped, the way we do with Belters and offplanet culture.  We get Anna, but that's it.

eta: oh sorry, realize now you were probably talking beyond just on earth, with everyone else not being as affected by the tragedy.  In which case, I guess maybe we would see more reflection or weight to it?  But it's kind of hard to say.

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On 7/25/2020 at 7:23 AM, Jace, Basilissa said:

So because the writers envisioned a humanity capable of rising above tit-for-tat cycles of violence that lay waste to entire generations and you don't think that's possible, it's bad. Not because of character development criticism or plot consistency, you just didn't like the idea of a future where violence is met with actual human response. The THEME.

The series is far from perfect, but saying that what amounts to a piece of fiction's theme is bad because you don't think people you know would react in the same way to an inciting event is not an actual criticism.

I mean, I didn't read Babylon's Ashes, so my opinion is worth less than nothing. But one of my problems with the book series in general (and Nemesis Games in particular, though I did enjoy that one more than most of the rest of the series) is that lots of crazy huge events and catastrophes happen... But they have absolutely no weight. Earth is attacked, ten to twenty billion human beings are killed, and nobody seems to really care much and nobody we know is really affected, Amos and Clarissa having to escape their prison aside. These big events just become an excuse to get our heroes to the next gunfight or ship fight, usually against a bunch of one dimensional villains (the example of this that made me stop reading all the books in the series in order was Abaddon's Gate, with the "craaaaaaaaazy incompetent captain Ashford" plotline). This is one reason I've always found the show works much better than the books, because in the show, tragic events are given more weight and have much more of an effect on the main characters psychologically, and the villains tend to be fleshed out much more. This is partially because the show's focus is less on Holden and crew.

So when I read about how everything is forgiven at the end of Babylon's Ashes, it strikes me as being symptomatic of one of the major problems of the book series. Not because it's impossible that there's no tit-for-tat cycle of vengeance, but because it feels like another instance of the writers dropping this huge, game changing, tragic event, using it to set up some gunfights, and then wanting to move on to the next huge, gamechanging tragic event that will set up the next gunfights without exploring how an event like this would have deep and horrific effects on society.

 

 

 

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"Everything is forgiven"!?! Inaros is DEAD at the end. His entire movement not only defeated by the Earth/Mars coalition, but so thoroughly discredited that belters hate him and his top captains are turning coat.

Amos and Clarissa's entire story is specifically about giving you a ground view of the devastation. And, uh, it's described as pretty apocalyptic. What, because Amos didn't have to stomp through a field of bones on his way into Baltimore you couldn't comprehend the devastation? And because it didn't end with Belters going into death camps you couldn't connect with the story?

Here's the solid dick, partner. The series ain't about Earth. It ain't about Earthers. It's about humanity confronting its own limitations in the face of grand new ideas and capabilities. The big disaster events you cite aren't there to get us from gunfight to gunfight, they're there to repeatedly crack the foundation of what the characters thought it meant to be human. Duarte and Inaros aren't one-dimensional villains, they're representatives of the Great Man interpretation of history. Our protagonists represent the more liberalized Trends and Forces interpretation. Their actions are dictated by Great Men doing terrible deeds, trying to survive the events and (because they're fucking heroes) eventually turn them back.

Do they even teach reading comprehension in schools?

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21 minutes ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

Do they even teach reading comprehension in schools?

You know that it's ok to disagree over a book series without insulting everyone who disagrees with you, right? And let's be real: the Expanse, whether you love it or don't, is not Gene Wolfe. Everyone gets it. Yes, Inaros and Duarte are supposed to be Great Man History in Space. That doesn't make them interesting or believable characters (though, as I said, Duarte worked a lot better for me than Inaros did). And it doesn't mean that the "great man" vs. "trends and forces" theme is expressed in an interesting way, when 80% of conflicts are concluded by our heroes going out to shoot the "bad guys" (as they always call them), and once the bad guys are dead, the conflict is resolved. There's a real dissonance for me in the book series (again, less in the TV show) of the authors dealing with very complex issues and themes while also writing with a very pulpy sensibility. The two don't mesh well together for me. But I assume that must be because I failed grade 4 reading comprehension - silly me.

