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The Churn

(The Expanse #3.5)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  17,002 ratings  ·  1,028 reviews
Before his trip to the stars, before the Rocinante, Amos Burton was confined to a Baltimore where crime paid you or killed you. Unless the authorities got to you first.

Set in the hard-scrabble solar system of Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War, Abaddon's Gate and the upcoming Cibola Burn, The Churn expands the world of James S. A. Corey's acclaimed Expanse series.
Kindle Edition, 112 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Orbit
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Напушен Песнопойни The series is numbered in terms of chronology, but according to the authors, is best experienced in order of publication (main novels in bold):

The series is numbered in terms of chronology, but according to the authors, is best experienced in order of publication (main novels in bold):

Leviathan Wakes (2011)
The Butcher of Anderson Station (2011)
Caliban's War (2012)
Gods of Risk (2012)
Drive (2012)
Abaddon's Gate (2013)
The Churn (2014)
Cibola Burn (2014)
Nemesis Games (2015)
The Vital Abyss (2015)
Babylon's Ashes (2016)(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  17,002 ratings  ·  1,028 reviews

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David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
Book one of The Expanse buddy read with the amazing and wonderful Kayla, the Graceling Accountant! In honor of our Accountant Buddy Read, I have modified my usual "speedy trial" review format and present to you my accounting themed...


For those of you who are lucky enough not to don't work with numbers all day, here is a quick visual aid to help depict what accountants like Kayla and I have to deal with in our work wonder we need to escape into books with word
Amos Burton is the resident bad ass among the crew of the Rocinante who often argues that whatever problem they have at the moment could be solved by a judicious use of gunfire and/or tossing someone out the nearest airlock into space. But Amos isn’t a thug, or rather, he’s not just a thug. He’s repeatedly been shown as a loyal friend and soft-hearted protector of the defenseless who would rather die then fail to keep a promise. It's all of these elements of his personality that make him among m ...more
Jun 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

3.5/5 stars

The Churn is a great novella. I enjoyed this one more than The Butcher of Anderson Station, Gods of Risk, and Drive.

I’m quite surprised by the official blurb and the huge number of reviews that immediately stated which character’s background is being shed upon here. Whether the reveal is obvious or not, I think it would be better for first-time readers to know nothing about it. I won’t be mentioning anything regarding about this one hour read; consider The Churn an essentia
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
*** 4 ***

This novela packs a big punch for its size. Short, violent, gritty and dystopian in a very believable way, this is the story of one of the members of the crew in the Expanse space opera series, only not in space.

Timmy is a young man who is raised in the unregistered slums of Baltimore, where crime is what makes you or breaks you. Born to a prostitute as an unregistered birth, his only reality is the unforgiving underworld. On top of the rough conditions he has to contend with daily, he
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another short story is the Expanse universe, this time about Amos' past.

Amos is a very quirky character. He seems to lack empathy on a worrying scale while simultaneously showing the capacity for great loyalty, which is why I like him so much. Those who have read the first novel and/or seen the TV show know that he is from Earth, originally, and has had a dark past. Here, we get to know what this past consists of (to some degree) and it was a delightful look at future Baltimore and its crime syn
James Trevino
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Churn is an additional book to the Expanse series, set before the series' beginnings and chronicling some events in the life of one of my favorite characters, Amos Burton.

Amos, or Jimmy, is a low level thug with a lot of issues and a broken moral compass. And that is what makes him so compelling. The criminal world of Baltimore is masterfully built - so much so that this can be read as a stand alone, with no prior knowledge of the universe.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A superb back-story for Amos from The Expanse series, perhaps my single favourite of the side-books. Must read.

I really love how the authors have used the side-books format to fill in the back-stories, historical events and technology bits instead of bogging down the main series with this info.

The way they are written as semi-standalones is terrific. I love the Rocinante family, and these side-books have doubled that pleasure.
Lindsey Rey
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This started out kind of blah, but I end up really loving it by the end.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-shelf, sci-fi
Claustrophobic and set on a dirty, poor future Earth, we see a nasty Baltimore run by the mob, a populace living on subsistence-level Basic, and a young Amos from the later series living as a thug with a missing sense of right and wrong.

It's classic and awesome SF. It may be a prequel and there's no space stuff, but the atmosphere and the thug life is pretty fantastic. The characterizations are top-notch and it really adds a LOT of dimension to one of my favorite characters from the books.

Read my full, spoiler-free review on GracelingAccountant

Don't let the 3 stars discourage you, it was really interesting, I would just really like to know more about the world (among other things). It was interesting reading from the POV of a sociopath I will say, that was probably one of the most interesting parts of the entire novella.

It lost stars due to the lack of background i felt i have on the world (which might be because it's the only book I've read in this series so far), the wierd sex
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it
"To go from an unregistered birth such as his to having any power and status at all was an achievement as profound as it was invisible."

Before he was the engineer on the Rocinante, Amos Burton lived in Baltimore. A product of prostitution himself, he spent his childhood in sexual slavery, before being rescued by the woman who would essentially become his step-mother. This novella takes place about twenty years before the main events of the series, during a time when the organized crime in Baltim
WARNING: Even the blurb spoils this book - don't read that or any other reviews before reading it (no spoilers here).

Review of the audiobook narrated by Erik Davies.

In this prequel to Leviathan Wakes, the focus is on Earth - Baltimore, Maryland to be specific. We see a somewhat dystopian (I could argue it's more future realism) view of the city in the future, with just enough explanation of the politics and economics for everything to make sense. With humans already spread to other parts of the
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Executive Summary: Amos is one of my favorite characters of the Expanse novels, and it's nice to finally get his backstory.

