Currently Reading: Babylon’s Ashes by James S. A. Corey

babylons-ashes

The most recent novel in the Expanse universe is Babylon’s Ashes. Released in December 2016, I’m nearly to the halfway point. As usual, many stories are told from a wide variety of viewpoints, so you always see what is happening in all sectors of the solar system, with all of the different players.

The self proclaimed Free Navy led by Marco Inaros has all but destroyed Earth and has taken over the Medina gate to the new worlds, capturing any colony ships that try to go through and commandeering their cargos and resources. They’ve gutted Ceres Station and are destroying ships throughout the system whose owners seem to oppose them.

The tenuous society which existed before with Earth and Mars well situated and the Belt stations barely surviving is gone, but it’s hard to see what will replace it since the supplies and resources for everyone are now dwindling quickly, with no way to even start producing enough to save those who remain. In many ways the war has just begun.

As I say, I’m not finished, but I could see it ending up with a small group who survives making their way through the gates and abandoning our system altogether. That would strand all of humanity on the thousand new worlds full of alien technologies which could activate and destroy the last of them at any time.

Let’s hope things don’t get that bleak, and that our hero James Holden can somehow get everyone to see they’re all one people who need to work together to survive.

Season Two of the Expanse starts on the Syfy channel February 1st. http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse

Merlyn’s “What I’m Reading”

Sometimes when you’re between books, you start a few and read them as the mood strikes. Usually, you reach a point in one or more where you have to read on to the end of the story or you won’t get any sleep. Here’s my current pile.

Jim Butcher’s Storm Front I actually started this in November and haven’t gotten far. I want to like it but I’m not sure I care for Harry Dresden, the main character. He seems a bit amoral to me, and I like a solid hero. They can be flawed, but I need to see that they are going to end up doing the right thing.

storm front cover

The Shadow Thieves Anne Ursu I bought this quite awhile ago, based on reviews, I’m sure. I’m only a few chapters in, but it has potential. I take it from the jacket Charlotte Mielswetzski, an unlikely heroine, will be rising from her friendless misery to be something special. Very lightly told. Things are about to happen. This is my easy chair/napping book so it will take awhile unless things happen quickly in the plot, then it will be done in a few hours. It is #1 in the Cronus Chronicles with a front of the book quote “What if Greek Myths were real?”

Shadow Thieves

I found a couple of lists of best, “must read” science fiction and fantasy novels, and will post those separately. I knew and loved many of the books on the lists, but there were so many I disagreed with or had, but hadn’t read yet, that I started combing my own shelves for likely titles. I pulled out a pile to read.

At the top of the list was Dan Simmon’s Hyperion, which I own but haven’t read. I started it , and it is great sf so far, but I was struck by how similar the theme and plot (at least as I’m beginning) is to James Gunn’s recent book Transcendental. Both are framed as a set of pilgrims traveling to a particular shrine/holy location and both use the format of The Canterbury Tales to introduce the pilgrims.

Hyperion

I recently watched the Syfy series The Expanse. I hated the first episode, but decided to watch another to see if I liked it. Good thing, because the second episode and all the others were great stories, fascinating characters, and feature a really well imagined time when there is a colonized Mars, Luna and an entire civilization of “belters” working the fringes of the solar system for resources.

I particularly loved all of the sequences featuring the remains of the crew of The Canterbury.
Rocinante crew

This small tight knit group just had one incredible escape after another. I initially disliked the earth-centric and Ceres Station (in The Belt) sequences, not liking the gritty, hopeless life of the residents, and the detective who was trying to figure out how a series of disasters were connected bugged me to death. I hate to say, I think it was his hairdo that just set me on edge. So silly.

Expanse Miller

After seeing all the episodes, I wanted MORE. How fortuitous that the Expanse is based on Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. I snared a copy and the book is great, and from the first sentence. So many extra details that give character and world background are in the book, that I actually found Miller to be likeable immediately. He didn’t have a creepy stalker vibe going regarding his search for missing heiress Julie Mao at all.

Leviathan Wakes

The story of the Canterbury and subsequent adventures of the tiny Rocinante crew were so satisfying. As I’m reading, I can see the faces of the tv series folks in my mind, and I can picture the ships and the grittiness of life in space.

While I wait the torturous whole year before the Expanse returns to Syfy, I can find out what happens to our merry crew and the world they inhabit in the sequels: Caliban’s War, Abbadon’s Gate, Cibola Burn, and Nemesis Games.

Currently Reading…

Nothing like a good reading pile, I say. I’m currently reading:

Son of Destruction by Kit Reed A young man tries to find out about his explosive past. Wonderful crisp prose, likeable hero, and it feeds an old fascination for the concept of spontaneous human combustion.

son of destruction

Name of the Wind Patrick Rothfuss Just started at lunch yesterday when a pristine paperback copy came across my desk. Read a little out of curiousity. Really well written, grabs you right into the story. Characters feel like well loved archetypes.

name of the wind

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus On my iPod for reading anytime. Some kids find that their newly purchased house comes with a nasty hag who sweeps them and the house away to a bizarre land so they can locate an arcane text for her.

house of secrets