Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes is a 2011 science fiction novel by James S. A. Corey, which is a pen name for the combined effort of 2 authors. I didn't realize the book was authored by 2 writers until just now. I had been impressed by how seamless chapter transitions were, which isn't always the case when chapters switch back and forth between points of view. I'm even more impressed now.

The book is an old-fashioned space opera, my first love in science fiction, and is the first in a projected trilogy. I am excitedly waiting for the future installments, though this book works just fine as a stand-alone. Characters are well-defined but descriptions and background information are not belabored. The plot is clear and easy to follow but not simplistic or predictable. Corporate and political shenanigans are integral to the events, but we aren't burdened by pages of exposition into the whys and wherefores of those histories. At 561 pages, I was never tempted to skim over anything, was never irritated at the author(s) and was sorry to see it end. I have no complaints, only happy satisfaction.

There is one Methodism reference on page 224 when one of the main characters says, "I was a Methodist when I was anything. What flavor are you selling?" but religion is not a major theme.

from the back of the book:
Humanity has colonized the solar system -Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond- but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for -and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations -and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.
Kirkus Reviews describes it as "A huge, churning, relentlessly entertaining melodrama buoyed by confidence that human values will prevail." io9 calls it "a fun ride and the perfect thing for a long summer afternoon by the beach or the air conditioner". Cheryl Morgan says, "Hopefully it will also cause its readers to ponder the value of radical transparency." SF Signal says, "Leviathan Wakes’ solar system is a masterpiece of world building," "The action sequences of the novel are where the writing shines nearly as well as the worldbuilding" and, "But what this novel has most of all is simple: it’s fun!" Wired.com says,
If you’re looking for a solid science fiction story that’s not about dazzling technology and fantastical aliens, that won’t confuse you with overly-complex descriptions of the way governments and corporations work, and that won’t throw made-up words and cryptic names at you left and right… you’re going to like Leviathan Wakes.
The WSJ writes,
The story rips along, driven by two main characters who don't like each other, each of whom has his own uncompromising morality. Even more compelling than the pace, though, is the sense of possibility.

I've just come across the 2013 Science Fiction Experience. The invitation at that site says,
The “rules” of the experience are simple: there are none. Remember, this isn’t a challenge. If you would like to join us in discussing any science fiction reading or television viewing or movie watching you do over the time period, please do. Although signing up isn’t required, nor is posting your reviews, I do like to be able to keep up with folks who are participating, so there will be a Mr. Linky at the end of this post and there is a Sci-Fi Experience Review Site for you to link any SF-related posts of any kind that you would like the other participants to check out. Again, this doesn’t have to be entirely book related. It really is about experiencing science fiction (and even non-fiction having to do with space or technology) of all kinds.

Sounds like fun, and I'll be trying to keep up with their posts. I might find some fun blogs to follow.


  1. I may look into this. I used to love sci-fi when I was a teenager. Sounds like a good old-fashioned space adventure!

    1. i am looking forward to the next one. i haven't checked to see when it's expected, but i haven't seen it in my local bookstore yet.

    2. I think you´ll find it on amazon, if you are impatient.

    3. i'm tempted, but i'm trying to make sure my local independent book store stays afloat. we almost lost it recently, and i do like that shop