If You Haven't Read the Expanse Series, I Suggest You Start Now

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sci-Fi on the scale of the Expanse is a difficult thing to come by. The novel series is currently on its 6th principle novel with the 7th due out later this year. The Syfy channel series based on the novels has just started its second season and is an excellent adaptation. But, as is often the case, the books are really where its at. The Expanse takes hard sci-fi to new places and creates a truly immersive, frightening and exciting view of our possible future. If you haven't read it yet, start soon.

The Expanse takes place in our solar system, a few hundred years from now. Mankind has colonized the solar system. Mars and Earth maintain separate governments with Earth run by the UN and Mars the Martian Congressional Republic or MCR for short. Both of them depend heavily on the resources mined in the asteroid belt. The people who live in the belt are called Belters (who could have guessed) and harbor their own grudges against Earth and Mars. Within the belt are a number of loosely affiliated groups that call themselves the Outer Planets Alliance or the OPA. Tensions run high between these three powers. It is within that tension that the principle characters are cast.

I've described the Expanse to some of my friends as Game of Thrones with the well-researched Sci-Fi of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The science in the Expanse is based on real data and concepts being developed by NASA. The things talked about in the series could very well be a part of our future. I think that is one of the things that really drew me to the series in the first place. When I read these books, I feel more grounded in the world the authors have built than I do in other novels, even those of excellent authors like Jack McDevitt or Neal Asher.

What's more, the two authors have a very organized release schedule for the books and an approach to their writing that I really admire. In a recent Reddit AMA, the authors, Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham said that not only have they known the ending of the story since they began writing, but they've always known the series would be nine books long. The story is told through a third-person perspective, and each chapter moves to one of a few different principle characters. The two authors each write chapters for specific characters and meet weekly to discuss the work they've done and swap completed chapters for editing. With this system, they have been able to publish one book each year since 2011's Leviathan Wakes.

Go pick up a copy of Leviathan Wakes. It's inexpensive and an enthralling read. It is so rare to find a series this well written and envisioned, let alone one with such a reliable publishing schedule. With six books already released, there is plenty to tide you over until the seventh comes out later this year.