Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1)
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Read between October 19, 2010 - January 18, 2011
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Prologue:
James Corey
Used bookstores are great. It’s not just finding old, obscure books that have out of print forever. It’s also finding books that have been marked up by the last person who read them. Seeing what passages meant something to someone. It makes the conversation bigger and richer and weirder. This is kind of like that too, don’t you think? See what folks wrote in the e-margins… See our notes for more books in THE EXPANSE series here: https://www.goodreads.com/notes/4436008-james-corey
Mona and 203 other people liked this
Peter Meek
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Peter Meek
Marginalia have taken on a new life with e-books. You can now (with Kindle books, at least) make your scribbles publicly available. I hope people enjoy mine.
Peter Meek
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Peter Meek
Edit: make that Kindle and Goodreads
Danielle
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Danielle
I'm a proud book vandal, idk it brings me joy, and gives me a chuckle when I reread or a friend asks what the hell I was thinking when I wrote “that” comment in my book!
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Living on the surface of a planet, mass sucking at every bone and muscle, and nothing but gravity to keep your air close, seemed like a fast path to crazy.
James Corey
One of the things that was interesting about writing the books was getting into the heads of people who have explicitly never had the same experiences we’ve had. It’s one of the things that fiction generally does really well, and this is just one fairly extreme example. There are a lot of places we’ve been and things we’ve done through reading that we couldn’t get in life. There are studies that show reading fiction increases empathy. Seems plausible that “being” other people is why that happens. Maybe you have some examples from your own reading life?
Elizabeth Fischi
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Elizabeth Fischi
Agreed! Best wishes.
Tom Jonesman
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Tom Jonesman
Fascinating, about fiction increasing empathy. I've not really considered this before, but it seems like one of those things that is intuitive. Do you (or anybody else reading this) have any examples …
Nat Barber
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Nat Barber
The book "Slake's Limbo", which I read in middle school/junior high, left an indelible impression on me. I was a kid in Vermont, so per se rural/small town, had never experienced even a full day, let …
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The circle of life on Ceres was so small you could see the curve. He liked it that way.
James Corey
“The circle of life” is one of those phrases you keep running into until it turns into a cliché. Orwell had a whole essay about finding new, striking images or else ways to make old ones fresh again. I remember figuring out that “last ditch effort” was a reference to trench warfare. Made the phrase a lot more meaningful for me. We don’t always do a great job making images fresh, but this one landed pretty well. The other one we particularly like is “stood out like blood on a wedding dress.” Ross Macdonald was a master of that kind of thing. Pity he never did scifi.
Pål Kristiansen
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Pål Kristiansen
The flat-earthers did not get this one.
Angelika Matson
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Angelika Matson
This was one of my favourite lines in the book!
Will Hughes
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Will Hughes
@Pål Kristiansen - if the circle of life takes place on a sphere, then I feel really sorry for those poor flat-earthers who can only enjoy a line of life on their floating disc. I can only imagine the…
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It was a real book—onionskin pages bound in what might have been actual leather. Miller had seen pictures of them before; the idea of that much weight for a single megabyte of data struck him as decadent.
James Corey
This is a passage that literally came from the file sizes of the novels we wrote. How big is a book in terms of data? Well, we have a bunch of examples right here on the hard drive. Do love ebooks in their way, but hard copy will always be our first love. Decadent, maybe, but there you go.
Maldo and 197 other people liked this
Peter Meek
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Peter Meek
I like books. I have over 20,000 of the “hard” kind. Unfortunately, I no longer have any room for them. Now they languish in boxes in an unheated barn “ where moth and rust doth corrupt” (although I h…
Isaac Harris
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Isaac Harris
I'm weird. Now that we have good e-readers, I mostly just use them anymore.
Leslie Dunn
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Leslie Dunn
Lowercase, Kindle has an app for computers.
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It had been the most complex, difficult feat of mass-scale engineering humanity had ever accomplished until the next thing they did.
James Corey
Every record is an invitation to break it. That’s always been true. The Eiffel Tower and the Empire State building were both imagination-breaking feats of engineering at the time that became period pieces, reeking of history and age. A lot of things are like that. We’re not just talking about engineering, either.
Mattias and 104 other people liked this
Rishabh Malviya
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Rishabh Malviya
I actually remember reading this line from the book. Really memorable.
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Even in the Belt, youth brought invulnerability, immortality, the unshakable conviction that for you, things would be different.
James Corey
One of the driving ideas in The Expanse is that, even as technology changes the living situations and abilities of humanity, the organism stays the same. There are conversations about old men losing their libido in Plato’s Republic. At least as long as there has been literature, humans have been acting like humans. That’s either inspiring or depressing.
Daniel Milford
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Daniel Milford
There will always be people who find that inspiring, there will always be people who find that depressing.
George Thacher
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George Thacher
One of my favorite aspects of The Expanse is just this: that humans will always be humans regardless of the time in history, technology, or social status. Even if we all lived in space or move somewhe…
Bruce Combs
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Bruce Combs
We're all going to die before long, except for me.
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A man born with a sense for raw opportunity where his soul should have been.
James Corey
Of all the quotes in The Expanse, this one has been applied to the most real-world people. That’s not a good sign.
Steve and 173 other people liked this
Veek
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Veek
I think this is a really neat way of expressing what's wrong with certain people.
Nat Barber
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Nat Barber
Liked, "everywhere is Baltimore, kid."
