With this post, we’re closing out the read-along of James S.A. Corey’s Nemesis Games. It’s been a joy to read and discuss with everyone! This book is like a gift to anyone who wanted to know more about the crew of the Rocinante, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I expect the read-along of Babylon’s Ashes will start soon, so check out our Goodreads group if you’re interested in joining.
Now, we are discussing the final section of the book, from chapter 39 to the end, and questions were provided by Sarah of The Illustrated Page. Beware of spoilers for the whole series, up through the end of Nemesis Games, from here on out!
1. So turns out Marcos doesn't have the protomolecule and that there's a power behind the throne so to speak. Thoughts?
This surprised me. I thought for sure the protomolecule was involved in some very secret plan of Marco’s. The "power behind the throne" sounded to me sort of like a new, militaristic kind of Protogen, planning to conduct protomolecule weapons development on an unsettled planet. Given what happened in the epilogue, though, I guess we don’t need to worry about that threat anymore.
2. Is everything over for Earth? What's going to happen to all the people still on the surface?
We’ve said and heard a lot about the Earth dying, but I think that is a slight exaggeration. I don’t think everyone on the surface of the Earth will die, though billions will. What’s killing them in the right now is the chaos of the collapsed infrastructure, and I think that will be rebuilt much faster than the environment can be repaired.
Even after the asteroid bombardment, Earth is still more suitable for human life than Mars, so I don’t think it will just be completely destroyed in the long run. I expect they’ll need to band together tightly with the people of Mars, so that they can rely on Martian terraforming expertise to repair their damaged planet.
However, the damage to the planet does put Earth in a similar situation to Mars, as well. Many people will probably flee to the gate, especially since no one knows of the alien colonist-ship-eater yet. Escaping the destruction of their home to a beautiful new planet is probably going to sound like a great idea. I think what will mostly happen is that Earth will not be the central hub of humanity anymore, but simply one of many planets where humans live.
3. Should Holden accept Clarissa as a new crew member?
It’s been a long time since I’ve read Abaddon’s Gate, so I might just be more sympathetic because I don’t remember all the stuff she did very clearly. That being said, I think he should accept her. She’s not actually an “evil psychopath”, she was just very misguided and violent at the time. After seeing her in the prison and traveling with Amos, I don’t think she poses a risk to the crew of the Rocinante.
4. The question everyone's probably been thinking about: what the heck was that thing in the epilogue?
I think we’ve met the civilization killers! Now it makes sense that the ancient aliens had to close the gate system, because apparently the killers were living within it. I don’t like the odds of humanity for surviving something that killed the aliens who built the gate/protomolecule, but it looks like they’re going to have to face it soon enough. It makes me shiver to remember that the Rocinante went through that gate twice in the past book.
5. How do you feel about Nemesis Games compared to the other books we've read so far?
I think it’s possibly my favorite book of the series. I loved all the viewpoint characters, and the story was very compelling. Naomi’s part, especially, was intense. It also broke the pattern we’d commented on in the past books--human conflict grows and then is overshadowed by some larger alien threat. Here, the whole book was about the human conflict alone, and I think it benefited from the focus. There is an alien threat, but it really only showed up in the epilogue, and I expect it will be a big part of the following book.
6. Any hopes or fears for the next book?
I hope no one I like dies? Also, I hope Bobbie is finally a viewpoint character again, and that we see the recovery of Earth through Avasarala's eyes. I’m looking forward to finally learning about the civilization killers, though I fear they’re going to wipe out a lot of humanity. Finally, it would be neat to see some other new planets, and the societies that humans are building there!