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The Expanse #1.5

The Butcher of Anderson Station

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From New York Times bestselling author James S. A. Corey...
A new story set in the world of The Expanse. One day, Colonel Fred Johnson will be hailed as a hero to the system. One day, he will meet a desperate man in possession of a stolen spaceship and a deadly secret and extend a hand of friendship. But long before he became the leader of the Outer Planets Alliance, Fred Johnson had a very different name. The Butcher of Anderson Station.

This is his story.

Word Count: ~9,000 words

38 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 17, 2011

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James S.A. Corey

61 books19.6k followers

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5 stars
5,455 (27%)
4 stars
9,265 (46%)
3 stars
4,732 (23%)
2 stars
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1 star
27 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,069 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
654 reviews39.9k followers
April 20, 2020

Well, it seems like I’m going to read all the short stories and novellas in this series too.

The title of this short story says it all already, The Butcher of Anderson Station is a short story that reveals the details behind the truth of Fred Johnson’s infamous nickname. This was a good read, in my opinion. Leviathan Wakes has shed light and gave hints on what happened, but it was great to read what actually happened. Although it took less than an hour for me to read, I do think it’s beneficial to fans of the series to read this one as it helped gives extra depth to Fred’s background. No idea why they left this out of Leviathan Wakes though; this was very short and would’ve fit as one or two chapters in the novel.

You can find the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Devin, Hamad, Joie, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,255 reviews8,650 followers
June 10, 2016
SO. It's been obvious from our first introduction in LEVIATHAN WAKES that Fred Johnson, the butcher of Anderson Station, isn't a stone cold killer . . . You don't walk away from the military you've served your whole life when following orders led to the slaughter of "terrorists" if you've got an empty chest cavity.

If you've watched THE EXPANSE, then you already know this story, what really happened that day, why the Belters of Anderson Station led a revolt.

It is heartbreaking. But even if you do already know, THE BUTCHER OF ANDERSON STATION is still worth reading. You've seen it through the eyes of Kiri's father. This is Fred's version.

If you wondered what it meant to see him standing there, arms slack, face expressionless, staring at the carnage he'd wrought, if you wondered what was going on in Fred Johnson's head . . . here's your answer.

January 31, 2018

Just finished another Accountant Buddy Read with The Amazing Kayla! I loved this novella even more than The Churn, which I also gave 5 stars to! "The Expanse" already has the potential of becoming one of my favorite series just from how much I enjoyed these two novellas. I can't wait to get the main books of the series off my TBR shelf and into my currently reading piles now!
Profile Image for Ginger.
721 reviews316 followers
November 29, 2022
This novella has more character information on Fred Johnson as a Colonel with Earth before he joins the OPA.
It also introduces us to a young Belter named Anderson Dawes that helps Fred come to terms with his past.

I’m glad I found the time to read this between the main books in the series!
Profile Image for Dennis.
651 reviews252 followers
September 4, 2021
2021 re-read:

This time I'll try to read this in the order recommended by the authors. Which makes this book #1.5, even though chronologically it happens before the first novel.

Fred, for me personally, was one of the most interesting characters in Leviathan Wakes. There's this certain mystique about him. And I was desperate to find out what exactly had happened on Anderson Station and what ultimately made him change sides.

This very short piece provides the answers to these questions. It's another well written story. And I'm slowly becoming a fan of James S.A. Corey. However, I feel this story takes as much away from the character as it adds to it.

I strongly recommend reading this after Leviathan Wakes.
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews223 followers
October 31, 2017
Abraham (Corey) is just such an amazing story teller. Being able to tell such a complete and compelling story in such as short work is amazing. He as usual makes you feel the characters issue so vividly.

The three prequel novellas completed....bring on the main event.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,844 followers
June 30, 2018
Definitely a must for any Expanse fan, especially for those who are fans of Fred. I am. I think he's pretty damn cool.

But even for completionists, it's worth it. Why? Because Fred is a conflicted character for also being a relatively steadfast and rational friend to adventurers in need. His story may not be the most epic or the most emotional of the bunch, but for me, he has a certain mystique. :)

Also, this short story is REALLY short. :)
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,388 reviews6,651 followers
December 5, 2019
In space no one can hear you commit a war crime.

