Abaddon’s Gate Part II

The read along of Abaddon’s Gate, Book 3 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Sarah at The Illustrated Page is our host. We’re covering Chapters 13-26, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) After two books that built mystery on top of mystery, we finally get some answers. What revelation excites you the most?

I like knowing what Miller is, though I daresay all of us half-guessed it. It makes me wonder if Julie was somehow the same thing for Miller (when he was alive)… but Miller and Julie never met in real life.

Intergalactic travel is now possible if only the human species can live long enough to harness the technology.

2) Was Holden right to head off on his own? And how do you think he’ll fare now that he’s been captured by the Martians? And is his crew still alive?

Yes, Holden was right. He’s the one that’s been chatting up Miller/Protomolecule. So he’s the logical choice for going. Plus, he doesn’t have any skills that aren’t matched (or outmatched) by his crew mates. He’s not a mechanic or a pilot.

Well, the Martians will keep him alive provided he doesn’t do anything stupid and if Anna, Bull, or the Roci crew can get them to listen, they will want Melba and the documentary crew much more than Holden.

Yes, I think the Roci’s crew is still alive simple because there’s like 3 or 4 more books in the series.

3) On a related note, how do you feel about the new POV characters now? Are you warming to any?

I’m still intrigued by Melba simply because she’s both obsessed and thoughtful, and yet still has a blind eye towards her dad’s actions and how that created much of this mess.

Bull is still very interesting though now I worry about his survivability. He really needs some serious medical attention but I don’t know if he will be able to get what he needs in time so I applaud him making a tough choice to stay awake and do what he can.

4) Do you think Earth and Mars will agree to the OPA’s plan? Do you think they’ll be stuck forever in this weird starless place or will they get back home?

I think they will hesitate, especially Mars, but will  ultimately agree to send over their wounded. Everyone is desperate and has suffered losses.

As to whether any of them will get home again, that’s a very good question. This series has been full of surprises so far. At the end of Book 1, I expected war between Mars and Earth and possibly the OPA, but we didn’t get a full out war at all. Then at the end of Book 2, I thought that tentacular blob ejected from Venus would head towards another moon or planet to take over; instead, it turned into the big ring gate. So while I don’t expect our key players to be stuck in this starless construct for the next 3 or 4 books, I really don’t know where the story will take us next.

5) Oh, and do you think that destroyer of worlds, strange darkness is still out there?

If this protomolecule could exist for 2 million years in the void of space & eventually take us to this weird waystation in another galaxy, then yes, I think whatever could take out the civilization that created those first two could still be out there. Whether or not it’s murderous is really the question.

Other Tidbits:

Is it just me, or is Naomi having less to do this book? She’s coming across as a little whiny to me and as someone who just pops up when Holden needs his moral compass or sanity checked.

Betrayed Amos is a sad, angry Amos. Poor dude.

Tilly is more than a pretty face and fashionista. I’m glad she’s got some smarts to her.

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well.

Abaddon’s Gate Part I

The read along of Abaddon’s Gate, Book 3 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is our host. We’re covering the Prologue-Chapter 12, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. This time around the prologue shows us what became of The Thing That Abandoned Venus. Any ideas about what the purpose of the Ring might be?

My, I wasn’t expecting that! I was really expecting it to be some seed headed off to another planet or moon in our solar system. So now we have this ring and it seems to be a gate to somewhere very far off. I recall someone contemplating what was known so far, like sending in objects and light waves and also receiving radio waves from the inside of the ring that were older than the Big Bang. Perhaps that was Anna contemplating all that. Time warp? Just an intergalactic gate?

2. New book means new characters! Do any of these newcomers stand out to you at this point? If so, who and why?

Melba/Julie Mao’s sister (Clarice?) is interesting because she feels some regret over some of the horrible things she has to do… and yet she totally doesn’t explore the morality of her dad’s actions.

Bull is fun, coming from Alamogordo, New Mexico. I love that his special treat is some frozen Hatch chili. I liked the way he handled the Pixie Dust problem on the generation ship turned military vessel.

