The Expanse [W/S edition]

spoilers [potentially] ahoy...

…so…given that I’m personally at the point of having read the books up to (& in fact a bit beyond) the point that the TV show ended…& have seen the show to its conclusion…but haven’t read all of the books to the very end…I’m going to suggest that maybe we treat spoilers for the events up to the end of the TV show as fair game…& that that goes for events in the books that cover the same time frame because if you want to talk about how the one differs from the other it might be hard to do otherwise…but maybe try to be careful to make it clear if you’re going to bring book stuff into things in case anyone has plans to read those the way I do the latter ones?

…& see how that goes…&/or works?



  1. …so…who’s the bigger asshole…marcos inaros or jules-pierre mao?

    • im going with marcos….mostly coz jules is just what i expect from a rich ceo

      marcos is a mean spirited petty narcicist…..i dislike him more

      • …I think it’s sort of a tough call myself…they both seem to have been about equally shitty parents to their children…but one nearly wiped out humanity trying to tinker with protomolecule because he thought he was the cleverest guy in the room the universe…& the other nearly wiped out humanity by wrecking the earth with ballistic rocks…which given that the earth biosphere still produced the bulk of the food & water for people everywhere potentially created enough of a resource deficit to tip the belt/outer planets/mars/everyone & everything over into the realm of cascade failure armageddon

        …but arguably marco is the smaller man in that his delusions of grandeur are ultimately petty compared to mao’s level of hubris

        …hard to say who killed the most people so I might lean towards mao being the bigger asshole…but I’m not sure?

    • I agree with @Farscythe. The constant casual cruelties and ability to hurt/maim/kill/fuck with people who ostensibly are your crew, friends, and/or compatriots in revolution shoot Marco into the lead. It takes a different kind of evil to be so personally involved.

    • I think they are a singular asshole of equals – they’re both narcissists that think they know what’s best for their tribe and in turn everyone else. They kill people in the name of progress and yes – forward momentum is ultimately good for the whole but not for the people that were sacrificed. It’s been going on since the beginning of humans – but they’re still assholes.

      Also, I didn’t like Fillip in the show. I get that he was conflicted but I can’t get past that he just shot his best friend. I think I was expecting more good to come out of him since he’s Naomi’s son. I know that’s not how parenting works, and maybe his story arc was genius, but I didn’t  like it.

      Disclaimer : I have only read the first book, but I’ve watched the whole series.

      • his arc is somewhat different in the books….but as you havent got there yet ill leave it at that

    • I’d vote J-P Mao.

      Marcos Inaros is a product of structural inequality which borders on slavery. Audre Lorde summed it up best “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”. There is no way for the Belters to peacefully or legitimately seize equality from the Inners. Proof being that in the end it took Holden to transfer his new found power to Drummer. While both Mao and Inaros are narsissitic leaders willing to sacrifice everyone including family for their goals. Mao is a man of privilege and therefore had infinite options on which to focus his power.

      (I must admit I don’t remember Mao’s plot as clearly anymore so please let me know if I’m off the mark)

      • …I think mao started out thinking that he could use the protomolecule to reverse-engineer his way to being the guy who cornered not so much the market as the whole interstellar civilisation in a sort of de facto emperor kind of a style…while telling himself it was all for the greater good…but then finds out the potential downside includes not only being personally responsible for the deaths of children up to & including his own but also potentially wiping out humanity…& doesn’t change course

        …& as you say, he’s basically doing pretty great under the status quo when things kick off…whereas marcos might be an asshole but is legitimately an oppressed asshole who ultimately is more interested in trying to fuck shit up for the people he holds responsible for a status quo that he’s not wrong to find intolerable than he seems to be in materially improving that status quo for the people whose mandate he lays claim to

        …I think the part that has me going around on which is the bigger asshole is that in some ways it’s mao (already priviliged asshole seeks surplus wealth/power/influence using the greater good as a fig leaf & nearly murders mankind) but in some ways it’s marco (suborns a worthy cause in service of largely personal and arguably petty vendettas while functionally making everything worse for everyone but definitely for the people he claimed to be trying to make things better for…& also comes close to pushing the human population both on & off-world below the point of no return & into extinction)…they’d both be the scorpion in the story with the frog…but in a sense mao doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not?

        • This: “suborns a worthy cause in service of largely personal and arguably petty vendettas while functionally making everything worse for everyone but definitely for the people he claimed to be trying to make things better for…& also comes close to pushing the human population both on & off-world below the point of no return & into extinction.” His constant betrayal of belters because he lacks even a modicum of ability to put his people first, yet allows them to believe he is their hero…when their oppression and misery are so pervasive and endemic to their life condition…that feels like a higher level of sin to me.

  2. This is all very confusing but I have a SPOILER ALERT:



    My namesake did not exist in real life, he was a soap opera character.

