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James S. A. Corey looking back on The Expanse

By Kobo • December 03, 2021Kobo in Conversation Podcast

"By the time we got to books 5 and 6, whatever the next chapter needed to be, whoever was free could do that."

"So it started out where we would split it by character. But by the time we got to books 5 and 6, Daniel's right, it was whoever had time. Because by that point we were also producing on the television show."

Writing duo Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham are better known to fans as James S. A. Corey, author of The Expanse, the epic science fiction series that has just concluded with Leviathan Falls. We spoke with them about the surprising seed of the 9-volume series and what they learned from working on The Expanse TV show, which is also drawing to a close.

Leviathan Falls by James S. A. Corey

The biggest science fiction series of the decade comes to an incredible conclusion in the ninth and final novel in James S.A. Corey’s Hugo-award winning space opera that inspired the Prime Original series.

View eBook    View Audiobook

It should come as no surprise that Ty and Daniel have strong views about what constitutes a good book-to-screen adaptation:

  • "The Martian was a fantastic adaptation of Andy [Weir]'s book."
  • "The first couple seasons of Game of Thrones when it was based on the books: I think most fans were thrilled with that adaptation."
  • "I'm a huge fan of The Queen's Gambit. I loved that book for years before they adapted it -- and I was very pleased with the adaptation."

Growing up, Ty was a big fan of science fiction and fantasy:

  • "I had all the Tolkien stuff--and the Tolkien rip-off stuff too! As long as there were elves and sword fights and the occasional elf -- I was reading it."
  • "I was really, really into short stories. I had dozens of collections of short stories. I read Isaac Asimov's collection Before the Golden Age cover to cover a bunch of times."
  • "I had a novella collection that included 5 classic novellas, one of which was The Stars My Destination. [...] It's not a good book for an 11-year-old, but I read that novella a dozen times. All the other scifi and fantasy I was reading there were heroes. [...] And then you get to Gully Foyle in this novella [...] he's an awful human, but he's fascinating."
    • And on the novella's author Alfred Bester: "he'd throw out five novel-length ideas per page. I don't think I've ever read anybody since then who can use more novel-length ideas as background info than that guy. He had an astonishing creativity--he invented cyberpunk as an aside!"

Daniel's tastes tended to be more wide-ranging:

  • "I was an omnivore growing up. I had a bunch of Larry Niven and Arthur C. Clarke stuff. I had Dorothy Sayers mysteries. I ended up reading Margaret Atwood, probably way too young. Pretty much anything I could stuff in my eye holes."
  • And one surprising author has left a lifetime impression on him: "bell hooks is one of the best thinkers on American culture I've ever run across. The Will to Change is the one I always hand out to people."

They've had less time to keep up with current releases, though a few books stand out:

  • Daniel: "There's a really awesome YA novel about vampires called Peeps by Scott Westerfeld."
  • Ty: "I became a huge Joe Hill fan when I read him in Don Joseph Adams' zombie anthology." "And I've read everything Stephen King has ever written."

As for their next space opera project: "it's the disappointing love child of Frank Herbert and Ursula K. LeGuin."

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