While I’ve read all of The Expanse books and love the TV series I hadn’t gotten around to checking out all the tie-in short stories, and this first one fills in the backstory of Fred Johnson. Since Fred is a former military officer from Earth who left all that behind to become one of the key leaders of the Belters he’s been something of an enigma so it was nice to get this story that explains why Fred turned his back on Earth and exactly what happened to earn him the nickname ‘The Butcher of Anderson Station.’

Since I’d already seen this dramatized on the TV show it didn’t give me quite the emotional punch that it could have. Plus, much like the other tie-in The Churn I could argue that it was short enough to be worked into the actual novels at some point instead of being extra material. If you’re a fan of the series it’s definitely worth a look although you’re not missing critical information if you don’t check it out.
Profile Image for Jess Owens.
296 reviews4,222 followers
February 8, 2022

A quick back story on Fred Johnson. I appreciate that it’s short and to the point and shows what really happened on Anderson Station and how Fred Johnson became who he is now.
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,106 reviews3,543 followers
April 14, 2014
I knew about this prequel story even before of reading "Leviathan Wakes", however, I decided to read before the actual first book on the series since I was afraid that in just 40 pages, it won't be possible to establish the literature universe of the series to really get this short story.

I think that I chose the right decision. It was a good introductory story to the character of Fred Johnson, who is a supportive but key character in the development of the story in "Leviathan Wakes". Even you get a glimpse of Anderson Dawes who is other supportive character in the first book.

I enjoyed the short story and that gives a better view of where Fred Johnson stands. However, I encourage to read the story after of reading the first book, "Leviathan Wakes". I think that you'd enjoy more the first book if you are not sure what to expect from Fred Johnson.

Profile Image for Trish.
1,848 reviews3,363 followers
July 2, 2018
Another background story for one of the characters in the Expanse novels. This time, it's about Fred Johnson, now leader of the OPA (Outer Planets Alliance).

Like Amos, Fred originally comes from Earth. Unlike Amos, Fred even served in the UN Navy and made a name for himself as "The Hero of Anderson Station". However, it's not like he's proud of it. Because his other nickname is "The Butcher of Anderson Station". It all depends on your point fo view, which might hinge on how much insider information you have.
This tells of how he earned his nickname(s) and how he subsequently went from war hero to the leader of the Belter terrorist group.

Personally, I'm not much of a fan of Fred's. For starters, I don't like people preaching to me about how wrong killing is while their own hands are covered in blood (and I'm not even talking about Anderson Station). Also, while he might be smart (he has to be or he would have never made the rank of Colonel), he's too shifty and betrayal comes too easy for him for my taste.

Nevertheless, it was interesting to see how and why he switched sides (though, again, I disagree with him, but that might be mostly because the set-up for what happened on Anderson Station was a bit too much eye-rolling conspiracy for me) and the action, characterizations and writing style in these novellas are as wonderful as in the novels so it was worth just for that.

Profile Image for Adam.
168 reviews37 followers
November 19, 2021
I have low expectations for novellas because I have a hard time connecting with the story in such a small amount of pages, and don't ever expect to go higher than a 4 star rating. The Butcher of Anderson Station skirts that problem since it is about a character and an event that were introduced in Leviathan Wakes, so we go into it already familiar with what's going on. It's a satisfying narrative that reads just like an extension of the previous book and fills in an important character who deserves more of a backstory.