3. It looks like bureaucracy is finally catching up to the Rocinante crew. Do you think they’ll actually lose the ship?

Somehow I don’t think they will lose the ship through court. they have plenty of money and the ship is a moving target. They can hire their own lawyers and one court (OPA) has already granted them salvage rights to it. If Earth or Mars overturns the OPA’s ruling, the OPA could well be insulted, feeling like they aren’t acknowledged as a true sovereign realm.

But I do fear that someone could illegally take it from them or they could have to evacuate due to some sabotage or protomolecule stuff or the need to hurtle a very fast ship into a large alien ring, thereby destroying it….

Other Tidbits:

Brown sludge that looks like feces but smells like the best braised beef ever – yuck! I’ve never been a fan of foods that look like one thing but taste very different – like cakes that are made to look like litter boxes and such.

I think it was good of Ana’s wife to take their little girl to Earth so that she has the choice later on of where she wants to live. She can always return to the Belt or go to Mars, but if she grew up in low G, she wouldn’t have the choice of living on Earth.

I really like how Ana handled that domestic violence issue. Clever! Ana may well be a force to be reckoned with.

Sounds like Holden’s crew all have secrets they don’t want to share with the documentary crew. I do wonder the most about Alex.

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well.

Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey

Narrator: Jefferson Mays

Publisher: Recorded Books (2012)

Length: 19 hours 50 minutes

Series: Book 2 The Expanse

Author’s Page

Note: This is Book 2 in the series and really should be enjoyed after having read Book 1.

Several months have passed since the events of Leviathan Wakes. Holden and crew are now working for Fred, basically being his enforcers in their sleek Martian ship the Rocinante. In fact, they’ve become rather humdrum about having to deal with space pirates. The ship’s broken coffee maker is a bigger nuisance than space pirates! But then something horrible happens on Ganymede, the bread basket for the Belters and stations. Holden and his crew are drawn into some protomolecule nastiness and they might not survive as a whole.

Book 1 was really good and Book 2 surpasses that. There are so many great points about this book. First, my only complaint from Book 1 has been addressed. We have more female characters and they affect the plot! Yay! Chrisjen Avasarala is a cross between a Spy Master and a top-notch politician. She’s got her reasons for going after the goals she sets and she’s got a harsh mouth. I loved her commentary. Then’s there’s Bobbie, a Mech Warrior with the Mars Military. She’s a very large Polynesian woman, all muscle with a good balance of brains and skills. Naomi didn’t shine as brightly for me in this book, but I didn’t agree with all her choices. That’s OK; I don’t have to agree with all the heroes to enjoy the book.

Amos got some depth on him and there were several great scenes with him. That canned chicken scene still stands out. Amos likes to fight but he also uses his violence as a tool. He’s not just some angry brawler. We still haven’t gotten much on Alex but he did get some good jokes now that there’s another Martian for him to joke around with. Jim Holden is still the central character and I enjoyed they various scenarios he’s put in that make him question his ethics.

So let’s talk about that protomolecule that everyone thought was safely locked up and in Fred’s custody. Well, somehow somewhere someone got their hands on some and started doing experiments with it. Now Ganymede is another goo zone. Prax, a botanist living on Ganymede before the incident, is desperately searching for his daughter. The crew of the Roci get pulled into this affair and Prax temporarily becomes both part of the crew and a paying customer.

There were so many moments in this book where I thought for sure we’re going to lose this character or that one or a planet or a spaceship. Mobile protomolecule monsters! Plenty of political intrigue. One man very determined to make life tough for everyone. The hunt for Prax’s kid, Mei.

The ending held some surprises. It closed out the big events for this book but set us up for the next one. There’s a character that’s back which I didn’t expect. Also, there’s big stuff happening on Venus and it looks like humanity will finally have to do something about it.

The Narration: Jefferson Mays continues to do a really great job with this series. I love his accents for Avasarala (Indian) and Alex (Texan). His female voices sound like ladies. He’s able to keep all the characters distinct and he pulls off the big and nuanced emotions alike.

What I Liked: Holden and his crew are more cohesive; space pirates!; mobile protomolecule monsters!; the hunt for Mei; Avasarala’s potty mouth; Bobbie’s skills; the ending wraps up some things while setting us up for more; great narration.

What I Disliked: Nothing – a lot of fun!

