Holden: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 230

Self is amazed, simply amazed that she’s so far managed to hold onto the thread of this story, even through a) pandemic b) riots and c) lack of direction from xxxxxxxx, not to mention d) insomnia.

But it’s Holden. Guy just finished reminiscing about his dog Rufus. While in outer space. While headed to an encounter — maybe fatal — with proto-molecule (The Roci, as stated on p. 226, is over “30,000 kilometers away”). That is so, so Holden. Hard as it is to believe, the guy even manages to fall asleep for who knows how long en route to his destination (But why not? Space isn’t always exciting. Especially if you’ve lived in it all your life)

With the infinite and unbroken black all around him, and the only visible spot of light coming in from the blue sphere directly ahead, it was easy to feel like he was in some vast tunnel, slowly moving toward the exit. The human mind didn’t do well with infinite spaces. It wanted walls, horizons, limits. It would create them if it had to.

His suit beeped at him to let him know it was time to replenish his 02 supply.

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Self is sooo glad they’ve stopped making a big deal of his radiation exposure, because she would not like to visualize Holden with all his hair falling out. Not that this is for sure a symptom of radiation over-exposure. But having watched a few episodes of The Expanse, the hair is very nice, yes. It would be a pity to lose it. Just sayin’.

She ordered the next two books after this one, but not sure if she should go all the way, since she knows it will be super-angsty.

To stretch out the pleasure, she’ll alternate The Expanse with other books on her reading list, like Olive, Again (which was highly recommended by a friend in Canada with impeccable reading taste)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Bull: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 217

Yes, it has taken half the afternoon for self to move ahead nine pages. But to be honest, she’s been so distracted by the news. Last night, she watched the escalation of the protests and there were rubber bullets being fired (at journalists) and tear gas and all kinds of mayhem. She prays no one gets hurt tonight.

As the day winds down, self settles down for her most deeply immersive reading. It’s a good thing she stumbled upon The Expanse (she’s only seen one season, the fourth), she really didn’t expect to read beyond Leviathan Wakes, but here she is.

She’s liking the split point of view more and more (At first, she found it annoying, she was impatient with the Miller sections in Leviathan Wakes and the Prax sections in Caliban’s War). In Abbadon’s Gate, there is not that much Holden (Self loves his point of view, always) but Clarissa/Melba’s gives her chills. And she didn’t expect the authors to use Bull’s at the point when the Behemoth (she only wishes they’d thought of a better name) enters the Ring, but here we are at p. 217, and the Bull point of view is very effective here:

They made the transit slowly, the thrust gravity hardly more than a tendency for things to drift toward the floor. Bull couldn’t say whether that was a technical decision on Sam’s part meant to keep them from moving too quickly in the uncanny reduced speed beyond the ring, or Ashford giving the Earth and Mars ships the time to catch up so that they’d all be passing through at more or less the same time. Only if it was that, it wouldn’t have been Ashford. That kind of diplomatic thinking was Pa’s.

Probably it was just that the main drive couldn’t go slow enough, and this was as fast as the maneuvering thrusters could move them.

galaxy wallpaper

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Ring: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 208

At the center of the spectral Ring is a station.

James Holden: “We’re calling it a station pretty much only because it sits at the center of the slow zone, and we’re making the entirely unfounded assumption that some sort of control station for the gates would be located there. The station has no visible breaks in its surface. Nothing that looks like an airlock, or an antenna, or a sensor array, or anything.”

Beyond the station is a “slow zone.”

Holden again: “… the most intriguing factor of the slow zone, and the one that give it its name, is the absolute speed limit of six hundred meters per second. Any object above the quantum level traveling faster than that is locked down by what seems to be an inertial dampening field, and then dragged off … ”

Think of the slow zone as a kind of garbage disposal, only GIANT. Super giant. Because it dragged away an entire spaceship called the Y Que. And the only reason the Rocinante made it through the zone was because Holden gave his pilot a nav package that specified a speed just below that of the Y Que’s. He’s pretty smart, and that is why she has no problem with his being the Captain of the Rocinante, even though not everyone may be enamored with his character.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Abaddon’s Gate, p. 174: Speechless With the Thrill of It All

Just so you know, self has yet to encounter an Abaddon in this installment.

And if you were waiting to meet a Caliban in Book # 2 of The Expanse, self is very sorry for you, because that installment was, like Book # 1, around 600 pages.

Anyhoo, why worry with who or what or why Abaddon is. The only thing you need to know is that Jim Holden is still the Captain of the Rocinante in Abaddon’s Gate, and with Alex (the best navigator and pilot in the entire solar system) still piloting the ship, high jinks of course ensue.

BRING IT ON!

p. 174:

  • Holden sent the nav package to Alex, half expecting him to refuse. Hoping. Instead, the Roci accelerated for an endless twenty-seven minutes, followed by a nauseating zero-g spin that lasted less than four seconds, and a deceleration burn that lasted four and a half minutes and knocked every single person on the ship unconscious.
sky space dark galaxy

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

The Inexorable

Abaddon’s Gate, pp. 116 – 117:

  • The flotilla was coming to the last leg of its journey. They had passed the orbit of Uranus weeks ago, and the sun was a bright star in an overwhelming abyss of night sky. All the plumes of fire were pointed toward the Ring now, bleeding off their velocity with every passing minute.

Self is enjoying Abaddon’s Gate so much more than Caliban’s War. She would rather have space travel and adventure than any other kind of reading, at the moment.

Stay safe, dear blog readers.

The Generation Ship Nauvoo

Abaddon’s Gate, p. 53:

He passed through the transfer station and down towards his office. The rooms and corridors here were all built aslant, waiting for the spin gravity that would never come.

