The Expanse (novel series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Expanse

Author James S. A. Corey
Country United States
Genre Science fiction
Space opera
Publisher Orbit Books
Published June 2011 – present
Media type Print
Audiobook
E-book

The Expanse is a series of science fiction novels (and related novellas and short stories) by James S. A. Corey, the joint pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The first novel, Leviathan Wakes, was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2012.[1] The series as a whole was nominated for the Best Series Hugo Award in 2017.[2]

As of 2018, The Expanse is made of up seven novels and six shorter works. The latter, to date, consists of two prequel short stories and four novellas. Further novels are planned,[3] as well as two more novellas.[4] The series was adapted for television by the Syfy Network, also under the title of The Expanse. The series premiered on streaming services on November 23, 2015 and on Syfy on December 14, 2015.[5] Syfy did not renew The Expanse for a fourth season,[6] but on May 26, 2018 Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon would be picking up the series.[7]

Novels[edit]

# Title Pages Publication date ISBN
1 Leviathan Wakes 561 June 15, 2011 978-0-316-12908-4
2 Caliban's War 595 June 26, 2012 978-1-841-49990-1
3 Abaddon's Gate 539 June 4, 2013 978-0-316-12907-7
4 Cibola Burn 583 June 17, 2014 978-0-316-21762-0
5 Nemesis Games 544 June 2, 2015 978-0-316-21758-3
6 Babylon's Ashes 608 December 6, 2016 978-0-316-33474-7
7 Persepolis Rising 560 December 5, 2017 978-0-316-33283-5
8 Tiamat's Wrath 608 December 4, 2018 978-0-316-33286-6
9 Unknown 2019[8]

Translations by language[edit]

Short stories and novellas[edit]

Title Setting Pages Publication date ISBN
The Butcher of Anderson Station Before Leviathan Wakes 40 October 17, 2011 978-0-316-20407-1
Gods of Risk Between Caliban's War and Abaddon's Gate 75 September 15, 2012 978-0-316-21765-1
Drive Before Leviathan Wakes 7 November 27, 2012[Note 1] 978-1-781-08056-6
The Churn Before Leviathan Wakes 75 April 29, 2014 978-0-316-21766-8
The Vital Abyss Between Abaddon's Gate and Cibola Burn 74 October 15, 2015[10] 978-0-316-21756-9
Strange Dogs Between Babylon's Ashes and Persepolis Rising 64 July 18, 2017[11] 978-0-316-21757-6

Comics[edit]

Four digital comics based on the books and tying into the television series were published by ComiXology. The comics were written by James S.A. Corey, Hallie Lambert and Georgia Lee and illustrated by Huang Danlan, Triona Farrell, Juan Useche and Rahzzah. The Expanse: Origins reveals the untold backstories of the crew members of the Rocinante before the start of the series. All four comics were also released in print as a compilation titled The Expanse Vol. 1: Origins, which also featured a new story about Detective Miller.

Title Character Publication date Ref
The Expanse Origins #1 James Holden February 1, 2017 [12]
The Expanse Origins #2 Naomi Nagata April 19, 2017 [13]
The Expanse Origins #3 Alex Kamal May 24, 2017 [14]
The Expanse Origins #4 Amos Burton July 12, 2017 [15]

Audiobooks[edit]

All of the novels and all the novellas have been released as audiobooks, with Jefferson Mays as the narrator for all novels and the novellas The Vital Abyss and Strange Dogs.[16] Erik Davies is the narrator for the novellas Gods of Risk and The Churn.[17]

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

The Expanse is set in a future in which humanity has colonized much of the Solar System, but does not have interstellar travel. In the asteroid belt and beyond, tensions are rising between Earth's United Nations, Mars, and the outer planets.[citation needed]

The series initially takes place in the solar system, using many real world locations such as Ceres and Eros in the asteroid belt, several moons of Jupiter, with Ganymede and Europa the most developed, and small science bases as far out as Phoebe around Saturn and Titania around Uranus, as well as well-established domed settlements on Mars and the Moon.[citation needed]