What Others Think:

Fantasy Book Review

SFF World

Geekritique

The Book Smugglers

Beer Rants & Books

Obsessive Book Nerd

Elitist Book Reviews

Adventures in ScFi Publishing

Abaddon’s Gate (The Expanse #3) – Read Along Schedule

I read Leviathan Wakes (Book 1 of The Expanse series) some years ago and I have watched the first season of The Expanse as well. Now the wonderful folks on the SF/F Read Alongs GoodReads group have put together this group read and we’re into Book 3, Abaddon’s Gate.

Here is the current schedule:

Week 1: Prologue to Chapter 12, Friday 4th August, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Chapters 13 to 26, Friday 11th August
Week 3: Chapters 27 to 40, Friday 18th August
Week 4: Chapters 41 to End, Friday 25th August

Book Blurb for Abaddon’s Gate:

For generations, the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt – was humanity’s great frontier. Until now.

The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus’s orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.

As always, folks are welcome to jump in and join us. You don’t have to be a host or a blogger. You can always choose the easy route and tackle the weekly discussion in the comments of the hosting blog. We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well.

Caliban’s War Part IV

The read along of Caliban’s War, Book 2 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is our host. We’re covering Chapters 43-END, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. Bobbie’s idea turns out to be sneakier than I expected! Do you think this is a case of brains as well as muscle power, or is she learning a thing from Avasarala?

Yes, definitely. Bobbie has been watching Avasarala maneuver and I think this has pushed her to rely on more than her mech suit and military training (tho both serve her quite well). I don’t expect she will ever become the great political chess master that Avasarala is, but she’s learning to step outside her comfort zone.

2. The crew split up to take on various missions, all different but all important. Holden, Prax, Bobbie… Which final battle POV sticks with you most, and why?

I was holding my breath until they found Mei as I was definitely concerned that she was a goo monster. I was also worried that Holden wouldn’t make it through this book. I agree with him shooting what’s his face on the ship instead of negotiating with him. Time was of the essence and I felt that man needed to be executed by someone. I hope Bobbie gets a new mech suit.

3. “What’s that?” What indeed. What do you make of whatever the heck just lifted off from Venus, and where do you think it’s going?

Oh my! I think it’s headed for either Mars or Earth. I expect it’s a giant protomolecule ball built to infest whatever it lands on. I really hope they can stop it. If not, humanity will either fall or expand further out into the galaxy… and since the series is called The Expanse…. well, that Mormon generation ship may well be more important than we first thought.

4. Speaking of what was on Venus, let’s discuss THAT ending. When you’re done (presumably) flailing, of course… Thoughts? Reactions? Theories?

Yeah! WTF? Either Holden is starting to lose it and his mind is doing it Miller fashion because that’s the best example it has or he really does see some version of Miller. Could the protomolecule have psychic abilities? Who knows. Either way, I’m intrigued and in many ways it’s good to have Miller back in the mix because he balances out Holden’s Justice For All attitude with a solid dose of reality.

Other Tidbits:

I love Bobbie’s banter with Holden’s crew. She jokes with Alex and calls Amos out on his open appreciation of her battle suit one piece.

I want to hug Avasarala for giving her backing to Prax, ensuring him and his daughter have a secure future.

I hope Bobbie stays with the crew even if she and Alex never hook up.

The crowd funding campaign for Prax to find his daughter was awesome, though I don’t like how his wife tried to turn it (I expect she was both threatened and paid to do so).

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well.

Caliban’s War Part III

The read along of Caliban’s War, Book 2 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Sarah at The Illustrated Page is our host. We’re covering Chapters 28-42, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) So a lot happened this week! What do you make of all the POV characters meeting up? Do you think there will be any new additions to the crew of the Rocinante?

I was hoping that Avasarala would join the group at some point. The Rocinante needed someone with great swearing abilities! But I doubt that she will end up staying with the crew long term. She doesn’t really like changing gravity, does she? Also, she’s got her career (which might be on the rocks at the moment but she could have a come back).

I half hope that Meng will join the crew. I think the crew could really use a botanist/scientist on the crew, especially with the possibility of more unexpected labs holding bits of the protomolecule.

