Reviews: Corey, James S. A.

The Wish I Wish Tonight

Nemesis Games — James S. A. Corey
The Expanse, book 5

2015’s Nemesis Games is the fifth volume in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series.

Back in the Solar System after dealing with an extrasolar diplomatic crisis, James Holden bows to the inevitable. His much battered ship Rocinante is in desperate need of repairs. With Rocinante in dry dock, what better time to give his loyal crew shore leave?

Holden is ignoring the first rule of adventuring: never split the party1.

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Some Men Fight For Silver And Some Men Fight For Gold

Cibola Burn — James S. A. Corey
Expanse, book 4

2014’s Cibola Burn is the fourth volume in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series1.

The Ring Builder’s protomolecule creates death and damage — just ask the unfortunates on Eros — but it also grants opportunities. Humanity has lost one major asteroid city; it has been forced to share the solar system with a vast, powerful alien artifact that regards humans as potentially useful raw materials. On the plus side, thanks to the protomolecule humanity now has access to the Ring Builder wormhole network and a thousand life-bearing worlds.

With potential living space expanded a thousandfold, one might expect it would take centuries before groups began squabbling over territory. Ha ha. It takes about a year.

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Eye For Eye

Abaddon’s Gate — James S. A. Corey
The Expanse, book 3

2013’s Abaddon’s Gate is the third volume in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series1.

Perennial pain-in-the-ass James Holden, the man whose steadfast embrace of principle helped kick off an interplanetary war, is confronted with the consequences of his actions in the form of a lawsuit. While Holden claims ownership of the spacecraft Rocinante, the means by which he obtained it were somewhat irregular. Now the space navy from whom he commandeered the vessel would like their spacecraft back.

When opportunity offers Holden a convenient escape from the lawsuit in the form of an assignment in the outer solar system, where the vast, enigmatic alien Ring orbits, he accepts it. The timing is not as coincidental as it appears and Holden should have been far more cautious.

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I’ll Take Thee Away

Caliban’s War — James S. A. Corey
Expanse, book 2

2012’s Caliban’s War is the second book in James S. A. Corey’s ongoing Expanse series.

Fresh off playing a central role in the intensification of the ongoing Earth-Mars rivalry (from cold war to the brink of the real thing), James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante now work for the Outer Planets Alliance. Their job: tracking down and dealing with pirates eager to take advantage of the current chaos. It’s a grim job but at least Holden and his people can be sure the alien protomolecule — a super-powerful nanotech able to reshape living things according to inscrutable and ancient protocols — is safely confined on Venus and will never bother humanity again.

It bothers humanity again.

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The Girl in the Seven Trillion Tonne Refrigerator

Leviathan Wakes — James S. A. Corey
Expanse, book 1

I remember 2011’s Leviathan Wakes, the first book in the currently ongoing Expanse series by pseudonymous author James S. A. Corey, as a welcome breath of fresh air and a refreshingly upbeat novel. (I will return to the “upbeat” thing later.)

While Jim Holden’s job is suitably SFnal, the XO of the interplanetary ice transport vessel Canterbury, Detective Miller languishes in a far more mundane position, as a cop on the beat in Ceres. He’s that detective on the force with whom nobody wants to partner. This is not because he’s the kinda can-do guy who doesn’t let the rules get in way of justice, but because he’s long past his best days. He’s on the fast-track to career oblivion and obscurity.

Then Miller is handed the seemingly low-priority job of finding the vanished heiress and political idealist, Julie Mao. It is a case that will ensure that everyone in the Solar System knows Detective Miller.


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