As the series progresses, humanity gains access to thousands of new worlds by use of the ring, an artificially sustained Einstein-Rosen bridge or wormhole, created by a long dead alien race. The ring in our solar system is 2 AU from the orbit of Uranus, and passing through it leads to a hub of starless space approximately one million kilometers across, with more than 1,300 other rings, each with a star system on the other side. In the center of the hub, which is also referred to as the "slow zone", an alien space station controls the gates and can also set instantaneous speed limits on objects inside of the hub as a means of defense.[citation needed]

Characters[edit]

Narrative point of view
Name Books
Jim Holden 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Josephus Miller 1
Julie Mao 1 (prologue)
Fred Johnson 1 (epilogue), 6
Bobbie Draper 2, 4 (prologue), 6, 7
Chrisjen Avasarala 2, 4 (epilogue), 6
Praxidike Meng 2, 6
Mei Meng 2 (prologue)
Clarissa Melpomene Mao 3, 6, 7
Annushka Volovodov 3, 6 (epilogue)
Carlos c de Baca 3
Melba Alzbeta Koh 3
Manéo Jung-Espinoza 3 (prologue)
Dimitri Havelock 4
Basia Merton 4
Elvi Okoye 4
The Investigator 4 (interludes)
Amos Burton 5, 6, 7
Alex Kamal 5, 6, 7
Naomi Nagata 5, 6, 7
Filip Inaros 5 (prologue), 6
Sauveterre 5 (epilogue)
Marco Inaros 6
Michio Pa 6
Salis 6
Jakulski 6
Vandercaust 6
Roberts 6
Namono 6 (prologue)
Paolo Cortazár 7 (prologue)
Santiago Jilie Singh 7
Camina Drummer 7
Winston Duarte 7 (epilogue)

There are two main point-of-view characters in the first book (plus two for the prologue/epilogue) and four main characters for the following four books. In the sixth book, Babylon's Ashes, the number of POV characters jumps to 15, with several only having one or two chapters from their point-of-view.

The crew of the Rocinante, an independent gunship crewed by the survivors of the ice hauler Canterbury, include:

  • James "Jim" R. Holden, the Earther captain of the Rocinante
  • Naomi Nagata, a Belter engineer and executive officer and chief engineer of the Rocinante
  • Amos (Timothy) Burton, the Earther mechanic and general muscle of the Rocinante
  • Alex Kamal, the Martian pilot of the Rocinante
  • Roberta "Bobbie" W. Draper, Martian gunnery sergeant in the MCRN, of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force
  • Clarissa "Claire" Melpomene Mao a.k.a. Melba Alzbeta Koh a.k.a. Peaches, a daughter of Jules-Pierre Mao, magnate of Mao-Kwikowski Mercantile from Luna; as Melba she is a licensed electrochemical technician. After forming a bond with her, Amos gives her the nickname Peaches.

The Outer Planets:

  • Josephus "Joe" Aloisus Miller, a Belter who worked as a detective for the Ceres station security firm, Star Helix Security
  • Juliette "Julie" Andromeda Mao, the oldest child of Earther plutocrat Jules-Pierre Mao, former pinnace racer and Outer Planets Alliance convert
  • Frederick "Fred" Lucius Johnson, a former UN marine reviled as the "Butcher of Anderson Station" and now the leader of the OPA
  • Dr. Praxidike "Prax" Meng, the chief botanist of the RMD-Southern soy farm project on Ganymede and father of Mei Meng
  • Carlos "Bull" c de Baca, a member of the OPA serving as chief security officer aboard the Behemoth
  • Basia "Baz" Merton, a welder from Ganymede
  • Rev. Dr. Annushka "Anna" Volovodov, a Methodist pastor at St. John's United on Europa
  • Manéo "Néo" Jung-Espinoza, a young Belter from Ceres
  • Filip Inaros, a teenage member of the OPA and son of Marco Inaros and Naomi Nagata