Must take a moment to thank the authors for giving ships names like Rocinante, the Somnambulist, and the Y Que. Even Nauvoo has something inexplicably romantic about it.

Unfortunately, the Nauvoo is re-named the Behemoth. And there’s nothing romantic about that.

What’s in a ship’s name? Something very, very important. Millenium Falcon is a dud. The Nostromo is fabulous.

Self is not above borrowing for her ship’s names: Kobayashi Maru (thank you, Star Trek training exercise) and Mohenjo Daro.

Self’s great-grandfather wrote for an underground newspaper in Manila. He used a pen name: Ang Kiukok.

In her next science fiction story, she’ll use Ang Kiukok as the name for a very wee ship. A racer, maybe. She’ll connect the two words and name her ship Angkiukok.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Abaddon’s Gate (Book #3 of The Expanse), p. 13

Last night, she read the last page of Hidden Valley Road, and was so moved. The family imploded, the strain was too much. But running through it all was the indomitable will of three women: the mother who produced six schizophrenic sons, the youngest daughter who endured sexual abuse, and the scientist who studied schizophrenia and kept such meticulous notes that even when her study was shelved, another set of researchers found her observations invaluable. It was such a perfect ending. Self cried!

Self is back to reading about the adventures of Jim Holden and his plucky crew. Must say, it was a relief to be back with the familiar characters of The Expanse. She can now see the absolute value of a fiction series. You get vested in the characters, of course you do. Even though she didn’t admire Caliban’s War as much as Leviathan Wakes, it had a truly thrilling back half.

Anyhoo, this installment begins with a jaw-dropping action prologue (of course) before re-uniting us with the crew of the Rocinante:

Amos had spent thirty grand during a stopover on Callisto, buying them some after-market engine upgrades. When Holden pointed out that the Roci was already capable of accelerating fast enough to kill her crew and asked why they’d need to upgrade her, Amos had replied, “Because this shit is awesome.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Wee Bit of Humor

There were a few Galvin children who did not develop schizophrenia, Michael being one of them. When his mother was in her 80s, he agreed to assume some of the responsibility for her day-to-day care.

Hidden Valley Road, p. 288:

He soon learned that however frail she might have been, Mimi was still in charge. He would offer her Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner, knowing how much she loved it, and she would refuse, saying she’d had it the night before. He’d make spaghetti instead, and she’d say there was too much of it.

“It got a little confounding,” Michael said. “I almost dumped it on her head.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Thirty-Sixth Hole

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family is an extraordinary book. And she didn’t even pick it up because it was an Oprah Book Club selection. She was just working off a list. In between tearing through science fiction, she decided to read nonfiction.

She’s on Chapter 20, in which Margaret, the older Galvin girl, is whisked off, at just shy of 14, to live with a family she barely knows, a family of enormous wealth, who started off on the same economic plane as the Galvins but found luck, such enormous luck.

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Sam Gary was “a natural risk-taker. For years, he had been known around Denver as Dry Hole Sam … In the mid-1960s, when everyone in the oil exploration business was drilling in Wyoming, Sam started drilling just north of the state line in the southeastern corner of Montana. Sam drilled thirty-five dry holes.” — p. 158

  • On June 29, 1967, one of the new wells — Sam’s thirty-sixth try — struck oil in Bell Creek Field in Montana. Sam set up four-hundred new wells, hanging on to 30 percent ownership.

Sam Gary was “about the same age as” Margaret’s father. By the time Margaret moves in with the Garys, they have a house in Denver with a housekeeper, a cook, and various other servants. They own a condo in the main drag of Vail and spend every weekend on their hundred-acre ranch in Montana, just up against Flathead Lake.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Read more books.

 

The Youngest Son

As her sons start to come apart (inexorably, with no let-up), the father, who internalizes everything, and never talks about the disintegration of the family, suffers a stroke and is hospitalized for six months. At this time, the mother has her youngest son, Peter, committed. He was in hockey camp and started to act out. He was sent to Brady Hospital, “a private psychiatric hospital in Colorado Springs.” (How long, self wonders, did it take for Robert Kolker to collect these masses of material? Because the research is incredible, the kind of thing that she can easily see someone spending 20 years compiling.)

  • In early September, Mimi finally visited and saw Peter wearing only underpants, strapped to a bed with no sheets on it. The whole room reeked of urine …

The mother pulled him out immediately (During all this travail, her husband was still in the hospital: he was “paralyzed on the right side of his body”). She puts Peter in the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. Doctor’s note: when patient became “more provocative” (whatever that means), his “family thought that was his normal level of functioning.”

p. 134: When boy # 6, Joe, visits boy # 10, Peter, he was “able to tell the patient’s therapist that at times in the past he has had symptomatology similar to Peter’s.”

At this point, five boys have shown signs of personality disturbance. Self knows from the reviews that there’s one more boy who gets diagnosed schizophrenic. Which one? This shell game is agonizing for self, imagine the feelings of the parents (well, the feelings of the mother, because the father was pretty much out of it after his stroke).

So, drugs. There were a lot of drugs around. Four boys “into LSD” and one “into black beauties and other uppers.” The youngest child “smoked pot at age five.” The mother was deeply, observantly Catholic. She cared. Nevertheless, this is what happened to her. And on p. 135, a panel of doctors sat down and told Mimi that in their findings, she was the cause of her son’s disintegration. (Maybe she was, who knows. The jury’s still  out. But she was cut off from her own parents, and her grandparents, though concerned, felt helpless)

Stay safe, dear blog readers.

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