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!Continue reading...
I can’t help but wonder if the writers of Babylon 5 saw the MST3K riff of Laserblast before writing Infection…
Yesterday was the 45 anniversary of one my absolute favourite Pink Floyd albums: Animals. Much is made Gilmour’s virtuosity on the album but Waters’ writing is brilliant here, and would presage many great concept albums to come!
I never would’ve guessed how much pomelo would grow on me…
Happy birthday 10th, Bridgy! If you’re reading this on Twitter, that’s because of this wonderful project. Thank you so much, Ryan, and everyone who’s contributed!
My favourite Slack anti-pattern:
Person: Hey, do you have a minute for a quick call?
[15 minutes goes by]
Me: Okay, well, I need to go do something else now, but I’ll be available in 20 minutes.
Person: [attempts to call immediately]
[20 minutes goes by]
Me: Alright, I’m free again.
[10 minutes goes by]
Person: Too late, I’m busy.
A beautiful letter from father to son before the son shipped out to World War 2. Amazing how these words from 80 years ago carry so much wisdom that we can use today.
The ninth and final post in my Blogging for the Holidays project. Just a little wrap-up post to tie a bow around the whole thing.
Well, it’s hard to believe but my two weeks of vacation are coming to a close and tomorrow morning I return to the grind. It says a lot about my mental state before my break that I feel like another two weeks would be welcome, but alas, until I manage to earn myself a sabbatical or, some day, retirement, I suppose this will have to do.
As for this blogging project, I’m really glad I set myself this writing goal! For folks who have their own blog but struggle to get motivated to write, this approach–setting a queue of topics over a fixed period of time and then tackling them steadily–was very motivating and rewarding! I definitely recommend it as a fun way to get inspired.
I was particularly happy with how a theme emerged across the various posts. And I felt pretty darn smug when, in the January 1st episode of Slate Money, Stacey-Marie Ishmael, a writer and journalist who’s much smarter and articulate than me, summarized the theme of this blog series: the pandemic is making the invisible visible. I have to admit, when I heard her say that, I felt a rush of validation that maybe I was onto something!
So, where did I end up clocking in? Well, over the course of the last two weeks, counting short posts, I wrote a grand total of approximately 13700 words. Counting only long form posts, roughly 12900 or about 800 words a day. Not bad at all! And I know of at least one person who actually read most of them!1
Anyway, for folks who weren’t following this project as it was being published and want to check it out, here’s a list of the long form posts in the order in which they were written:
- Blogging for the Holidays
- Grappling with Viruses
- Grappling with Statistics
- Revisiting The Lord of the Rings
- Grappling with Misinformation
- Grappling with Supply Chains
- Grappling with Labour Markets
- Grappling with Inflation
- A New Years Post
For those few people who actually stuck it out and read these posts, either as they were written or afterward, thank you! I hope they were interesting and worth the time.
And for those folks who’ve heard me going on about these topics throughout 2021 and still read these posts, a special shout out! You’re a trooper!2
Finally, I hope everyone had a happy holidays in spite of all the difficulties of the past two years, and I truly believe this next year we’ll see things start to get better.
Have a fantastic 2022!
It’s a new year, my break is almost over, but there’s time for one more Blogging for the Holidays post before I do a wrap-up. Warning: this one is pretty haphazard.
I honestly have no specific ideas for what I’m going to cover in this post, but I figured as I rambled some sort of theme would present itself. Of course, that turns out to have only been marginally true, so what you’re about to experience is a disorganized set of milestones from the year that I thought up as I as writing this thing. But I thought it would be good to have something to wrap up my thoughts for the year so that I can look back and remember how I was seeing things before I took the plunge into 2022.
This will be followed up, tomorrow, with my Blogging for the Holidays wrap-up post where I’ll include links to the posts in the series, along with some closing word salad to finish things up.
Alright, so, speaking of word salad…Continue reading...
Watched Idiocracy and Don’t Look Up as our New Years double feature. Folks weren’t kidding! Don’t Look Up is like Veep: supposed to be satire but just a little too real…
I periodically go through a caffeine fast to reset my coffee consumption. It’s worth it every time but man… the week of withdrawal symptoms is not a good time!
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.Continue reading...
1 of 78