George Thacher
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George Thacher
People who chase power and wealth tend to lose their identity. Sometimes they realize this but most don't.
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“What kind of half-assed apocalypse are they running down there?” Amos said. “Give ’em a break. It’s their first.”
James Corey
Honestly, this is one of our favorites too. It feels like watching a 24-hour news service. It’s important to have humor in the books, but most – of not all – from the characters, not the narrator. There’s so much horror in the books that having the characters be dour would have sunk them. There’s an interesting conversation about how humor works in the books as opposed to the show, and why the media are different that way.
Orso and 139 other people liked this
Trevor Collins
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Trevor Collins
I think that the humor of Amos specifically is lost in the show. His happy-go-lucky attitude in the books, mixed with his deadly aura was such a wonderful juxtaposition in the books. It's why he is ea…
Ruth
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Ruth
Amos was my favorite character!
George Thacher
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George Thacher
Perhaps this quote would be a god's perspective of our species. Like 'WTF are they doing?' Yes, funny! Also rings of a little compassion.
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“There’s a right thing to do,” Holden said. “You don’t have a right thing, friend,” Miller said. “You’ve got a whole plateful of maybe a little less wrong.”
James Corey
This is another great restatement of The Expanse’s underlying project. Choosing between a good action and a bad action is easy. Choosing among a field of only bad or at best mixed outcomes is more difficult. And probably more realistic. We always talked about Holden being the Holy Fool, and his interactions with Miller in the first book were built to kick his moral certainties out from under him this way.
Joe
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Joe
Ian, I read Holden at the beginning as a wholly more dangerous animal. he's not simply naive, he's Absolutely Convinced He's Right. the first can get himself killed. the second can get a lot of people…
Pål Kristiansen
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Pål Kristiansen
The exiting stuff is always in the grey zone.
Nat Barber
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Nat Barber
The action and drama and energy is almost never at the core, in the center, or wholly on the inside or the outside of things. It's always at the boundaries, the margins, the borders, the transitions z…
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Working in some corporations was like going to prison. You adopted the views of the people around you.
James Corey
Humans are social animals. There’s this theory – we don’t think it’s got any data behind it – that we’re all the average of the five people we spend the most time with. One of the things that’s best about this moment is how well it sets up Havelock’s character in Cibola Burn – the guy who is defined by the company he keeps and how profoundly he changes when his company changes. It’s here, writ small, and it’s a huge part of book four.
Rosie and 87 other people liked this
Ian
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Ian
I realised that theres always one character that begins by toeing the company line (singh is the latest for me reading Persepolis Rising) and then somehow coming around to whats right even when everyo…
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Liquor doesn’t make you feel better. Just makes you not so worried about feeling bad.”
James Corey
It’s an interesting scene. Miller’s trying to give this kid some wisdom, but what he has to draw from is pretty grim and dark. It reminds me of the old AA saying “A man has a drink. The drink has a drink. The drink has a man.” Miller is a very classic noir hero, and the thing that differentiates noir from hardboiled is whether the hero is moral. There’s a strong argument to make through Leviathan Wakes that Miller is at a minimum deeply flawed as a human being. His relationship to Julie Mao is riffing on Otto Preminger’s classic noir “Laura” with Dana Andrews and Gene Teirney.
CJ and 92 other people liked this
Penn Hackney
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Penn Hackney
From the winters of my shipwrecked youth: “smoking lot doesn’t make you warmer; it just make you dig the cold.”
Brian Wiggins
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Brian Wiggins
I would absolutely read the hell out of a hardboiled detective series of Miller on Ceres prior to the events of the Expanse.
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when you got right down to it, humans were still just curious monkeys. They still had to poke everything they found with a stick to see what it did.
James Corey
Something we come back to over and over in the series is human nature. As in what is human nature? Curiosity? Tribalism? Kindness? Violence? There are a lot of answers that fit, and (we hope) a viewpoint somewhere in the books that champions pretty much any of them.
Aaron and 109 other people liked this
Stefan Redford
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Stefan Redford
More true words have never been written. We are the proverbial cat and curiosity will get us one day.....if it hasn't already and we just can't see it.
Alex
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Alex
In my opinion all of those things can be found elsewhere; they might be features of the human experience, but they aren't the essence, because they aren't what defines us as separate. What does is wha…
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Acknowledgments
James Corey
Thank you, EXPANSE fans and screaming firehawks, for taking the ride with us. If you’re looking to kill some time before the next series drops, Daniel has a bunch of his own work out there you could try, or if you’re in a space opera mood, Walter Jon Williams’ DREAD EMPIRE'S FALL (starting with THE PRAXIS): https://www.goodreads.com/series/49492-dread-empire-s-fall or Alfred Bester’s classic THE STARS MY DESTINATION: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/333867.The_Stars_My_Destination THE EXPANSE season 6 premiers on 12/16 - don't forget to tune in!
Peter Koppel
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Peter Koppel
Thanks for writing this! Awesome to relive some of your favorite lines and dig deeper into their meaning.
Peter Meek
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Peter Meek
I’m a binge watcher. I have to wait for the complete season before I can begin watching. I will prepare by rewatching all the previous seasons so I can get the best immersive experience.
Erich Rau
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Erich Rau
I read Bester's book decades ago, and recently just bought a copy to reread as for some reason I've been thinking about it lately. I have to believe that it's come back to me because I've been hooked …