Today’s science fiction blockbuster combines elements of noir mystery and touches of horror.
“An Unapologetic Embrace of Sentiment”, a Publishers Weekly interview with the authors of Leviathan Wakes (James S. Corey is a pseudonym for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) addresses their method of working together.
This is the second book by Daniel Abraham reviewed on this blog in 2011. The first was The Dragon’s Path (also published by Orbit), reviewed in June and the subject of a post from guest blogger Karyn Silverman about series fantasy. Both books are on Amazon’s Best of 2011 So Far science fiction & fantasy list. (As is Jo Walton’s Among Others – can’t resist a chance to remind you of one of my personal very favorites of the year, can I?)
COREY, James S. A. Leviathan Wakes: Book One of The Expanse. 582p. Orbit. 2011. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-316-12908-4. LC 2010046442.
Adult/High School–Responding to a distress signal from the outskirts of the solar system, Captain Holden and his crew discover the Scopuli, an abandoned ship whose fate turns out to have galactic repercussions. Meanwhile in the Asteroid Belt, Miller, a washed up detective who grew up on Ceres, is searching for Julie Mao, who readers know was on the crew of the Scopuli. Corey–the pseudonym of two compatriots of George R. R. Martin–takes Martin’s fantasy style into science fiction, intricately layering politics, weighty themes, and small-scale human themes into a seamless whole. The most important theme is embodied in the differences between the two protagonists and couldn’t be more timely: should information be open (Holden) or hidden (Miller). The ideological division between the two is overly schematic, but Corey redeems it in large part by giving a completely sympathetic airing of each man’s views. And since this is a science fiction epic, the debate is much more than academic, as the decisions Miller and Holden make help to create and possibly diffuse a war between Earth, Mars, and Belters. No matter which character readers think is right, however, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Miller is the real hero of the novel, the most interesting aspect of which is the escalating mystery, starting with Julie’s disappearance and eventually leading to the horrifying true motivations behind the war. For teens with any tolerance for large-scale science fiction, this novel should not be missed.– Mark Flowers, John Kennedy Library, Solano County, CA