2 July 2013

HSB: A Review of Abaddon`s Gate, James S. A. Corey

The day has arrived that I am able to discuss Abaddon's Gate, the final book (but guess what it's not the final book!) ending (nope, not ending) the Expanse Series that I so absolutely, holy shit balls (HSB) level, love.

Where does one start to being objective when truly all I want to be is a giddy psycho, yelling gibberish on a soap box about reading this series?  I guess at the beginning:  space opera.  As you are well aware, the operatic nuances of space is a sub-genre I cannot get enough of.  Keep it relatively light, keep it moving and keep it within the vacuum of SPACE and I am all yours.  Even though I have a low tolerance for violence, I still can look beyond gore as long as it is reflective to the plot.  Or do I? as I seem to be the only geek on the planet not singing the tune to fire and ice..  For the sweet crap guys, is there enough blood...you sick bastards....where was I?

Let me not mislead you, The Expanse is not void of violence.  In Caliban`s War, book two, Venus becomes sentient making it`s life mission to turn the human race into vomit zombies.  Abaddon`s Gate's tendency to violence is more intimate as the authors remove the presences of the alien-esque quality to the horrors, bringing them into the arena of humanity pitted against itself.  There is something quite frightening to admit that the true horror in the universe is our inaccurate perception of reality and the resultant violence we inflict on ourselves.    Not diminishing the fact that what was so friggin scary in one and two ends up being even more ridiculously scary.
What the crap is going on?

Abaddon`s Gate moves in a direction that at the half way point felt removed from the series.  The first two books effectively portray a solar system stretched to its limits.  Humanity has been broken down into three groups:  Belters, Martians and Earthers.  The gravity you grew up in, defines you, profiling you.  We (humanity) continue in this future of the Expanse to create hate based on nuances of differences.   A bleak perspective but in my estimation, a pretty accurate one.  It is nice to hope that the Start Trek universe of equality (accept for those no good Romulans and Q, what the hell is up with Q) is the direction we are moving towards.  There tends to be this Disney Land perspective of the future that a lot of main stream SF speaks to.  While nice, and by nice I do not mean nice, this is not the SF that holds my interest and keeps me so loyal to the genre.   I want grit, I want emotions, I want a reality that sings to the complexity of putting people into the reaches of space, expecting them to live in environmentally-controlled ships and hulled out satellites, where one small mistake results in annihilation .  I want a future that holds to the essence of who we are while moving us further from our home, Earth.  
A-holes

This is why I HSB love The Expanse. The characters start out archetypal, then move beyond those confines into real people who want to be loved, to be surrounded by friends and not be turned into vomit zombies.  Hey, don`t we all want to avoid the vomit zombie thing when it comes down to it? Can`t we love one another based on avoiding that fate? Abaddon`s Gate reveals that no we actually can`t, and as a result, royally screwing our chances of survival to one out three vomit zombies. 

But how does Abaddon`s Gate fair in comparison to the other two in the series:  Leviathan Wakes, Caliban`s War? As I alluded to, and then effectively went rogue from, it at first does not fit and then as you reach the conclusion, realizing that there is no conclusion, just more choices to make, Abaddon`s Gate is the perfect ending to a sweet ass space opera.   Similar to the final book in the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay, the series ends with the personal long lasting damage of war and the effects misguided hate mixed with misunderstanding can do.  Abaddon`s Gate does not fly like Leviathan Wakes, nor captures the political drama of the solar system of Calaban`s War, instead it brings the stories home to our doorsteps.  It makes the alien quality of the protomolecule a stage to humanities inability to work as one, focusing it all through the eyes of the four crew members, a dead detective, a security chief and a preacher, named Ann.  It is the most violent of the three, holding the least amount of hope while continuing to glory in the goodness of humanity.

  It is straight up HSB good.