Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Read-Along: Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey, Part 3

Welcome to the my third post in the read-along of Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey.  It’s the seventh book in the Expanse series, so beware of tons of spoilers in these posts.  This week’s questions cover chapters 27-41, and questions are provided by Imyril of X+1.  My extremely busy work period ends with this week, so I’m hoping I can finish the book somewhere close to the conclusion of the read-along!

We Need To Talk About Amos
Well that was explosive. Thoughts?

I did not expect that at all, though good on Bobbie for beating him.  I think Amos would probably have killed her if the fight had gone the other way. Not because he actually wanted to, but he was out of control and I don’t know if he would have been able to stop.  It was interesting to see a bit inside his thoughts, and why he behaves the way he does.  Also, a bit heartbreaking that the only thing he’s ever truly wanted in his life is for Clarissa to get to die at home on the Rocinante, surrounded by her family.  I hope she survives for quite some time yet, and I hope that they do make it back home.

Under Pressure
Singh grapples with his authoritarian impulses as his anxieties increase. Which instincts do you think will win out?

I have been a little easier on Singh than the rest of you in previous weeks, but I think that has to end now.  I feel like I’ve gotten a clearer look at what kind of person he is this week, and it is an ugly, amoral, authoritarian mess.  His biggest concern with committing genocide (his words) is that his wife would be upset to realize he’s the kind of person who’s okay with committing genocide.  Like, his big reaction to realizing he’s a potential genocidal murderer was self-pity. Before, I had seen him as acting violently out of shock from being a victim of an assassination attempt, but now I accept that he is just truly a horrible shell of a person.  I no longer believe he has any moral compass whatsoever, and am not convinced he is capable of empathy.

So in short, I don’t think it’s a matter of instincts.  I think he’ll do whatever Duarte or his other superiors tell him to do, and the only qualm he’ll have is whether or not Nat will find out about it later.  In the absence of orders, I expect he’ll eventually try to vent all of the inhabitants of Medina Station to space.

Inside Man
So we have a traitor in the heart of the underground. What do you think will happen?

He’s not exactly at the heart of the underground, so that might save them.  The compartmentalism of their tasks is designed to help with just this situation.  Unfortunately, it sounds like Naomi’s plan really needs a lot of things to go perfectly to work, and I don’t think that’s going to happen with a traitor in their midst.  I also don’t know how well Singh is going to keep his traitor.  I think if Jordau (sorry if I misspelled, audiobook) finds out what the Underground is up to, he’ll probably make sure to get his sister out and betray Singh.  He has to know that Singh will use the threat of killing his sister to control him indefinitely, otherwise.

At Last (The Shadow of the Past)
The mysterious antagonists are back! ...or their (automated?) tech is. Where do you think Trejo picked up his passenger? What do you think is going on?

I was wondering when this was going to come up again!  The past few book have been very firmly focusing on human conflicts. I had also wondered if dealing with the protomolecule might come back to bite the Laconians.  They’ve studied it, sure, but they definitely don’t understand it fully.  And this new thing? Not even the aliens that made the protomolecule were able to stop it, so I don’t think the Laconians have a chance.

I don’t have any really great theories about where it came from, but it seems to be triggered in some way by protomolecule-based technology.  Maybe it’s a strange new alien species, but maybe it’s also just a side effect of the technology (like the ships being eaten by the gates).  Maybe something about the protomolecule technology is violent to space-time itself, and this is a manifestation of that damage.  Whatever it is, I am really worried that it’s going to destroy Sol system.

Any other thoughts?

Naomi is going to be so sad when she learns where Holden’s gone.

Filip has to come up again at some point, right?  I kind of expected him to pop up before now, but maybe he’ll be in one of the next two books.

I feel like we’ve gotten all the setup right now, and this section stopped right before all the execution.  The underground’s plan is ready to go, the new ship is arriving, Drummer’s war is commencing, and the civilization-killer is on the move. I’m planning to start reading the final section immediately after reading this week’s responses, because I can’t handle this suspense!


  1. AMOS. *Sobbing*

    Fuck Singh.

    Oh, Naomi.

    And ... yeah, the Laconians are doomed. They've got to be. Right?