In the first part of Persepolis Rising, the series makes another of its dramatic key changes, while taking us further forward than ever before. I WAS NOT PREPARED TO FEEL THESE FEELINGS.
It’s back! Our adventures at SF/F Read Alongs are continuing with a return to The Expanse. The schedule is here, though may still be subject to some change at this point – Sarah has had to bow out of this one, but imyril and I are taking up the hosting duties. We’re ready to go! So without further ado…
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
How do you feel about jumping forward 30 years? …and about where/how we find the Solar system and the Rocinante’s crew?
Yeah, the crew. You know how I was just yelling about how I wasn’t ready and my feelings weren’t ready? THIS IS WHY. Well, partly why. But I’ll get to the other part. For now, let’s talk about coming back to the Rocinante and her crew and finding both the ship and those who live on it getting older. Because, obviously, this is going to happen. This series is playing one heck of a long game, all things considered, and you simply can’t do that without letting time go by. But a 30-year leap between one book and the next?!
Now, given how we left things at the end of Babylon’s Ashes, there was a lot of aftermath to process and, presumably, so much story still to tell that getting mired in the minutiae of it all would only get in the way. Which I can absolutely forgive! But … EVERYBODY GOT OLDER WHEN WE WEREN’T LOOKING. Nobody is quite the same. And yet … They’re all still the people, the crew, that we know and love. My heart strings. Corey plucks them.
The new political landscape of the Solar system, too, has had time to settle into some semblance of a working order. Earth is starting to recover. Nothing’s perfect, by any stretch of the definition, but the disaster that was so narrowly avoided is now pretty firmly in the proverbial rearview mirror, in terms of time if nothing else. And time can heal even’s Earth’s worst wounds, it seems. Which is great! But in terms of the political situation, the same rule applies. The passage of time means change, and it also (inevitably) means a changing of the guard. The absence of Avasarala feels like a ghost haunting this book already, though if she has in fact passed on since Babylon’s Ashes, as I’m tentatively assuming right now, then I’m torn between seeing the lack of any mention of her as oversight, or as an eloquent sort of empty space that speaks for itself…
Either way, if she’s not around anymore, then I’m saddened by that, even while I’m curious to see who’s filling her shoes, and how well…
…and what are your first impressions of Laconia?
… *Looks at the USA* There’s something… *Looks hard at the USA* I can’t quite… *Staaaaares at the USA* Put my finger on it…
Political tyrants, space-faring militant equivalents of one-percenters, nurturing insular attitudes and prioritising their own greed and self-interest to the point of actively destroying any and all potential opposition no matter the destructive cost? Noooo. Doesn’t feel familiar at all.
*Side-eyes the UK pretty hard while she’s at it*
Did you see Holden’s actions coming? Do you think he’ll stick with his decision now the circumstances have changed?
NO. NO, I DID NOT. But it makes a bittersweet sort of sense, and plays well into the idea you mentioned, of how ‘the more things change…’ because I’ll be honest, I don’t see Holden and Naomi simply bowing out into peaceful retirement while fresh hell is breaking loose with their crew, their family, caught up right in the middle of it all. Whether or not they’ll backtrack to where they were, with Holden becoming Captain Holden again, I’m not so sure. I don’t think any kind of narrative step backward would be a good call at this point, considering how far we’ve come already in this book. But there’s got to be room to keep Holden and Naomi in this fight without undoing what’s been done – at least, not too much. Right? Personally I really want to see what Bobbie can bring to the table as Captain Draper!
How do you think Drummer will react to the Laconian ultimatum? What about the Earth/Martian Alliance and the colony planets?
This is an interesting question regarding Drummer, because honestly? I don’t know! She isn’t Fred Johnson. She’s definitely not Avasarala. Drummer is bringing her own skills, experience and personality into this, and while we’ve encountered her before, it’s a situation that’s entirely new to us as readers, and I can’t say with any sort of certainty what I think Drummer will do or how successful she’ll be, and that’s precisely what fascinates me about the way we’ve opened this story up. She’s a familiar face, but to me at this particular point, that’s more or less all she is. But I’m absolutely here for seeing what she can do! I’m excited by it.
As for the colonies and the Earth/Martian alliance … Again, it’s difficult to say what will happen. People can join or die, and a lot of people will probably do both, let’s face it. There’s going to be a lot of storm before we see any more calm, is pretty much my only take at this point…