Mars:

  • Sauveterre, the captain of the MCRN Barkeith

Earth:

  • Dmitri Havelock, a security contractor from Earth & former partner of Joe Miller
  • Chrisjen Avasarala, the UN Assistant Undersecretary of Executive Administration, later UN Secretary General
  • Dr. Elvi Okoye, a biologist from Earth

Laconia:

  • Winston Duarte, High Consul of the Laconian Empire
  • Paolo Cortázar, a former member of Protogen's nanoinformatics research division, he is now the lead researcher on Laconia.
  • Santiago Jilie Singh, a captain in the Laconian Imperial Navy and commander of the Gathering Storm
  • Anton Trejo, High Admiral of the Laconian Imperial Navy and captain of the Heart of the Tempest
  • Aliana Tanaka, Chief of Security aboard Medina Station

Inspiration and writing[edit]

Ty Franck began developing the world of The Expanse initially as the setting for a MMORPG and, after a number of years, for a tabletop roleplaying game. Daniel Abraham, who had by time authored a number of novels on his own, suggested that, given the depth of the setting, that it could serve for the basis for a series of novels. "People who write books don't do this much research", Abraham has said.[18]

It has also been observed that there are similarities in the political and social setting of the series to Alfred Bester's classic science fiction novel The Stars My Destination.[19]

Writing process[edit]

Franck writes all the Holden, Bobbie and Anna chapters, while Abraham writes the Miller, Melba, Avasarala, Bull and Prax chapters.[20] The writers meet weekly to discuss upcoming chapters and swap completed chapters for the other to edit.[18]

Narrative structure[edit]

The novels are written in third-person limited. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a character central to the story, while the prologue and epilogue are told by a recurring character or a one-off viewpoint. Most of the books employs four point-of-view characters (plus the prologue and epilogue viewpoints). Leviathan Wakes features two, and Babylon's Ashes features sixteen. James Holden is the only character to be used as a viewpoint character in all seven novels.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The series overall has been well received, with the first novel Leviathan Wakes being the highest praised.[citation needed]

For Caliban's War Wired.com's Geek Dad and Publishers Weekly both praised the novel. GeekDad cited the book's "believable human personalities and technology that is easily recognizable" as a highlight.[21][22]

Publisher's Weekly gave Abaddon's Gate a starred review saying "series fans will find this installment the best yet."[23] The same publication gave Cibola Burn a starred review and called it "splendid" and it "blends adventure with uncommon decency."[24]

Reviews[edit]

  • "It's been too long since we've had a really kickass space opera." — George R. R. Martin
  • "The science fiction equivalent of A Song of Ice and Fire." — NPR Books
  • "The Expanse series is the best space opera series running at full tilt right now." — io9
  • "This is the future the way it's supposed to be." — The Wall Street Journal
  • "Superb ... a thrill to follow." — The Washington Post
  • "Combining an exploration of real human frailties with big SF ideas and exciting thriller action, Corey cements the series as must-read space opera." — Library Journal

Awards and nominations[edit]

Adaptations[edit]

Television series[edit]

The American television channel Syfy announced a straight-to-series commitment to a television adaptation of The Expanse in April 2014, ordering the production of ten hour-long episodes for a first season[25] and premiered in December 2015. The series stars Thomas Jane as Josephus Miller and Steven Strait as Jim Holden. The rest of the crew of the Rocinante are played by Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata, Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal, and Wes Chatham as Amos Burton. Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala, Chad Coleman as Fred Johnson, and Florence Faivre as Julie Mao are the other major cast members. Frankie Adams joined the cast in season 2 as Bobbie Draper.

