The Expanse - a great sci-fi series coming to TV
The future, as initially presented by author James S. A. Corey, finds mankind having achieved space travel within our solar system but with no means to reach further out to the stars. Unfortunately, having access to additional planets and resources does little to unite humanity and instead it gives us a new way to discriminate against each other. A tenuous peace barely exists between Earth, Mars and the residents of the outer planets, and it is within this fragile environment that the discovery of an ancient alien proto-molecule lights a spark that threatens to ignite the powder keg. It all feels very plausible and makes for some great story telling.
There are currently 5 books in the series which is being made into a Syfy channel TV series that will debut on December 14, 2015. The series starts with Leviathan Wakes, which focuses on the discovery of the alien proto-molecule and brings the main characters together on board their ship, the Rocinante. Caliban's War reveals that the alien influence is not in any way contained and it also introduces some excellent new characters. Abaddon's Gate then reveals the true purpose of the alien proto-molecule and Cibola Burn explores a bit more of the history behind it. And finally, Nemesis Games shows that mankind doesn't need an alien threat to destroy itself, it can do that just fine on its own.
A small cast of interesting characters with complex backgrounds brings this space opera to life and you definitely feel like one of the crew. For audiobook fans, Jefferson Mays does an excellent job as the narrator on all of the books, but you should know that Erik Davies orignally did the narration for Cibola Burn. Erik Davies isn't a bad narrator, but the temporary transition away from Jefferson Mays was a jarring one it turned off many listeners. The book has since been re-recorded with Jefferson so make sure you pick up the right version.
It is interesting to note that James S. A. Corey is really 2 different authors (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) who take turns writing individual chapters throughout the books. It sounds clunky but they make it work and I am really looking forward to the upcoming TV series on SyFy. In my opinion, SyFy hasn't done a decent science fiction series since Battlestar Galactica and I am hoping that this is the one that breaks that trend.