    Closer to home, our new Mayor, Eric “Swagger” Adams has proven to be a departure from his predecessor, the Hermit of Gracie Mansion, Bill de Blasio. As I predicted, Adams is the second coming of Mayor Ed Koch, seemingly everywhere under all kinds of conditions:

    How did you make out in the winter storm/bomb cyclone/Kenan, if you experienced it? Housebound, I was going to spend the day stewing (stewing pasta sauces, not personally, and saving for later) but I decided to give the storm the middle finger and made a summery cookout. I made a big batch of potato salad and stovetop-grilled some hamburgers and hot dogs. I went somewhat keto by necessity since I didn’t have buns, so I served these on lettuce with sides of salted and lightly garlicked tomatoes (highly recommend) and the meat from a couple of avocados that had seen better days. I also shaved some good NY State cheddar over the hamburgers and hot dogs, and then diced our last onion and topped them with that. The last thing I remember from this dinner was, “There’s some more Malbec…”

    Speaking of saving things for later:

    • …it is confusing…& may in fact not be a very clever idea…or just not the right way to go about it

      …but (in a theory that may currently only exist in my head) this (& the non-spoiler version) would be actual “the expanse” threads…so not Open Threads like the DOT or the NOT ones…which might be a more natural fit for the bulk of your comment?

      …again, this is only in theory & I’m largely making it up as I go…but that was how I tagged the categories for the two expanse threads…so I guess I hadn’t considered what one might reasonably expect to do with spoilers about something other than the expanse in the context of this thread

      …which is clearly a grievous oversight on my part

      • Oh, sorry, I’ve never seen “Expanse” and have no idea what it is. I thought it was a more general “SPOILER ALERT” DOT post. This must be why the NY Times has not gotten back to me about being their media critic.

        • …I did at some point add a comment on the non-spoilered version with a(n extremely) rough suggestion of what the expanse might be when it’s at home…on the clearly laughable basis that the lack of spoilers might make it more likely that folks who didn’t know what it was about might be more inclined to dip a toe in those waters

          …why it didn’t seem as obvious as it does in hindsight that some would exhibit a marked absence of fear where spoilers might be concerned is clearly one of those imponderable questions the answer to which will be lost to the mists of time

        • I’ve never watched this show either, I was just a nosy b and wanted to see what everyone was saying about it here.

  3. I would love to know the Chrisjen character IRL. I admire here brains, pragmatism, leadership, ability to continue to grow, self-awareness, attempts to have a family and career, willingness to look forward to the future, and her beauty that is age appropriate. I would wish to be her when I  grow up.

    • i admire her creative swearing in the books….lol

      i like her…but she would piss me off no end in person….probably on purpose

    • She is so strong, graceful and unflinching. I am unworthy of ever meeting her. If introduced to her, I would probably be unable to make eye contact and mumble a hello before running away and tripping over my own inadequacies.

      I wish she were our president for life.

  4. Team Amos, we all need a protective scary friend in our corners. Also, I grew weary of the Naomi angst and whine. While respecting her backstory and personal travails, I wanted to tell her to suck it up and move on (as if that sentiment doesn’t reflect my upbringing).

    • Team Amos all the way. I was hoping for a little more of him.

      I’m glad Drummer made it till the end. I hope she had a good arc in the books.

      • drummer did allright for herself in the books…tho half her arc in the series is actually someone elses arc….they mushed her together with bull..who does not feature in the series

        both are badasses…lol

      • Drummer was another favorite. But I believe that she was a combination of multiple characters from the book series. I haven’t started the books yet.

        Edited: What Farscythe said.

        • little bit of sam the mechanics arc in there too….she fixes boo boos on ships

          (her words not mine)

    • I couldn’t stand Naomi. And I wonder if it stems from internalized sexist views that I haven’t been able to counter program. She came off as whiny to me too.

    • …I think there’s an extent to which the naomi character sort of “works” differently in the books…you kind of know in general that everyone on the canterbury has something in their past they wish they didn’t…& without which they might not have ended up there…but for a long stretch in terms of page count she’s firmly in the “good guys” column before her past comes up to complicate the context

      …I think in both she suffers from being the belter flip-side to the sometimes-unrealistically-optimistic holden’s character represents which is a much clunkier bit of shorthand in the context of a TV show than it seemed like across a string of books

      …whereas amos is basically exactly as awesome in both because wes chatham knocked that out of the proverbial park…but also maybe at least a bit because the things that character was “for” didn’t require the sort of stuff that could seem a little pat/contrived in the books or heavy-handed/repetitive on screen in the case of naomi

      …I’m not sure I’ve quite managed to describe the difference I have in mind…but for her to not only be ridden with guilt over abandoning a child to an essentially abusive ex…but also have that ex be responsible for using code she’d written to kill a bunch of people in a terrorist kind of a way so she’s also got those deaths on her conscience…which I think (iirc) is also the code that forms the basis of what fucks up the canterbury at the beginning for an extra recursive loop of guilt…& then have the abusive ex levelled-up into the guy trying to murder earth & possibly break everything & kill everyone trying to gaslight the universe into a delusional version of a glorious future…with her kid along for the ride…so that in almost every narratively significant scenario all the big-picture stakes are inevitably juxtaposed against personal stakes that produce incompatible results to any calculus about “the right thing to do”

      …which means in the show it comes up a lot…in a comparatively compressed amount of time compared to the books…so it becomes in a sense “more” of the character, if that makes sense?

