So, home after an early-shift day yesterday, I watched some more of The Expanse. It remains visually nice but muddled of story and a bit weak on that "science" stuff -- "SF" as produced by people who picture the fan base as a seething mass of Star Wars and Star Trek fans, but fail to understand the specific collections of tricks that keep those two series afloat. The setting and much of the "feel," the political tension between Earth and The Belt, is deeply derivative of C. J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe, possibly with a side order of Larry Niven's Known Worlds -- and they both do it far better than this TV series has managed. Of course, their casts and crews are orders of magnitude less expensive....
An antidote to bad art is good art; I picked up a paperback of Kim Stanley Robinson's The Martians, which appears to be a collection of short stories set in the same universe as the Red Mars novels. He and I would probably have terrible arguments about political systems, but he is one of the very best writers working in SF, ever. His settings are lived-in and he gets the science either right or well-handwaved without being obtrusive about it. In terms of clarity and precision, his work cannot be beaten and is only rarely equalled.
4 weeks ago