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Martian vs Expanse

In wide variety of entire expanse of science fiction genre, Martians are inevitable players. Even the most popular "Little Green Men" phrase from the early comic books, at the beginning referred to the aliens from Mars. However, this year, when it comes to motion pictures, two great master pieces will come to life and all without LGM in classical meaning of the word. There will be no aliens on Mars this time and all the Martians in upcoming movie and TV series will actually be humans. Moreover, the science in background is returning to the front door and accompanying stories will immediately be more valid, more plausible and more ... amazing.

And this is what I like the most in good and old Verne's type of Sci-Fi. In short, give me more science and just a hint of fiction to spice the things up and I am happy. You probably already guessed, it is about filming amazing books I have already written about on the blog - "The Martian" by Andy Weir and "The Expanse", novel series by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. To be honest, in previous posts, I didn't write directly about these incredible novels. They were more part of the topic in posts "Mars in Movies" and "Science of Life in Solar System" and both, "The Martian" and first three novels in "The Expanse" series, inspired me to write them down in the first place. On the other hand I felt like there was more to say about Watney's and Holden's adventures and perhaps now is the time for my short review or to be precise short glimpse into it without a single spoiler. Both, the movie and first seasons of the SyFy series are set for later this year so I will focus more on the books while they are still fresh and influential in my memory banks.

When I learned about "The Martian" for the first time, what really amazed me the most was the Andy Weir story of how he wrote it, published for free on his website and people's reaction to it, which inevitably leaded to the mainstream concluding with upcoming Hollywood blockbuster. In a way, it resembles to the famous American dream from the 19th and early 20th centuries, only this time within internet background and mass media. It also gives hope for many other writers and free thinkers that not everything is hidden behind the iron doors of publishing giants or agents in suits who ultimately decide the fate of your piece when they, in most cases, make decisions that are not based by the real value of written words but more according to potential revenue and expected money from the audience at the end of the fiscal year.

I really want to believe that Andy's experience will not be just a single flame in the vastness of worldwide publishing enterprise, so we can have more "Martians" in the future and more authors in the spotlight for their work hidden behind personal websites, blogs and cheap online readers. Perhaps the main reason author published the novel on the internet at first was in the fact that his novel certainly requires elementary and even medium knowledge in science to read it with full understanding, especially in basic physics and chemistry so I hope you paid attention in school on science classes. Hopefully, the movie will be less demanding and adapted to wider audience and if we add great special effects and beautiful scenery of Wadi Rum desert I am sure "The Martian" will stand side by side with new "Star Wars" episode in December.

The novel is not just a great entertainment but also with it's tremendous educational value, this book deserves to be studied in schools. I am not saying that easily - if you are eager to know my glimpse to the current stage of human society, please read it in "What's Wrong with Society?" post. If we put aside our arrogance and eagerness for money, politics and power, wrapped inside religious dogmatic belief, education is the only thing left we can really influence and improve for our benefits. Simply put, what one teenager can learn just by reading "The Martian" about science, society and human relations within a day or two of intense reading, is probably equal to the knowledge acquired in school class. And this is a real power of one true bestseller novel.

Comparing to the Weir's book, "The Expanse" is different in a way that it is not just one single story. This is the franchise. Entire universe, designed and invented by its authors. Just like a chain stories in "Star Trek" or "Star Wars" or, the last one SyFy successfully made - "Battlestar Galactica" aired 2004-2010. I really put all my hopes into success of upcoming series, simply because if it is going to be at least half as good as the books we will have ourselves new space opera to eagerly wait each week and this time, at least in my case, with greater enthusiasm then before. The reason for this is again in following scientific premises much closer than before. At least with first three novels, if I stop now and give a single thought about the content, similarly to "The Martian", all the characters, places, events and scientific tools are pretty close to the realm of plausibility. Gravity and its changes, for example, is one of the main factors that are obeyed at all times - outside and inside the spaceships as well as on each and every space object in the Solar system. I really, really hope that SyFy will stick to this to the letter. Same goes to the evolution of human bodies who were born on different planets and moons throughout the system and how science itself evolved from our current present day to the hypothetical future of the humankind living on every rock or cold moon orbiting literally all planets where it is possible to set at least a small scientific outpost.

Another aspect of this potentially long lasting franchise is how authors invented future human society that is now polarized with vast emptiness of space where all what we have today and what both divides us and also what connects us together is still there and evolved into another form of existence. The set is entire Solar system and time frame is placed in not too far future from now so we should easily recognize our present time nicely embedded into what really might happen when humankind inevitably start sailing away from Earth. The alien plot and fringe events, at least after "Abaddon's Gate" where I am currently located with reading "The Expanse" are also finely wrought and I have all my hopes that the story will not divert too heavily into religious or pure fantasy realm.

Needless to say is that I had extremely nice reading time this year and I warmly recommend both pieces for all true Sci-Fi lovers. The humor and writing style in both "The Martian" and "The Expanse" is another level of enjoyment which is, at least to me, as important as everything else. I don't know about you but Viktor and I are already warming our 3D glasses for upcoming thanksgiving and Matt Damon adventures in Wadi Rum. Same goes for our cable operator and European broadcast of SyFy Channel that we are definitely storing to the "speed dial" again (if they finally update itself and turn the "frakking" HD on).
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