Friday, January 26, 2018

Read-Along: Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey, Part 2

It’s well past time for part two of the read-along of James S.A. Corey’s Persepolis Rising! This section is on chapters 13-27, and the questions are provided by Lisa of Over the Effing Rainbow.  On a side note, please forgive that my mind is a little more scattered than usual.  I’ll be back to a usual posting schedule after this coming week. And a final note, beware of spoilers in the questions and answers below!

1. We see more of Governor Singh in these chapters, and ... Well. He certainly takes 'doing it by the book' rather more literally than most. How do you feel about the man after this closer character exploration, and his response(s) to attempts at resistance on Medina?

I’m kind of conflicted about him.  He is trying to do his job well, and his inexperience with this kind of situation in reality is causing a lot of problems.  His firing of Tanaka was a huge misstep.  I kept wanting to yell at him that just because he was aware he was in shock from the attack, it did not mean that it wasn’t affecting his judgment. I was rather impressed when he genuinely apologized to Tanaka.

Of course, he’s not doing a very good job of creating a sense of common community at Medina.  As Tanaka predicted, his harsh actions after the assassination attempt made him look frantic, and prompted the development of an actual organized underground resistance.  His response to the bombers is in the same vein.  He does not seem to have absorbed the lessons his superiors were trying to teach him.  At this point, I’m not sure if the Laconian leaders are hoping he’ll rise to the occasion, or they’re planning to use him as a scapegoat later.  Maybe they have plans for both, depending on how things shake out.

2. Captain Draper's having a difficult time of it, elsewhere - though at least she's not lashing out in her efforts to deal with that. What did you make of her conversation with Holden regarding the underground movement?

That must be frustrating.  I can see her problem, and see that she recognizes that it’s her issue to deal with.  Holden can’t not help, when his help is valuable. At least she seems to turning into a major force in the underground.  I’m hoping she gets a hero scenario, where she gets to be famous.  I also really hope she survives it, and goes on to captain the Roci as planned.

3. SHE'S ALIVE! Avasarala comes to Drummer's (political) aid, though it seems Madam President is less than thrilled with the idea. What's your take on their interaction, and in particular that last conversation between them?

I was so happy to see her!  Like other commenters, I had assumed a thirty year time jump meant our favorite elderly stateswoman had passed away in the interim.  I love that she’s profiling dangerous opposition leaders as a retirement hobby, and I love how people still defer to her.

I think Drummer is going to appreciate her more as time goes on, because Avasarala really may be the best advisor she could possibly have in this situation.  It was clearly the right decision not to assault Medina.  They would have just been roasted by gamma rays on approach. If Drummer thinks about what Avasarala says in that last conversation, it may help her accept that the woman does have humanity’s best interests at heart (and not just Earth’s).  As for the rest, I think that’s really the only silver lining they had in that battle, more information.

4. Any other thoughts/feelings/speculations etc. on this week's chapters? Let's have 'em!

I’m worried about Amos and Clarissa.  There’s clearly something going wrong with Amos, and he doesn’t seem to have any desire to deal with it.  Clarissa, I assume, is having a hard time without access to the medbay.  Her health was already deteriorating seriously, before all this stuff started happening.    

I was shocked when the Laconians took out the void city.  It did end the battle, but they just slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people.  That action seems to put the lie to their desire for non-violence.  They could absolutely have limited the human cost of that battle, and they chose not to.


  1. Yes, it's pretty clear that what the Laconians say and what they mean are two different things. It's the usual bullying tactic: all of this is your fault, if you'd only done what I asked it didn't have to go this way. Eh. Quite apart from Governor Singh, it doesn't bode well for what Laconian rule really looks like...

    1. You know, that tactic really bothers me in personal drama stories. It took me too long to recognize the same pattern writ large on a government scale.