Full Review
For someone who doesn't really like short fiction, I seem to be reading a fair amount of it recently. Of the few Expanse short stories, this is the one that was the top of my list.

I finally decided to pick it up in preparation for the next Expanse novel. I thought it was just "alright" until the last little bit. The ending really made reading this worthwhile f
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amos is my favorite character in The Expanse and now I understand his origins, both less and more violent than I expected. How easily life can churn in one direction or the other. I don't know why I like Amos so much. This might change as the series continues but I hope not.

If you too find yourself unusually attached to Amos you will want to read this.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Someone recommended that I read this before Nemesis Games, as it is a good background story for Amos. I almost can't wait to pick that up next week, to find out what happens to Amos. He is one of my favourite characters in The Expanse.

The story gives a look into Amos' early days, before leaving Earth. And there is a twist that I really should have seen coming from miles away. But I am a bit blind that way, so the coin only dropped just before I got hit by that two-by-four...

Entertaining, short,
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2017, stars-4-0
My first Expanse novella.

Somehow, I always thought that people on Earth would be a little better off than the Belters, and even Martians, and yet, after reading this, the picture the authors paint is rather grotty. It does make sense however. And of course, we finally get the backstory of one of the Rocinante's crew.

On with Nemesis Games... :0)
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, e-books
4 Stars

I am a huge fan of the Expanse series and decided now would be a great time to read the tiny novellas. The Churn is a fun story with a great twist. Can't say much more without spoilers but it is worth a read.

The Expanse series is one of my very favorite ongoing series today.

The Expanse is now an awesome show on Syfy and it has already been renewed for a second season.
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Getting ready for Nemesis Games - this fills in some nice back story.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
[3 Stars] I've had this novella finished for a while, but I'm just now getting around to reviewing it. I was really conflicted about my overall thoughts. There were parts of this I loved like the writing, and parts I thought were absolutely predictable and boring. I figured out what the twist was really early on, like as soon as you could even possibly put it together, and after that the book just wasn't really to my taste. It's well written, but I was often bored and organized crime stories jus ...more
Dale Pearl
A decent piece. I would say that this feels more like a writers back story than anything actually intended for fans of the Expanse universe. I probably should have held off on reading this one until after the second or third book but I am reading them in the authors order an this is supposed to take place before book 2.

The Churn is the back streets and alleyways of the earth city Baltimore. This very short story goes into the daily life of street thugs. Interesting glimpse into the underworld el
Scott  Hitchcock

After reading Drive which is the .1 novella directly before this I wasn't quite expecting this type of story. Taking place in a futuristic Baltimore this is more an episode of the Wire circa some far distant year than Sci Fi. Still it was enjoyable with DA's (Corey) usual character building.

I was hoping some of the thugs would still be wearing Ray Lewis Ratbird jerseys to make it even more authentic. :)
julia ☆ [owls reads]
the entire time I read this I had the Timmy Time theme song stuck in my head

Amos Burton was a tall, stocky, pale-skinned man with an amiable smile, an unpleasant past, and a talent for cheerful violence.

This novella, published after Abaddon's Gate but set years before Leviathan's Wake, describes an event from the tragic past of one of my favorite characters from the series. The twist the story almost immediately begins revealing is quite a hook after seeing Amos in action for four books so far. The prose this time is solemn, sad, and probably some of the best of the ent
Quintin Zimmermann
Superheroes have their origin stories, so why the heck should Amos Burton not get his?

Yes, I saw the plot device almost from the first page, but this gritty tale of disposable lives in a city of scars and vices left an indelibly mark on a man seeking prosperity in the stars.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the Expanse novellas, this is probably the most crucial. And beyond that, I say nothing because I was genuinely surprised by the final revelation and I don't want to spoil anything. ...more
Eric Mesa
Don't read this until after Cibola Burn or at least Abaddon's Gate if you want the full effect.

Because this is a novella and because what makes it work is spoilery, almost this entire review will be a spoiler. But before I get to that part:

The Churn offers us a view of Earth on Basic. It is bleak. This was not really directly mentioned during Bobby's time on Earth during Caliban's WarCaliban's War, but it was mentioned by James S.A. Corey during an interview they did for Imaginary Worlds in whic
The Churn is another in a line of novellas out to pad out the world of The Expanse. So far it manages to be the best one.

This particular novella manages to be interesting in a way that I really do not want to give out too many details about it as I feel like the less you know the better with this one. All that really needs to be said is that it takes place on Earth and focuses on the criminal underworld.

It is the best of the novellas I have read so far but I would still remind you that this is
I spent most of this novella — which delves into ground-level life in an Earth-based criminal syndicate — being kinda confused as to why this was an Expanse novella. It meant I struggled to get into it a bit, because I was constantly questioning as I went (I’m a fool!), but then there’s a turning point towards the end when it finally clicks and I literally GASPED OUT LOUD. LITERALLY GASPED AND CRIED “OH MY GOD” ALOUD.

Instantly worth it, instantly cool. That’s all I’ll say. 3.5 stars.
There are some seriously awkward parts and one character that speaks like she is in a Shakespeare play. Other than that it's an alright background story. ...more
Totally unnecessary addition to the existing 5,000+ pages of "The Expanse" (so far) - much like George R.R. Martin taking a break from his long-delayed The Winds of WInter to go back and write his endless history of the Targaryen family..."enough already!"

And yet Amos Burton - the borderline psychopath with a complicated backstory who REALLY seems like he's trying to be a better man - has always been my favorite character* in "The Expanse." And so unnecessary as it may be, this violent and at-ti
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Beyond Reality: The Expanse--The Churn, Expanse #3.5 Short Fiction 4 18 May 26, 2018 05:19PM  

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The Expanse (9 books)
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