Board game[edit]

An Expanse board game, designed by Geoff Engelstein and published by WizKids, was released in October 2017.[26] The authors of the book series collaborated with Engelstein on its development.[27] The game focuses on politics, conquest and intrigue similar to the board game Twilight Struggle, although with a shorter playing time. Players represent Earth's UN forces, the military of Mars, the O.P.A., and Protogen Inc, each struggling to become the dominant power in the Solar System. They use cards and action points to move and place Fleets and expand their Influence in contested areas. The cards represent characters and events from the universe of The Expanse, each bearing key images from the show. Each character has special abilities that must be correctly exploited in order to gain the upper hand in the struggle for control.[28]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Drive" was originally published as part of the sci-fi anthology Edge of Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan. It can now be read for free on the Syfy website.[9]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ "2012 Hugo Awards". Hugo Awards. Archived from the original on 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  2. ^ "2017 Hugo Awards". Hugo Awards. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  3. ^ The Orbit Team (2014-06-17). "Cibola Burn is available now and a big announcement!". Orbit Books, 17 June 2014. Retrieved from http://www.orbitbooks.net/2014/06/17/cibola-burn-available-now-big-announcement/.
  4. ^ DanielAbraham.com "http://www.danielabraham.com/2012/03/29/some-big-news-about-the-expanse/#comment-4208"
  5. ^ "Syfy will premiere 'The Expanse' online before it hits cable". Engadget. Retrieved 2015-12-27. 
  6. ^ "'The Expanse' Canceled by Syfy After Three Seasons, Will Be Shopped". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-06-01. 
  7. ^ "It's official: Amazon has saved The Expanse". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-06-01. 
  8. ^ Martinetti, Cher. "Exclusive: The Expanse's James SA Corey talk TV adaptation |state of sci-fi". syfy.com. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Prequel — The Expanse — Syfy". www.syfy.com. Retrieved 8 November 2017. 
  10. ^ "The Vital Abyss". Hachette Book Group. Retrieved 2015-08-21. 
  11. ^ "Strange Dogs". www.hachettebookgroup.com. Retrieved 2017-06-09. 
  12. ^ "The Expanse Origins #1 (of 4) — Comics by comiXology". comixology.com. Retrieved 8 November 2017. 
  13. ^ "The Expanse Origins #2 (of 4) — Comics by comiXology". comixology.com. Retrieved 8 November 2017. 
  14. ^ "The Expanse Origins #3 (of 4) — Comics by comiXology". comixology.com. Retrieved 8 November 2017. 
  15. ^ "The Expanse Origins #4 (of 4) — Comics by comiXology". comixology.com. Retrieved 8 November 2017. 
  16. ^ "The Expanse Series Audiobooks | UNABRIDGED Series | Audible.com". www.audible.com. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  17. ^ "Audiobooks narrated by Erik Davies | Audible.com". www.audible.com. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  18. ^ a b Orbit Books (2011-01-23). Leviathan Wakes: Part One (Interview). Orbit Books, 23 January 2011. Retrieved on 2015-02-26 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu0xJpCy95o.
  19. ^ Paying Tribute: The Stars My Destination from http://www.danielabraham.com/2012/01/30/paying-tribute-the-stars-my-destination/
  20. ^ "JamesSACorey", et al. (2013-06-06). Reddit AMA with James S.A. Corey. Reddit, 6 June 2013. Retrieved on 2015-02-26 from https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1ftrr7/we_are_james_sa_corey_pseudonymous_author_of_the/cadpdrr.
  21. ^ "Review: Caliban's War". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  22. ^ Kelly, James. "The Expanse, Book 2: Caliban's War Review". Wired.com. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  23. ^ "Abaddon's Gate: The Expanse, Book Three". 8 April 2013. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  24. ^ "Cibola Burn: The Expanse, Book Four". 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  25. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda. "Syfy Gives Straight-to-Series Greenlight to 'The Expanse'". tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  26. ^ "Official game page". Wizkids.com. 
  27. ^ "Wizkids Board Game Based on The Expanse to Arrive this Summer". Wizkids.com. 
  28. ^ "The Expanse Board Game". Boardgamegeek. 

External links[edit]