Caliban’s War

(It would be helpful to read my post on Leviathan Wakes, the first book in this series, before reading this post.)

I chose this book because it is the second book in the best sci-fi series that has ever existed, The Expanse by James S. A. Corey. So far, the series is about a bunch of humans, a colonized solar system, an ancient alien virus, and vast conspiracies. This book is about the main character James Holden’s self-appointed mission to save everyone from the alien virus that evil corporations weaponized. (He and the crew of the Rocinante, the ship they escaped the demise of the Donnager on, fly around the solar system, working with Fred Johnson, the leader of the less murderous branch of the OPA, or Outer Planets Alliance. To Earth and Mars, they are a terrorist group, but to the Belt, they are a group of freedom fighters, working to grant the Belters independence from the inner planets). The alien virus was named the “protomolecule” by Protogen, one of the companies that later turned it into a weapon. The protomolecule was discovered on Phoebe, what was thought to be one of Saturn’s moons. As it turned out, Phoebe wasn’t a moon, but a transport method to get the protomolecule to Earth that had been intercepted by Saturn’s gravity well.

Mars was the first to discover the mysterious blue stuff at the core of the moon, and hired Protogen to figure out what it did. They found a way to weaponize it, and were going to sell it to the highest bidder, but a couple people, including James Holden, managed to stop them before it was too late. Holden expresses his concern about how Protogen was just experimenting indiscriminately with the protomolecule, without actually understanding what it did: “Holden was starting to feel like they were all monkeys playing with a microwave. Push a button, a light comes on inside, so it’s a light. Push a different button and stick your hand inside, it burns you, so it’s a weapon. Learn to open and close the door, it’s a place to hide things. Never grasping what it actually did, and maybe not even having the framework necessary to figure it out. No monkey ever reheated a frozen burrito. So here the monkeys were, poking the shiny box and making guesses about what it did.” He was pretty right about that.

James Holden is the main character of every single book (so far) and his sense of humor seems pretty funny. Usually he and his crew end up in some life-threatening situation, and he never ceases to be chronically optimistic. I think I would like to meet him, because he seems like a kind person who always tries to save everybody.

This is a very, very great book that is awesome. It might even be better than the first book, Leviathan Wakes. Right now I am on the fourth book, Cibola Burn. It is pretty amazing. Overall, the series is a must-read for any sci-fi nerd. Caliban’s War is an amazing book that I would give 25 out of 5 stars. The third book is Abbadon’s Gate, and the fourth is Cibola burn. I would keep nerding out, but that’s not why the three people per year who read my posts are here…are you? I didn’t think so.

The Martian is the only book I’ve read that is similar to this series because the tech is realistic and plausible, unlike almost all other sci-fi books and movies. The way the spaceships maneuver is more accurate, and all the little details that actually reflect real physics just make the series a hundred times better. Instead of having spaceships just magically swoop around like planes, the crew actually has to use the maneuvering thrusters to turn the ship the direction they want to go, then fire up the main engine, which on most ships would be their Epstein Drive.

I think the author is trying to say that if, somehow, you discover new technology, you shouldn’t just immediately think of all the weapons you could make, think about how you could use it to help society instead.

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