Reposted from our friends over on Amityville Now
Some of the best hard science fiction of the last decade is destined for TV, and hopes are high.
Most everybody here at AmityvilleNow.com International HQ, Inc. LLC GlobalCo stopped reading hard science fiction quite a few years ago. Yeah, yeah, the occasional Ben Bova or Stephen Baxter or Greg Bear might lure us back temporarily, but let’s face it, most of modern-day hard sf is pretty second-rate: militarist claptrap or technobabble (and we’re not even including franchise spins like Star Trek and Star Wars).
But just in the last few years, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck combined under the pseudonym of James S.A. Corey have returned some real energy to hard SF with the “Expanse” series. And now it’s going to be on the televisor viewing box in 2015…
Leviathan’s Wake, Caliban’s War, Abaddon’s Gate and most recently Cibola Burn, as well as a handful of on-line-only novellas explore a very real interplanetary society that inhabits the near planets and the asteroids about two hundred years from now. Political unrest and tension between the inner and out planets is already high, and a sudden assault by the first interstellar threat ever encountered only makes it worse, threatening everyone from Earth to Ganymede. Every book of The Expanse is filled with believable tech, smart plotting and best of all, real and fascinating characters that you actually want to get to know. No, really.
And now the SyFy Network had decided to go straight to series with a ten-part hour-long series based on The Expanse, with both halves of S.A.Corey serving as executive producers.
Look, we all know the SyFy network is batshit crazy. They’ve produced solid gold like Battlestar Galactica (well, at least part of Battlestar Galactica is kind’a gold) from the dross of a bad Seventies show, minted money on foreign contributions like Farscape and Lost Girl, delighted bazillions with Stargate in (almost) all its incarnations (what up, Stargate: Universe?) and charming trifles like Eureka and Warehouse 13. And at the same time they’ve pissed all over classics like Oz and Alice and Dinotopia, and given us a constant, nauseating strings of low-budget baddies–not the occasional transcendental crapulousness of Sharknado, but a string of things that aren’t bad enough to be good and aren’t good enough to deserve ninety minutes of our time. (Please, do not make us watch Mega-anything vs. Dino-anything again. Ever. We will cut you.) Watching SyFy is like being forced to play with your schizophrenic cousin who’s locked in the attic, so we know there are no guarantees here.
Some of the casting looks promising. Holden, the brave but bull-headed captain of the rather amazing space ship The Rocinante, will be played by Stephen Straight of Stop-Loss and Magic City (though personally we love him most in Sky High, alongside The Flash’s Danielle Panabaker). His ridiculous tough/sexy crewmate will be played by Shohreh Aghdashloo, from Grimm and Rosewater. And the rumpled, obsessive future detective Miller will be portrayed by none other than Thomas “Punisher” Jane. Good choices all, and true to the tale.
So will The Expanse go to the heights of a BSG, or level out at the overwrought derivative weariness of a Defiance, or degrade into the misguided mess of a Helix, or fall hard and fast like a Tin Man or Neverland, or find a solid niche and play it out like a Dominion? We’ll have to wait a bit to see…but at least this time SyFy’s beginning with some very solid, very smart source materials, and are dancing with the guys what brung ‘em.
And hey: The fifth novel in the series, Nemesis Games, will release in mid-2015. You can pre-order paper or editions here now. And just for giggles, S.A Corey even wrote a Star Wars novel, Honor Among Thieves, that was released in March 2014, set in the Golden Age, right after “A New Hope” and the destruction of the Deathstar. Good times!