2) Holden has had some self realizations. Do you think he’ll really change his ways? And how does it tie into the new decisions for the Rocinante?

I’m on the fence about this one. Yes, he’s not the great thinker he was in Book 1 but is he a violence-happy man? No. Amos enjoys violence a lot more than he does, tho we do see him using it judiciously here (like when he insults the port security so they don’t notice how nervous Holden is). I felt a lot was made of this little storm in a tea cup.

3) What do you think they’ll find on Io?

Goo. Lots of dangerous goo. And hopefully clues to finding Mei. I really hope she isn’t one with the goo.

4) Apparently, the UN was involved after all, and now Avasarala’s been out maneuvered! But Bobbie thinks she has a plan to save their skins. Any ideas what her big revelation was? And do you think they’ll succeed?

I really like how Avasarala can reflect on the ‘how’ of being outmaneuvered and still keep her eye on the ball – she’s moving forward. Bobbie has a mech suit. I think she’s going to go all Iron Man on us. Yay! I do hope they succeed and I think they will win this one but will they both survive the end of this book? Not sure. After all, the first time I read Book 1 I didn’t expect Miller to go out in a blaze of glory.

Other Tidbits:

I think it’s very telling that Amos chooses to stay with Holden instead of following Naomi off the ship. I think she’s leaving for the wrong reasons and it’s more about her instead of it being all Holden.

Bobbie is my new favorite hero.

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well.

Caliban’s War Part II

The read along of Caliban’s War, Book 2 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More is our host. We’re covering Chapters 13-27, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) So – lots of character development this week, and not necessarily in a good way. What do you think about Amos and Jim’s behaviour?

It’s nice to see that Amos has a soft gooey center for kids even if it is rather tiny and hidden under lots of armor and probably full of hard pebbles. However, he’s not the great thinker of the group, is he? In a twisted way, I like that he enjoys bar fights and can be so casual about violence. It makes him immensely useful.

Jim has gotten lazy. He’s been flying around on the Rocinante with all her big guns and hasn’t had to do much quick thinking and smooth talking to get what he wants lately. It’s made him a little too quick to reach for his gun but I don’t feel he’s off the deep end. I wonder why Naomi is so put off by it as I don’t feel it’s extreme. After all, she’s been Amos’s boss (‘friend’ seems like the wrong word) for years now and he’s quick to violence (tho his discernment of when to dish it out seems to be better than Jim’s right now). I think Jim is many far steps from being Miller.

2) What do you make of Avasarala’s management style? Do you think Bobbie will go the distance?

Ha! She makes me laugh. I wish I had more bosses like her because she’s pretty direct about what she wants and how she wants it and she doesn’t mind if you verbally spar with her as long as you’re useful. I hope Bobbie goes the distance. She managed to get this far which is further than I expected.

3) Okay – we’re halfway – time to place our bets. Who do you think is behind the situation on Ganymede? What do you think they are trying to achieve?

I think the protospore has been modified and this is yet another petri dish to see what it does. As to who is behind it, I’m not sure. Holden seems convinced it’s OPA behind it but I’m not sure. Yes, the only publicly known mess of this alien spore was in OPA hands but there’s all that stuff on Venus (and I bet there’s a way to get a probe to steal a bit of it) and then there’s the corporation that placed the goo on Eros. Perhaps they held back a sample that fell into other hands or is still in the hands of the remnants of that corporation.

I don’t know how these kids tie in. They lack a real immune system unless they get regular meds and I think that lack is the key. If you wanted to see what this alien spore could do to human tissue, probably best to find some human tissue that can’t defend itself (lacks an immune system).

4) Is it dead? Do you think putting it out an airlock was the right decision? (…although if you can think of any better ideas, I’m all ears)

I don’t think they had any other better choices in the moment. If they had another friendly ship nearby, I guess they could put the Roci on autopilot for the nearest uninhabited rock or the sun and evacuate. But they didn’t have a nearby friendly ship and it would be a shame to lose the Roci. I hope it’s dead or they just spread bits of this alien spore all over the space near Ganymede. Can it latch onto other ships or even rocks and survive a drop through burning atmosphere? Perhaps.

