Last week I finally got caught up on the second season of James S A Corey’s The Expanse, and I have to say that I really want to profess my undying love for this show. It’s easily as engaging as the books, and considerably more approachable. By that, I mean that while my wife would very probably not read the books, she loves the show. The show is a little dense (read a bit heavy) and quite realistic, just like the books, but it is a bit lighter and more digestible. However, there have been a couple instances where, in my excitement, I had to pause the show to explain a tiny bit of background on something that was covered in the books. So far, the wife has not complained. I think she finds my enthusiasm amusing.
In 2014, when I’d heard they were doing a TV series based on the books, I decided to get around to reading them. I saw ads and reviews all over the place for Leviathan Wakes, Caliban’s War, and Cibola Burn. Finally, sometime late in that year, I jumped in feet first with the first four novels in the series and enjoyed every word. I haven’t had a chance to dig into the two most recent novels, mostly because of my rereading of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. (Not to mention, I didn’t even know there were three novellas connected to the Expanse books.)
Now, a side note. I use a rather unique app on my phone for reading ebooks. It’s called @Voice Aloud Reader. What I like about @Voice is that it will use the device’s text recognition to read the book out loud to me. Sure, it’s not perfect, far from it since it does not understand context, but it allows me to listen to a book while driving but also actually read it when I am able. It’s a decent/fair compromise.
Anyway… Television and movies never quite match up to the original text, and The Expanse is no different. In fact, I had read an article (sorry, don’t remember where) with an interview with one of the halves of James S A Corey (Corey is actually a pseudonym for two authors, Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank). In the interview, it was said that the story was being restructured a bit to tell the same story but do it from a slightly different perspective that worked better for TV.
One of the biggest differences is how the show takes on a bit more of the character Bobbie Draper’s backstory. In the books, Bobbie doesn’t show up until book 2. She actually shows up at the beginning of season 2 of the show, but it’s still well before her appearance point in the books. This is pretty cool, since it gives us a little more of her before she really gets involved in what’s going on, and we get to see how some of the other things happening are affecting people on the fringes of the story.
Of course, I just finished episode 3 of the second season, and we just were told that Bobbie is headed off to the place where she’ll finally get dragged deeper into the story.
One of my favorite parts of the show, as with the book, is that it’s pretty hard scifi. Corey does a fantastic job of keeping everything as close to as what our future will probably look like as possible without being an actual fortuneteller. Just as an example, this is not Star Wars or Star Trek, there’s no hyperspace or warp. There’s no artificial gravity, Point Defense Cannon rounds cut right through ships because they’re railgun projectiles, and it takes a lot of time to get from place to place. Corey has even done a great job of figuring out the biology of what humans would be like living in lower-than-Earth gravity.
And yet, despite being hard science-oriented fiction, it’s fun and approachable.
My biggest problem with the show really has very little to do with the show itself. Rather, my issue is that it is now ANOTHER great show I have to keep up with. I mean, seriously, people! How the hell am I supposed to write my own stories if I’m always busy reading and watching your stuff?
Whatever. Don’t mind me. I’ll just be off in the corner waiting for episode 4.