• Review: Leviathan Falls

    Review of Leviathan Falls (The Expanse #9.0) by James S. A. Corey (9780316332910)★★★★

    A review of the last book of The Expanse series, which brings to a satisfying close one of the finest sci-fi series I’ve ever read.


    The Laconian Empire has fallen, setting the thirteen hundred solar systems free from the rule of Winston Duarte. But the ancient enemy that killed the gate builders is awake, and the war against our universe has begun again.

    In the dead system of Adro, Elvi Okoye leads a desperate scientific mission to understand what the gate builders were and what destroyed them, even if it means compromising herself and the half-alien children who bear the weight of her investigation. Through the wide-flung systems of humanity, Colonel Aliana Tanaka hunts for Duarte’s missing daughter. . . and the shattered emperor himself. And on the Rocinante, James Holden and his crew struggle to build a future for humanity out of the shards and ruins of all that has come before.

    As nearly unimaginable forces prepare to annihilate all human life, Holden and a group of unlikely allies discover a last, desperate chance to unite all of humanity, with the promise of a vast galactic civilization free from wars, factions, lies, and secrets if they win.

    But the price of victory may be worse than the cost of defeat.

    Disclaimer: This review is coming about a week since I finished this book, and I neglected to take notes right after I was done. So note to my future self, my memories are a bit fuzzier than usual with this one. This is exacerbated by the fact that I chose to re-read Persepolis Rising and Tiamat’s Wrath prior to reading this book, so the narrative has definitely blended together in my head.

    With all that said, to get it out of the way: if you haven’t read The Expanse and you’re at all a science fiction fan, just a quick note that you need to go out and start reading Leviathan Wakes right now! The Expanse is undoubtedly one of the finest hard science fiction series out there (and has been adapted into an utterly fantastic TV series as well). I could go on and one about why I feel that way, but quite frankly, that’s pretty well-trod ground at this point.

    But, after a ten-year-long journey, this incredible series of books and novellas is finally coming to a close.

    Now, full disclosure, I will attempt to avoid major spoilers for this specific book in this review, but it’s going to be tough to avoid that with the previous two books in this trilogy. As a result, if you haven’t read this series at all and think you might, or if haven’t gotten around to reading books seven and eight, then it’s probably best to stop now.

    Alright, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get right into it!

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  • Grappling with Inflation

    The seventh post in my Blogging for the Holidays series, some ramblings about inflation.

    It would be difficult to write a holiday wrap-up blog post series without a mention of inflation, which became the new boogieman in the latter half of 2021 as we’ve seen inflation rising steadily, with the rate in some categories exceeding 7% year over year.

    That inflation is suddenly a problem is really quite remarkable given that 18 months ago everyone was terrified of a depression-level event as a result of mass illness, lockdowns, and so forth. But to the credit of our governments, while a lot of mistakes have been made, it’s pretty clear that many of the policies that were instituted–particularly the various financial aid packages that were put together–have done what, at the outset, would have seemed impossible: turned the threat of economic calamity into the kind of boom we all wished we could’ve seen after the 2008 crash.

    But like so many of the other topics I’ve written about, this is just another example of an issue that, for my generation, is completely novel. The last time inflation exceeded 3% was way back in 1991! Meanwhile, the prime interest rate, which is a key tool for controlling inflation, is at historical lows (thanks 2008!).

    For a generation that has never seen real inflation, this situation is novel, frightening, and deeply frustrating, upending yet another aspect of life that was previously familiar and consistent.

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