SF/F Read Alongs: Abaddon’s Gate, Part 1

The Expanse Read Along continues rolling on! Like we could stop now if we tried…

This week sees a certain situation with Holden become a little clearer, while elsewhere some very deeply philosophical questions are raised – and vengeance is being plotted…

Today we’re covering the prologue up to and including chapter 12, with questions from me! Spoiler alert.


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This time around the prologue shows us what became of The Thing That Abandoned Venus. Any ideas about what the purpose of the Ring might be?

Oooh boy. Here’s where we get philosophical, innit?

I mean, we know (or we can assume) that it’s there to create a gate between ‘here’ and ‘somewhere else’ – but what I’m wondering is whether it’s been set up to let things/people from this universe go through it, or if it’s there to let something else come through from the other side, wherever that is. I suspect it might be the latter – let’s not forget that the protomolecule came here from somewhere else, but that (presumably?) it traveled a great distance and took a long time to do it. What if the gate is there to shorten the journey for whatever might be surviving, back where it came from?

On the other hand, it could be waiting until it’s evolved enough (strong enough) to return to where it came from and fix whatever damage it left behind.

Both of those possibilities, though, raise the question of what might be the best way for us humans to handle the situation. Do we react fast, or do we tread with caution…? (There may in fact be an obvious and rather cynical answer here…)


New book means new characters! Do any of these newcomers stand out to you at this point? If so, who and why?

I find them all interesting, in the sense that I’m wondering how their stories are going to fold together, both as a new ‘chapter’ in the broader arc and into that broader arc itself. I like that a story as naturally expansive (heh) as this isn’t just sticking with the same faces, names and experiences as it began with.

On that note, I’m probably most fascinated by Melba Koh, née Clarissa Mao. Not so much because I like her – I don’t – but I certainly appreciate that she represents, in a way, the consequences of what happened to her father. Julie might have chosen to walk away from her family and everything they stood for, but apparently ‘Melba’ did the opposite, and now she’s very very upset with Holden…

Ordinarily I might bounce right off of any character arc that’s based on a ‘spoiled little rich girl’ type, but on the other hand I usually appreciate a flawed and potentially deadly enemy – and in Melba we’ve got another example of a very interesting female character with agency. If we have to do without Avasarala and/or Bobbie in this book, as it appears we do, then what I need is another woman capable of filling those shoes. And they’re pretty big shoes to fill, so I’ll be keeping an eye on this one!


It looks like bureaucracy is finally catching up to the Rocinante crew. Do you think they’ll actually lose the ship?

A threat hanging over the crew that they can’t simply point an armed Amos at is probably exactly what the story needed, in order to avoid the sort of formulaic story repetition I’ve noted before in regards to these books. So I definitely appreciate this twist, even if I have no idea what’s going to come next! I mean, a ship is just a ship, and they can always find another – if they survive – but … the Roci isn’t just any ship, is she? Surely they can’t take the Rocinante away…?

Can they?!


And another thing…



OK, so perhaps Holden isn’t merely losing his mind, and some fragment of whatever’s left of Miller is actually trying to communicate with him. Part of me is facepalming because of course he wouldn’t just show up and make perfect sense (this IS an epic space opera, after all, and that would cut some things quite short…). Another part of me is delighted at having a puzzle to put together and answers to work out.

Miller IS obviously trying to tell him something, but is incapable of holding himself together enough to get straight to the point. So the question now is, will Holden be able to work out what he wants, and if so will he be able to do anything about it? Especially given that Martian bureaucracy is being a pain in his rear end – oh yeah, and the disgraced daughter of his old enemy is out to destroy him.

Nothing worth doing is easy, right? Jeez.


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