Written by James S.A. Corey
Published by Orbit (Hachette)
Published on June 26th 2012
Buy on Amazon, on Book Depository, or on Barnes & Noble
We are not alone.
On Ganymede, breadbasket of the outer planets, a Martian marine watches as her platoon is slaughtered by a monstrous supersoldier. On Earth, a high-level politician struggles to prevent interplanetary war from reigniting. And on Venus, an alien protomolecule has overrun the planet, wreaking massive, mysterious changes and threatening to spread out into the solar system.
In the vast wilderness of space, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante have been keeping the peace for the Outer Planets Alliance. When they agree to help a scientist search war-torn Ganymede for a missing child, the future of humanity rests on whether a single ship can prevent an alien invasion that may have already begun . . .
Caliban's War is a breakneck science fiction adventure following the critically acclaimed Leviathan Wakes.
The Expanse, part two. More space, more aliens, more missing girls… Let’s go!
I was excited to start Caliban’s War, for two very distinct reasons. Numero uno, no more Miller! What a relief not to have this annoying character’s POV chapters, seriously… Numero dos, Caliban’s War finally goes beyond the current storyline of the show, which means new and unspoiled content. Always exciting. And numero tres (what do you mean I said two reasons?), Bobbie and Avarasala are finally joining the fun!
I will say it’s something the show did right, in introducing both characters earlier to let the audience more time to get to know and love them before the shit hit the fan. And because I loved them from the show, it was easy for me to get attached to them. Also, did I mention we traded dudebro Miller for them? Amazing. 10/10. A+. Would recommend trading one annoying middle-aged white dude for two badass women of colour more often. All the time. Let’s do this!
Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. Because, at the end of the day, Caliban’s War made me gag as much as it made me smile. I will admit that the storyline was good and some one-liner made me snicker out loud when I read them. One line from Amos in particular might be my favourite in all of the saga, because it’s so over the top and random. Loved it.
That being said, Caliban’s War is once again major proof that this saga of books is written by two straight white men. And boy, does it show! You can tip your hat to The Expanse‘s diversity all you want (and I will admit, it’s one of the most diverse cast of sci-fi characters out there, in books and on screen), it doesn’t change the fact that this diversity comes with gross clichés that could have been left at the door.
Because Caliban’s War is stuffed with comments about Bobbie that are only there to objectify and fetishise her. Bobbie is perceived as hot by Holden because she’s Polynesian. That’s it. She’s from a certain ethnicity, so she’s hot, and he wants to have sex with her. Even if he’s already in a solid relationship at this point. Even if it doesn’t particularly makes sense with Holden’s characterisation. She’s Polynesian. She’s hot. The narrative is going to sexualise her for her ethnicity, and the fact that she’s tall and muscular.
Those barfing noises? Oh, that’s just me.
Caliban’s War is the perfect example of two problems here. First off, the fact that not all representation is good representation. If you are going to have a woman of colour in your story just to sexualise her, how about you…. just… not? And second, the idea that men will always see women as sexual objects, and men can only think with what’s in their pants. Because who cares if Holden otherwise gushes about how perfect Naomi is? There’s a hot girl here! Let’s talk about the hot girl! And how much sex he’d have with her!
Not to be mean, but can those types of men go back to playing D&D in their mother’s basement and leave novel writing to people who won’t put those gross ideas in their stories? Please and thank you.