Sunday, November 1, 2015

Staff Review: Leviathan Wakes and The Expanse TV Series

Have you ever read a book and thought, "Hey, this might make a great TV show?" Sometimes you get what you ask for, and in my case that is The Expanse series of books by James S.A. Corey coming to a television near me.  I'd heard raves about the first book in the series, Leviathan Wakes and decided to give it a try.

In a nutshell, humans have colonized Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid belt and beyond.  The people born and raised on the outer planets refer to themselves as "belters". Those born and raised on Earth are called "Earthers".  There are a lot of politics at play, but the bottom line is that the belters aren't big fans of the Earthers and vice versa so of course there is a war brewing.  The majority of the story is told from two different viewpoints, in alternating chapters.

James Holden is an Earther and the executive officer of an ice mining ship that makes runs from the rings of Saturn to various mining stations on the belt. His ship happens upon the Scopuli, a derelict ship, and when he and a few other crew members mount a salvage/rescue mission, things go horribly wrong. It seems they have stumbled upon a secret that will get them killed.

Detective Joe Miller works for Star Helix Security on the Ceres station. He is tasked with looking for a missing girl named Julie Mao.  Her parents are important and it seems she had a bit of a rebellious streak while in college, joining a student activist group and refusing to come home.  Her last known address was on Ceres, and Miller traces her to a ship called the Scopuli.  Through a series of events, Miller and Holden end up working together to find Julie and discover what secret the Scopuli was holding.

Leviathan Wakes paints a fascinating picture of life on Earth and beyond.  Obviously it takes place in a distant future so even things on Earth are different.  For instance, Holden was born in a family co-op with five fathers and three mothers.  They all contributed to his DNA mix and somehow this arrangement gave them a huge tax break, allowing them to own 22 acres of decent farmland. Miller on the other hand was born on Ceres, having only been off-planet 4 times.  It becomes pretty obvious that Miller is being set-up as the fall guy for something.  He is depressed, his life is stagnant, and as a result he become obsessed with the Julie Mao case.  The two different points of view allow the story to move forward until the two main characters intersect.  I had a few moments of "wait, what is happening here?" but for the most part found that the world-building wasn't too complicated and the story progressed nicely.  To date there are four more books in The Expanse series: Caliban's War, Abaddon's Gate, Cibola Burn, and Nemesis Games

Enough about the book, lets get to the TV show.  Yes, The Expanse will be coming to the SyFy channel with a two part series premier on December 14 and 15.  I, for one, can't wait to see this huge space opera (for lack of a better description) come to life on the small screen.  I really enjoyed the Battlestar Galactica reboot and the recent SyFy shows Killjoys and Dark Matter.  I apparently enjoy TV shows that take place in space.  There is still time to read the book before the series begins, or if you don't want to read the book (it is only 582 pages, you can do it), wait until December and watch the story unfold in one hour increments.

Also, in case anyone is wondering, "James S.A. Corey"is a pen name used by the two writers that collaborate on this series, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

~Amy, Adult Services

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the fold! There's a growing fan community updating the Expanse wiki at It covers both the books and the show.