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The Reading Jackalope

Cibola Burn

Cibola Burn - James S.A. Corey Book 4 in the Expanse series is their colonization/western novel. I have always loved these kinds of novels, both historical colonization novels to futuristic ones. I realize that they're often fraught with political issues (and historical novels with a colonization bent often ignore those issues) but that doesn't change the fact that I could read stories about people going to the edge of civilization and building themselves a new life all day every day. When I was younger I wore out a copy of The Swiss Family Robinson I read it so often, as in there were pages falling out of the novel wore it out. So this novel is probably my favorite of the series so far.

The rings have opened, and there are thousands of suns behind them. Suns with inhabital planets. And while people back on Earth and Mars are calling for order a group of desperate Ganymede survivors push through the gate in order to start a new life for themselves. Not to be outdone, a company pushes through legislation from the UN declaring that world (which was, of course, found to be rich in some rare or) theirs and send a group of scientists and engineers to form their own colony. The arrival of the scientists is met with violence from the Ganymede survivors and Jim Holden and his crew are sent to mediate. Unfortunately when they arrive they find that the violence between the two groups of people is hardly the worst of their problems as the remains of the alien civilization starts to wake up and turn the planet against them.

It's a man v. man v. nature story, and I couldn't be happier. The simmering tensions between earthers, martians, and belters comes to a boil. Those tensions have always been in the novels, giving them flavor as the writers try to work out issues of prejudice and human tribalism. But here they come to the forefront as you have the Ganymede survivors (belters) pitted against the UN Scientists (Earthers mainly). I'll be honest, I was pretty much on the side of the Ganymede survivors, they arrived on the planet first and started to build a home, why should that home be threatened because some company from earth got the government to say the planet was theirs. But I'm firmly on the side of people, not corporations. However, the real villain of this novel is a company man, and in many ways is the face of all that is wrong with corporations staking claim in people's lives. A man who so believes in the charter of this company trying to claim the planet that he's willing to make sure everyone on the planet dies in order to secure that claim. I think I hated him like I have hated no other antagonist in the novels so far.