The authors say to read the series in publication order, which would put this book between Leviathan Wakes and Caliban's War (if you were to read chronologically it would be before both). I read it after the latter because I was in such a hurry to move forward with the series, but I wish I had read it in order as there are some insights into Fred Johnson's character that I would have enjoyed being aware of while reading Caliban's War. Overall it's definitely worth your time if you enjoy the main novels in the series.
Profile Image for Carrot :3.
253 reviews74 followers
June 4, 2022
This one didn’t really add much to the plot but made a good job of fleshing out Fred.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,553 reviews1,631 followers
December 9, 2015
I've been meaning to read this ever since I read the first book several years ago. That's where we're first introduced to Fred Johnson, leader of the OPA, who was once (and still is) known through the solar system as the Butcher of Anderson Station. This short story elaborates on the brief hints of how he got that name that we got in Leviathan Wakes, and also shows how Fred got involved with the OPA to boot. More importantly, it doesn't just show us how he got that name, but what he did with it, and why it's important. Very good addition to the world. Does just what extra content should do, elaborating on the world, but nothing you wouldn't miss if you didn't read it.
Profile Image for Craig.
208 reviews23 followers
May 28, 2021
“So I think to myself,” the bartender said, reaching back toward the glassware by the mirror, “you’re here for something. The Butcher of Anderson Station in a Belter bar.”

A great little quick back story on The Butcher.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,103 reviews294 followers
January 27, 2021
Solid short story that lays out Fred's infamous command and his eventual meet up with Anderson Dawes.

Although chronologically this takes place before Leviathan Wakes, the story will have much more meaning if read after that book.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
710 reviews1,152 followers
September 27, 2017
Expanse fans have all heard of Fred Johnson's pseudonym, and this novella offers a chance to learn more about how he earned the title. You can see how events in this novella shaped Fred's actions throughout the series, which makes it worth reading in it's own right. Although I enjoyed it, and in fact was looking forward to it most out of all the novellas, it's also the one I came away with the least from. It's a solid "I liked it" rating, but not the one I'd hand to you if you were only going to read a few of the novellas.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,434 reviews180 followers
April 6, 2022
I had always wondered how Fred Johnson could have found himself working for the OPA. The show obviously covers this well, but I wanted the original text showing me Fred’s disgust with his superiors’ lack of respect for life in the Belt.
I also liked that in the authors’ note, in “Memory’s Legion”, Cara Gee is referenced as saying she thought the unknown woman holding the gun on Fred was Drummer. (Oddly, I had pictured Cara Gee as Drummer by Anderson Dawes’s side during the short story.)
Profile Image for Trevor.
65 reviews7 followers
November 14, 2017

A quick story detailing Fred Johnson's past and the events that gave him the moniker of "The Butcher of Anderson Station"

I did feel like I already knew most of what was going to happen from conversations in Leviathan Wakes, so there were no major revelations. Still, gaining insight into what motivates Fred was pretty neat.
Profile Image for Timothy Boyd.
6,454 reviews31 followers
November 15, 2022
Nice short story expanding the background of one of the main characters. Recommended
Profile Image for Richard.
971 reviews347 followers
January 3, 2020
This spin-off short story from the Expanse series details the backstory of Fred Johnson, the infamous OPA leader that was introduced in the first book, Leviathan Wakes. It's a short and quick read that goes deeper in detailing why the massacre at Anderson Station changed him forever. But because many characters have talked about the event in the main books, I wish that the story went even further with adding more to the world-building, inspiring readers to see the story in a different light. Because this doesn't fully happen, it's not a big deal if you skip this one.
Profile Image for William.
675 reviews314 followers
February 29, 2020
A superb back-story to Fred Johnson from The Expanse series. The author has written back-stories to most of the main characters, and each of them is wonderful and insightful.

A must-read if you love The Expanse.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,125 reviews94 followers
February 29, 2020
Good story and important background on Fred "The Butcher of Anderson Station" Smith who plays a supporting yet critical role in the series.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews252 followers
January 1, 2016
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 Butcher of Anderson Station is an important back about the big Boss Fred. Can't say much more without spoilers but it is worth a read. A cool insight piece into Fred's past.

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.
Profile Image for Pallavi.
910 reviews165 followers
January 6, 2021
4.0 stars.

A short novella on Fred Johnson and how he got the name "Butcher of Anderson Station". We get to know some stuff about this in Leviathan Wakes and this one is the backstory on the same. Maybe because he will come again in the second book "Caliban's War" as a stronger character for which this novella was introduced.
It was a short and easy- interesting read. Good for the people who are planning to read the series..

Happy Reading!!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,069 reviews

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