      …like…I tended to think of naomi as fundamentally this unbelievably resilient super competent & frighteningly smart lady who could do thing like figure out the parameters that let you predict when transiting a ring gate would get a ship eaten…but who also manages to dive out of an airlock with no suit to get onto a ship that’s basically a bomb & jury rig shit to not only survive but stop it blowing up or killing all her friends even when she can’t talk to them & has to do it all on her own & partially without the benefit of an atmosphere or a reliable oxygen supply…because in the books those sorts of things about her were more to the fore & the angst stuff was kind of fed out slowly over time

      …but in the show I think if you figured out what proportion of her time onscreen involved conveying or connecting to the angstier elements of the character it felt like it could have wound up being the majority…& some of that super smart/competent stuff maybe didn’t land as effectively?

      …at the risk of making it less clear rather than more…it’s sort of like the difference in the way some of the fights between ships get portrayed…the ones in the show pretty much all looked great…but sometimes a lot of stuff happened really fast…& when those sequences are words on a page you have more time to run through the elements of that sequence so you can explain what’s happening when & what makes something particularly clever or threatening or foolhardy…but unless you could pause, re-wind & run those bits in slow motion you can’t really replicate that onscreen…& even then you’d potentially need to bog the whole thing down with a chunk of exposition for some of it just when you’re trying to have a high-speed high octane sequence that’s going to make a dent in the effects budget…so I can’t really fault them on the way they did that stuff…but there’s things about both approaches that I like even if I know both versions can’t work in necessarily the same ways?

      • I can be converted into being less annoyed by Naomi based on your further explanation. As my understanding is television-only, I failed to understand the nuance and breadth of her character.

        • …I think that’s fair enough, though – you can only work with what’s there & in the show a much bigger proportion of what’s front & center is her being conflicted & angst ridden & a lot of the smart/competent thing is sort of lost because she’s “the one that does that stuff”…like amos will fuck shit up on demand but is also the mechanic who fixes the ship…holden is the one who someone has events pivot around his attempts at earnest idealism…alex flies stuff & unruffles feathers…naomi knows things about the belt/space & figures shit out…when you’re sort of used to those roles being distributed around a crew it kind of relegates those attributes to the background & pulls the focus to the stuff that you weren’t a fan of…& for some people that might have held true in the books…but for me I think the background/foreground effect was reversed in terms of those aspects of her character in those

  5. Anyone else super into the Amos/Chrisjen “Chrissy” flirty banter? Does it happen in the books? I want moaar!

    • …I don’t know if it’s framed in exactly the same way…but I think it sort of was there in the books, too

      …it’s kind of clear that amos hitting on her would be inappropriate…but she has a tendency to be somewhat inappropriate and almost always indelicate…which is generally pretty one-sided because she has a lot of power & influence & not a lot of people talk back to her…& amos likes to buck a trend…maybe for his own amusement but I think also to try & feel out a little what people are like when there’s a bit of pushback

      …so amos does say & do certain things to sort of antagonize her…like calling her “chrissy” & being blunt & not bowing or scraping…which is sort of something that over time becomes a kind of mutual respect/perverse endearment routine…but either I don’t remember it well enough or it landed further into flirting territory on screen?

      • I took it as a genuine appreciation for the other person. One that grew over time and showed them both in such a positive light, as their unlikely friendship or at least respectful acquaintance is built on who they are without kowtowing to power or sexual dynamics. Also she is my new girl crush and can have any man she wants whatever the age difference because she is awesome.

    • it does happen in the books…but not much more than it does in the series


  6. So this was the end of the series right? Pretty shitty way to end things. Way too much stuff left unresolved.

    • …so…it might be the last of the TV show…which would leave a ton of stuff unresolved onscreen…but it’s at least possible it might turn out to be the end of this version of the expanse on TV…& in some senses at least I can see why they might have picked the point they did to end on

      …it turns out that in the books there’s a point where the timeframe of the main narrative leaps several decades into what from the show’s perspective would be the future…& that’s kind of a tough sell when it comes to what things…or more pressingly, people…might look like in a potential next episode?

      …I think there’s at least been some talk about maybe getting something in the works that would hive off to get into the extremely open-ended stuff about laconia…which I can’t say I’ve read enough to claim gets resolved…but can vouch for definitely going some places

      …but there are a lot of moving parts…so who knows if that’s as much to watch as we’re going to get

      …in terms of narrative arcs they did pretty good with the ones they did find time for…we made it from a missing person & a lone detective through various machinations that ratcheted things up to the stakes being pretty much all of humanity’s marbles…then expanded the playing field to galaxies beyond galaxies & the threat to the thing that killed the thing that just recently almost killed humanity…then shrunk it back to whether humanity might conspire to kill itself off…& ended with marcos kinda following in the footsteps of the dumb kid that tried to beat everyone else in the race to make it through the ring they didn’t know enough about…he ended his ballistic trajectory at a literal dead stop…& marcos had his bid to stamp his control over the ring system become an object lesson on just how badly that kind of thinking misread the situation

      …I’d agree it’s a shitty place to drop the story…but it might also be a moment when the outlook is about as optimistic as it’s been up to that point?

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