In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Babylon's Ashes

Just finished the sixth installment in The Expanse, Babylon's Ashes.

Very gripping, well written and lots of good detail. There are some exchanges between the characters that made me laugh out loud. Of course a system wide war is hard to describe in enough detail for us wargamers but I'm sure we can figure it out.

One of the things I like about the series is the moral complexity. The bad guys sometimes have very good motives, they just go about things in a dick-headed way and don't give a damn about who gets hurt in the process. Even our heroes, desperately trying to save all of humanity, still feel badly that they need to kill some folks to do it. The Path of Righteousness is never clear and always difficult. But the moral compass is always protecting the weak against the powerful, a theme that has been a constant since the tales of King Arthur. I also like that small characters like the Methodist Pastor Anna in Abbadon's Gate or the quiet, mildly autistic biologist Prax in Caliban's War and Babylon's Ashes can both do small but important things that help save humanity.

I also like the central protagonist, James  Holden. Some have called the character whiny. But I like that he is constantly worrying that he is fucking up. He sets out to do "the right thing" and kicks over the apple cart and wonders if he really did do the right thing.

And underneath the whole series is the moral paradox, that the alien technology that allows the teaming legions of Earth to survive by opening up 1300 new worlds for us to spread to, is only possible because it ate the entire population of Eros station, and echos of those voices can still be heard in signals from the Ring Gate. Just like we admire ancient monuments, but need to remember the blood of the slaves who made them.

The TV show on Amazon Prime is also very well done and provides good visuals. But the plotting is weird. Elements of book 2, Caliban's War show up in Season 1, but Season 2 ends before the end of Book 2. But they've done a good job of keeping the major threads and adapting a complex story to the small screen. I'm anxious to get a chance to see season 3.

But now I need to delve into Full Thrust and figure out how to adapt the rules to Expanse technology; vector mechanics, missiles, rail guns, armour, ECMs....

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