It’s been a long time since I read sci-fi this good. When I started Leviathan Wakes, I hadn’t seen any episodes of The Expanse and had no idea what to expect beyond semi-grounded sci-fi. James S. A. Corey (way too many initials) builds an incredible world centered around a humanity that has managed to reach into our solar system, but no further. As far as space travel sci-fi is concerned, Leviathan Wakes is conservative, and it makes the book feel more realistic, grounded, and believable throughout.
Corey’s world is easily the best part of this book, and that’s saying something, because there are a lot of bright spots. The culture he developed around Belters (people born in settlements outside of atmosphere), Earthers and Martians is unique and memorable. One of the real showstoppers is Corey’s description of space travel and the associated hazards. The way he describes G-force and sudden maneuvering in space is something I will never forget, and thoroughly reinforces my opinion of: ‘fuck space’. There are no monster-based chess games being played during high speed travel in this world. Instead, the crew are strapped into crash couches and injected with a potent cocktail of drugs to keep them alive.
Terrifying descriptions of space travel aside, Leviathan Wakes also sports a cast of memorable characters from the hero-driven Captain Holden, to the suicidal, asshole detective, Miller. While a few characters do feel like they’re cut from the same prototypical alpha male cloth, the interactions are still entertaining and their personalities are distinct. There were more than a few times when I found myself thinking about actions these people had taken after I put the book down, and they’ll be etched in my memory for a while.
This is one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read in recent memory, and I can’t wait to burn through the rest of the series. For those looking sci-fi in a grounded (well, spaced) setting, this is an absolute must read. Corey’s world is fascinating and makes every detail rewarding to diligent readers. On a side note, I’ve started watching the first season of The Expanse on Amazon Prime, and recommend that as well!
Honorable Mention: I didn’t have room to talk about space Mormons, but Corey has an amazing description of what future Mormons are doing, so read it for that if nothing else.
Alright, I don’t write sci-fi that is going to stick around for generations, but I do have a book series about a drunken monster-hunter traipsing through the Himalayas in search of a yeti. The sequel is coming out very soon, so it’s time to catch up! Here’s what some people think:
Kirkus – An often engaging, if sometimes-clichéd, tale with an acerbic lead.
John C. – An excellent drunken romp up and down “Not Everest”, complete with hunters and monsters galore.
Nathan – As the debut novel from a new author, Whiteout was a solid introduction. Readers will find that this will be the first in a series that (hopefully) runs several installments.