Leviathan Wakes



My wife and I have just finished reading Leviathan Wakes, a sci find space opera welded to a pulp boot, written by a couple of George R R Martin’s assistants. It took us each about three days to read it from beginning to end: an oddly compulsive few days of late nights.

I’d discovered it because of the media hype around The Expanse, a TV series made out of it. (Leviathan Wakes is only the first of a 6-volume sequence, also named The Expanse.). We’ve watched the first episodes of the TV series and it’s not as good as the book; most things seem too clean, or not claustrophobic enough for space, or they’ve whitened some of the characters, or it’s not exactly what we imagined…

The Expanse is set in the 23rd century, when the powers in the solar system are Earth, the Martian Congressional Republic, and the Belters, miners of the asteroid belt and beyond, etiolated, adjusted to low gravity. There’s simmering rivalry between the three; the Belters are a proletariat the others use to get resources from, but they’re struggling to rise up against their shackles. There’s some political context here but that’s mostly background to the story of Miller, a cop on Ceres, an asteroid station. His search for a missing woman is spliced in between the story of Holden and his crew, who escaped the slaughter of the rest of their crewmates on a larger ship, and spend the first half of the book trying to track down who was responsible, while on the way inadvertently starting an interplanetary war.

The alternation between Holden and Miller gets a bit trying at times, especially when the two plots intersect and the alternation stops making any narrative sense, and the introduction of vomitting zombies (no, really) is a bit more than I could take, but the ending is strong, even if it took a bit longer than necessary to get there. (Every chapter has a solution to a problem that’s then reversed, and that winning formula is a bit trying after a while…)

I can’t figure out if this description of space travel is any less ludicrous than any other (there’s a nice bit of handwavium in the shape of Epstein drives, whatever they are) and there are some really daft things to do with people being shot/irradiated/otherwise meant to be dead but surviving but in total it’s a good read, even if it appears to have been written with at least one eye on a TV adaptation. You can’t begrudge them wanting to be rich, after all. I’m just worried we’re going to have to read another five of these books before we get anything done round here.

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One response to “Leviathan Wakes”

  1. […] my children knows no bounds. I seized this quiet time to read some of the sequel to Leviathan WakesLeviathan Wakes and then we had a drawn-out attempt to go out to a barbecue that was scheduled to start at 3. […]

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