Other Tidbits:

We haven’t gotten much of Naomi or Alex this round. Tho Naomi’s ability to control that food riot was pretty awesome…. but then folks get food only a few hours before Ganymede starts falling apart. I hope folks died with full stomachs.

I like Prax’s full name (Praxidike Meng).

Holden’s ability to hire security on the fly was great. Amos using canned chicken to get the info was brutal but efficient. Prax’s use of his gun wasn’t particularly useful. I like Amos’s casual acknowledgement that it was his bad.

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well.

Caliban’s War Part I

The read along of Caliban’s War, Book 2 of The Expanse is off and running! I’m a bit late in posting but this is an awesome group that isn’t rigid about such things. Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow is our host. We’re covering the Prologue through Chapter 12, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. Holden and crew are back! What do you make of their situation, what they’re up to and how they behave/interact now, compared to how it began?

Ha! They are privateers in a way, even if their main focus is hunting down space pirates. I  love that they work really well together, being very comfortable with each other. Amos is coming along learning to trust Holden, even sharing coffee with him. I did enjoy Holden grumbling about not wanting to deal with pirates until he had some hot caffeine. We haven’t gotten much more about Alex but I hope that will come.

2. We meet some new characters in this book, and 2 out of 3 are women with important roles. What are your first impressions, given the general concern over the roles/lack of women in the first book?

Well, I’m not sure how long Bobby will be around. She seems to be in a very dangerous job and then currently in a dangerous position where some people might find it inconvenient if she talked. I hope she sticks around because she’s awesome both in physicality and in her skills. Then there’s Avasarala – she’s amazing in other ways. I say that the authors definitely made up for their lack of women in Book 1.

3. “No one starts a war unless I say they can.”

In particular, we learn that Chrisjen Avasarala is using the power she has to pull strings and dig for information behind the scenes in UN government, and she appears to want an end to the war. What do you think of her methods – and her motive?

I like that she wants to end the war as quickly and with as few corpses as she can. However I do wonder if it’s the sheer challenge of the endeavor that attracts her to it more than the end goal. Time will tell. I was really looking forward to meeting this character in the books because she appears in Season 1 of the TV series The Expanse. She swears quite a bit more in the book than in the TV series and I love her for that. Sweary and intelligent is a great mix that I seem to always enjoy in characters.

4. We also meet Prax, scientist and starving father desperate to find his daughter. In terms of the bigger political picture (remember Miller and Dresden), how much of an emotional wild card do you think he might be?

This is a bit hard to tell right now. He’s determined but also rather timid. I do like that he’s not giving up easily. While there’s this big picture theme of a father wanting to locate his daughter (Julie Mao’s dad tasking authorities to find his daughter and now Prax searching for May), there’s not really any similarity between Prax and Miller at this point. I think if he trusts Holden, he will take his lead from him and that will minimize any wild card behaviors.

Other Tidbits:

Those mech suits are awesome! I want one.

WTF? What is this monster that was set loose on Ganymede? And why did it eventually explode? Is that natural, kind of like a pustule popping and spreading the protomolecule? Or was it designed to do that? Or was that totally unexpected?

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well.

Caliban’s War – The Schedule

I read Leviathan Wakes (Book 1 of The Expanse series) some years ago and I have watched the first season of The Expanse as well. Now the wonderful folks on the SF/F Read Alongs GoodReads group have put together this group read and we’re into Book 2, Caliban’s War. I know I’m a bit late in sharing the schedule and getting my discussion posts up.

Here is the current schedule:

Week 1: Friday 7th July, Prologue to Chapter 12, hosted at Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Friday 14th July, Chapters 13 to 27, hosted at There’s Always Room For One More
Week 3: Friday 21st July, Chapters 28 to 42, hosted by The Illustrated Page
Week 4: Friday 28th July, Chapters 43 to End

Book Blurb for Caliban’s War:

James S.A. Corey’s best-selling hit Leviathan Wakes earned Hugo and Locus Award nominations. In Caliban’s War, the second chapter of Corey’s Expanse series, a desperate Earth politician works tirelessly to prevent war from reigniting. Meanwhile, upheaval takes root on Venus and Ganymede. And amidst this tumult, James Holden and his crew on the Rocinante are charged with the impossible task of saving humanity from a terrifying fate.

