Review: Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse, #6)

Babylon’s Ashes, the 6th book in The Expanse Series by James S.A. Corey

What an amazing book. Maybe absence from the series makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe it’s a timeliness of reading it with our nation the way it seemingly is. Maybe it’s just a good damn book. Any of the ways, I enjoyed it a lot.

We are the stories that people tell each other

“We’re not people,” he said. “We’re the stories that people tell each other about us. Belters are crazy terrorists. Earthers are lazy gluttons. Martians are cogs in a great big machine.”
“Men are fighters,” Naomi said, and then, her voice growing bleak. “Women are nurturing and sweet and they stay home with the kids. It’s always been like that. We always react to the stories about people, not who they really are.”
“And look where it got us,” Holden said.

The book has some beautiful thought processes throughout. This was far more an interplanetary drama and interpersonal relationships. Three sides of a conflict, multiple sides within each. A tangled web of emotions and logic. A dying planet and subsequently a dying humanity in the balance. Yes, a couple great and fleeting torpedo and PDC charges but the real grit here was humanity.

“[The] Mind is made from analogies,” Josep said, not needing her to contribute to the conversation. “Change in ages, change in the frame. Was in against out before. Turning into connected against unconnected now. Free Navy. Consolidated fleet. The ones who shrug off the chains against the ones who tie themselves together.”

When facts don’t matter

I thought if you told people facts, they’d draw their conclusions, and because the facts were true, the conclusions mostly would be too. But we don’t run on facts. We run on stories about things. About people.

I resonate with this. Facts should matter but sadly spin and misdirection have been winning in our world for far too long and with social controls–er–media it’s currently at a peak of counterinteligence vs critical thinking. I see Holden and I understand him. He holds things sometimes a bit too close, let’s it infect him or weigh him a bit too far–which if you look at his character it’s been building further and further into a more pragmatic view which is good for him.

The testing of history

Kings were always the last to feel the famine.

Again, timely? Reonate much? Kleptocrats, oligarchs, the 1%. With a chain of humanity that runs the gammut how do we weigh the many with a view of the few?

History itself was a massive n=1 study, irreproducible. It was what made it so difficult to learn from.

Loved this quote. No matter what we do we only really have 1 chance. It’s hard to learn from the state you’re living in. We can only try and do what we can with what we know and hope it’s good enough.

If wars began with rage, they ended with exhaustion.

Wars are waged by a passionate few pushing others to the front lines. When it’s over and the dust settles what is left? Are we better for it? How are we changed? What will reconcile?

So much great food for thought

Sixth in it’s series and striking a chord with me on so many levels. It was an entertaining read, it was telling, and it makes you wonder what is next for this universe. If you enjoyed the series in any way up to now, I’d definitely recommend putting #6 on your shelf.