Sep 2, 2017

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The little things – The Expanse book vs series

This post contains all the spoilers for the first two books and the first season of The Expanse. All of them. Consider yourself warned.

Season 2 of Expanse is about to land next Friday and I’m getting ready for it by rewatching the first season. I watched the first season before I read the books and felt frankly ambivalent of the series. It pressed too many of the same buttons that Game of Thrones does for me and I’m not a huge fan. I just don’t want to spend huge amounts of emotional energy watching the bad guys win. But that’s a post for another day.

Anyway, one of my roommates at Clarion, the excellent Karen Osborne, is a huge fan of James S.A. Corey so I decided to read the first couple of books out of curiosity. And what a difference that makes! Holden, who mostly felt like a petulant child to me in the TV series, has an actual moral code and intelligence behind decisions that seem like rash, emotional outbursts on the screen that put everyone on his ship in danger. I hate that they made Ade into another white girl, like that teeny, tiny part couldn’t possibly be played by a badass black woman. I hate that they turned Chrisjen Avasarala into an apologetic warmonger. Essentially, it all happens on the page like it happens in the series (except that Crisjen doesn’t show up until the second book and the series is still firmly in the events of the first one) but they changed all the little things. And it seems like the little things are a lot more important to me than I thought.

When I read the books, I was excited to find the intertextual conversation about freedom of information vs stability of society that Holden represents. This is what science fiction does so well! Rewatching the series, this is the change that made me want to stop watching the show. I was excited to see the diverse cast, most of which is whittled down to white people in the show (see Ade abowe). The character I was most disappointed about, however, was Chrisjen Avasarala. In the book, she’s a calculating, unapologetic woman in power who’ll do anything and everything to preserve the human race. Yes, she’s an Earther, but she still doesn’t see Belters or Mars people as less than human. She’ll cuss out her immediate superior and calls her boss’s boss a “bobblehead”. To his face. She’s disrespectful to everyone and she gets away with it because she’s just that good at her job. I didn’t see any of the stuff that makes me adore her as a character in the series. And that makes me sad.

All of this said I’m excited about the second season in a way I didn’t expect to be when the first season ended.

You’re a tough guy, but I’m a nightmare wrapped in the apocalypse.

I can’t wait for Bobbie to enter the screen.

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