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A passage from The Expanse


Member and remember
Mar 25, 2013
I'm very much enjoying reading Comey's series The Expanse. Today I came across a passage that shows why. It's not an important passage. It's far into the series (several chapters into the fourth book), and it's not an especially important scene. It's just a character coming back home to Earth to take care of some business. He's just arrived in New York City. Here's the passage.

"The street level view of New York wasn't all that different from the Baltimore streets he's grown up on. Lots of tall buildings, lots of automated street traffic, lots of people stratified into two distinct groups: those who had someplace to be, and those who didn't."

That last bit really caught me. Urban life summed up in a phrase--those who have someplace to be, and those who don't. Genuinely good writing is compact but unfolds well.

But notice, too, the first part of that sentence. This is SF. The authors could have chosen any three things for their triplet. But they're smart enough to remind us that yes, we're in NYC, but this is still science fiction, dear reader, so here's a reminder so subtle you'll barely notice it. It reads like a grace note in music.

The writing has moments like that all through the series. It's great to have someone who can remind me why reading has meant so much to me.


Well-Known Member
Jul 1, 2018
I haven't read this book yet, but you're right, that really is an effective passage.