Review: Leviathan Rising
Leviathan Rising in many ways reminds me of older styles of Science Fiction. It’s a story set in our near future. Mankind has colonized Mars and set up stations asteroid belts, but so far has not left this solar system. Their technology doesn’t allow them anything like hyperdrive and they don’t have food replicators, so their journeys look more like the space exploration that we know today.
The story is told from the perspective of several characters, switching perspective from the captain of a ship that is attacked, and a police officer who works on a station in the belt. The two do not meet each other for some time. At first it isn’t clear why Miller, the police officer, is involved. In time he became my favorite character in the book.
The solar system is soon split between warring camps as virtually the entire human race becomes involved in what could become a genocidal war, and it isn’t apparent who started it.
The characters seem most identified with the ‘belters,’ people who grew up on stations built within the asteroid belt. They are obviosly physically different, since are taller and less thick around the body, and they feel very different from everyone who grew up on Earth or Mars.
The belters as a group feel they are taken advantage of and used poorly both by the colonists of Mars, by Earth. There is enough bad feeling that at the beginning of the book an organization already exists that could probably be described as terrorist. When a ship is destroyed, people are quick to take up arms while they try to figure out who is responsible.
The plot develops over the course of the entire book, as the protagonists find out what caused all the trouble. I won’t reveal any spoilers here but I thought that the reveal at the end was interesting, and it set an interesting scene for any sequel in the future. Apparently this book is kicking off a series of stories to follow called the expanse, which shows how humanity slowly spreads out from our home solar system.
One strong point of the novel was excellent starship battles. The battles describe weapons that can conceivably destroy a ship in seconds, which is of course quite realistic. It’s in the near future and they don’t have any sort of shield or force fields, which means they have little in the way of defense besides speed. On the other hand, they do have all sorts of powerful mass drivers and nuclear weapons, as well as beam weapons, so pilots are forced to keep their ship moving.
This book is intended to be the first of a number of books in a series called the expanse, which will describe a future where humanity begins to spread out from our home and move outside our solar system. I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.