 

As always, folks are welcome to jump in and join us. You don’t have to be a host or a blogger. You can always choose the easy route and tackle the weekly discussion in the comments of the hosting blog. We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well.

Leviathan Wakes Part IV

The read along of Leviathan Wakes, Book 1 of The Expanse is off and running! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along. I’m listening to the audiobook, so apologies for any misspellings.

This week, Sarah at The Illustrated Page is our host. We’re covering Chapters 44-END, so be prepared for spoilers below!

 

1. So first off, what do you make of what Miller found inside Eros?

What a big gooey mess! For whatever reason, this alien protovirus (?) had enough time to bond with Julie to the extent that some of her personality and intelligence is now melded with it. It’s a sentient life of sorts and if this was Star Trek, then we’d have to preserve it, coddle it, give it a name… unless it had a Borg-like need to assimilate all known life.

I still feel that folks are jumping to conclusions about what this thing is.. but they had to in a way just to make decisions about what to do with it. I hope we get more science on it in the next book.

2. Was Miller’s end a noble sacrifice or was it the act of a suicidal man? Is Holden right in wanting Miller to be presented as a person, not a symbol?

I think Miller had suicidal tendencies for some time now, perhaps even before we meet him. Recall he used to talk to his ex-wife’s image at the beginning of the story the same way he came to talk to Julie’s image. However, something always held him back from doing something truly suicidal, so I think he needed to make a difference for someone somewhere before he gave up the ghost.

I love Holden’s insistence that Miller be presented as a real person (which makes me think of Speaker for the Dead) but I also think Earth, Mars, and the Belt are headed for war. Perhaps the right symbol would help stop that, or at least minimize the body count.

3. Do you believe war between Earth, Mars, and the Belt is inevitable? Will the they achieve peace, even peace for now?

We haven’t really seen Mars and Earth in this book but the Belt and even Mars talk as if Earth (and the Moon) are the rich, opulent neighborhood, Mars is for the mid-economy folks, and the Belt is for the poor grunts working their lives away. However, we see that there’s those that are better off than others within the Belt and I suspect that’s going to be the same for Mars and Earth… but will Earth have slums? Hmmm…  Anyway, perception really counts here and is a major factor in the brewing war. Belters can’t live on Earth without some serious medical care (since they grew up in a much lower gravity) but Earthers can travel the solar system and do OK. I think the best the Belters can hope for is better trade agreements with Earth and Mars. They can’t successfully invade and take over, nor can they break off completely from the two and survive for more than a generation.

4. Do you have any predictions for the next book? Things you want to see more of or find out about?

I too would like to see the fish farms in space. I saw a documentary about tilapia farms in the desert, so I expect some of the same techniques are used.

I’ve watched the first season of The Expanse and it takes things from Book 2, mostly the Earth politics (according to my man who’s caught up on the books). So I look forward to reading about that.

I’d also like to know more about Alex, especially with war brewing. Will he feel loyalty to Mars and decide to leave the crew?

Of course I want to see what happens with the Julie/Miller/Alien mashup. It’s already making crystal towers so I wouldn’t be surprised if it started talking soon.

Other Tidbits:

If Julie and the alien virus are now besties, what about those people on the ship which is now in the hands of Fred and OPA? Did they not have enough time to bond with it? Julie took care to reduce heat and radiation exposure, so perhaps that is what made it possible for her. But perhaps when they thaw those folks, they will get a nasty surprise, right?

I loved Amos’s response to Holden and Naomi being in a relationship. Ha!

Throughout this book, I have noticed these little snippets that I think could be nods to other great scifi works. Near the beginning of the book, there was a reference to voices in the whirlwind (a Walter Jon Williams novel), then this thing with Miller being seen as a real, flawed human in death (Speaker for the Dead), and finally this line about ’till human voices wake us’, which is the title for 1 scifi novel and 2 short SF stories by various authors. Did anyone else catch such nods?

I did feel a bit sorry for the Mormons losing their big generation ship, especially since it missed it’s mark and didn’t get to be a big piece of saving the solar system.

 

And here is the current list of participators:
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Sarah at The Illustrated Page
Imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well. Also, we’re planning the group read for Book 2. So check over there for updates.