 

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1 minute ago, Caligula_K3 said:

You know that it's ok to disagree over a book series without insulting everyone who disagrees with you, right? And let's be real: the Expanse, whether you love it or don't, is not Gene Wolfe. Everyone gets it. Yes, Inaros and Duarte are supposed to be Great Man History in Space. That doesn't make them interesting or believable characters (though, as I said, Duarte worked a lot better for me than Inaros did). And it doesn't mean that the "great man" vs. "trends and forces" theme is expressed in an interesting way, when 80% of conflicts are concluded by our heroes going out to shoot the "bad guys" (as they always call them), and once the bad guys are dead, the conflict is resolved. There's a real dissonance for me in the book series (again, less in the TV show) of the authors dealing with very complex issues and themes while also writing with a very pulpy sensibility. The two don't mesh well together for me. But I assume that must be because I failed grade 4 reading comprehension - silly me.

 

I insult people who agree with me.

And it just so happens that I agree the show is much better than the books, they're clunky and the language is repetitive to a fault. The show also trims away a lot of the goofier personality traits that supporting characters are saddled with, Ashford being completely rewritten and Elvi not crushing on Holden would be easy examples. 

It's not Gene Wolfe, sure, but I don't know how you find a manic-depressive who skates by on the force of his personality slowly exterminating his own genocidal cause uninteresting. Particularly when your window to the man is his kidnapped baby-mamma and brainwashed son. I mean... what are you looking for, exactly?

Actually, I think I got it. You should go watch Joker. It's got a villain who's so interesting that they didn't even put a hero in the story!

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10 hours ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

"Everything is forgiven"!?! Inaros is DEAD at the end. His entire movement not only defeated by the Earth/Mars coalition, but so thoroughly discredited that belters hate him and his top captains are turning coat.

Here's the problem with that - Inaros might be dead, but belters are not. It's very hard for me to believe that earthers aren't going to be absolutely chomping at the bit to do tit for tat. That the most absurdly destructive act in the history of the earth did not result in at least some massive violent reprisal is pretty surprising, yes. Because that is largely what people do.  That they put Michio Pa in actual lead there after what she did previously is a good example - even though she turned against Inaros, most people would simply want her and everyone around her dead.

Now, there's some practicality about this - Earth without its defenses is kind of hosed, and there's only so much they can do to harm the belt - but there's a lot I think they'd want to do, and when we jump to persepolis and the belters are largely the main political force? That doesn't really strike me as plausible given how many people would hate them. Similarly, while there's this massive disapora of people, most of them are from Earth, and the reason they had to leave is because Earth was fucked so many different ways. Think they would be happy being bossed around by the Belt? By Michio Fucking Pa? 

So yeah, we do see the devastation and ruins. What we don't see is the primal response of wanting to strike back, the anger and pain and hate that naturally comes from it. We don't see people identifying as being from Earth, of Earth, and using that as an attack on them, personally. We don't even get a mention of it. Compare this to "The North Remembers" as an example of what kinds of feelings drive people when they experience something hugely brutal and unfair. 

 

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On 7/25/2020 at 7:23 AM, Jace, Basilissa said:

So because the writers envisioned a humanity capable of rising above tit-for-tat cycles of violence that lay waste to entire generations and you don't think that's possible, it's bad. Not because of character development criticism or plot consistency, you just didn't like the idea of a future where violence is met with actual human response. The THEME.

The series is far from perfect, but saying that what amounts to a piece of fiction's theme is bad because you don't think people you know would react in the same way to an inciting event is not an actual criticism.

You don't have to react with violence or revenge to react to the end of billions of lives with trauma as well as mass cultural change.

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