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The Expanse

1,249 words

The Expanse is a SyFy network original series that is now nearing the end of its third season. The Expanse is the most imaginative and absorbing science fiction series since the reboot of Battlestar Galactica (2003–2009).

The Expanse is based on a series of novels by S. A. Corey. I have not read them, so I cannot judge the accuracy of the adaptation, but I am delighted that there are eight, soon to be nine novels, which will provide material for future seasons. SyFy canceled the series after the ongoing third season, but Amazon Video has picked it up. So I hope that we will all be binge-watching The Expanse for years to come.

The Expanse is set more than 200 years in the future. Mankind has colonized Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The Earth is ruled by the United Nations. Former nations are referred to merely as “economic zones.” Once gifted with abundance, the Earthlings thought only of present, personal indulgences, not the future of mankind, leaving the world massively overpopulated and polluted. A lot of the population is unemployed and exists on the dole.

Mars, by contrast, has a forbidding environment which has bred a Spartan ethos. The entire planet is dedicated to terraforming Mars to create a livable environment for distant future generations. The Earthlings, of course, regard the Martians as fascistic.

In the Asteroid Belt and beyond are the “Belters,” the frontiersmen of the system. They do not, however, resemble American pioneers so much as the proletarian rabble one would find in seaports. Their culture seems like a fusion of Irishmen, Juggalos, and the global South, forever haggling, carousing, toasting, and complaining about injustice in a sing-songy, Irish-Jamaican inflected pidgin English.

Like all cultural products today, the casting of The Expanse is maximally politically correct and diverse, with whites, blacks, Asians, Middle Easterners, South Asians, and all manner of mystery meat. There is also maximum cultural eclecticism and confusion. An Iranian actress plays an Indian woman named Crisjen Avasarala. A white man is named Sadavir Errinwright. A Chinaman is named Jules-Pierre Mao. A mulatto bears the name Naomi Nagata. And, most ridiculously, an Iranian actor plays an Arab from Mars who talks like a good old boy from Texas. You get the picture.

The Expanse, like other such science fiction, projects a future that is a bit more diverse and exotic than the present, ignoring the fact that if present trends continue, in 200 years, there will be no diversity. There will just be a despoiled earth swarming with a homogeneous population of brown hominids who are too dumb and violent on average to sustain and advance technological civilization.

Politically correct science fiction defers the ultimate consequences of diversity to a still more distant future because viewers would be revolted by a vision of panmixia. They would not watch shows populated exclusively by people with whom they feel no identification. Beyond that, whites today cannot be taught to miscegenate our race out of existence if we cannot identify with people on the screen doing the same thing 200 years from now.

Thus The Expanse features two very white Alpha Males James Holden (played by Steven Strait) and Amos Burton (played by Wes Chatham), both of whom regard the mulatto Naomi Nagata as a sexual prize. Holden, the main hero, actually ends up sleeping with her (of course).

In short, the purpose of politically correct science fiction is not to portray the homogeneous dystopia of “diversity,” but to promote it by treating miscegenation merely as a way of expanding individual sexual options while veiling the ultimate collective consequences from us.

But if you can set aside the odious racial politics of The Expanse (which is no worse than anything else on TV) and just focus on the story, the series is highly rewarding.

The plot of the first three novels/seasons deals with mankind’s first contact with an intelligent and deadly alien life form, and the almost complete inability of our ruling elites to deal with it in a rational, prudent, and ethical manner. Instead, The Expanse offers a portrait of a civilization whose political, economic, and scientific elites are almost entirely sociopathic.

When the alien life form is first encountered by industrialist Jules-Pierre Mao, it is simply a blue goo which is dubbed the “proto-molecule.” Mao’s first reaction is to weaponize it and sell it to the main rival powers, Earth and Mars. To do that, however, human guinea pigs are required, and to remove any moral qualms about such experiments, a group of scientists voluntarily undergo a procedure that turns them into sociopaths. And once they become sociopaths, well, there’s no limit to the scope of their experiments.

The proto-molecule, however, apparently having assimilated a sufficient number of human test subjects, attains a kind of emergent intelligence. It develops a mind and agenda of its own, which sets the system reeling.

Mankind is standing on the brink of the greatest discovery—and the greatest danger—in its history, so naturally the imbeciles who run Earth and Mars go to war. It is all extremely bleak and chilling, but highly imaginative and involving.

Of course there would be no story without some good characters who do their best to save mankind from the proto-molecule and an even more formidable enemy—our own leaders. The good guys are the crew of the spaceship Rocinante: James Holden, who is a morally earnest knightly hero; Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), the engineer; Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), the pilot; and Amos Burton, a mechanic and thug.

Other good characters are UN Deputy Undersecretary Crisjen Avasarala, played by the Persian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo; Avasarala’s faithful paladin and spy, Cotyar Ghazi, played by Lebanese actor Nick Tarabay; Martian soldier Roberta Draper, played by a Polynesian actress Frankie Adams; Methodist minister Annushka “Anna” Volovodov, played by Elizabeth Mitchell; and Joe Miller, a detective on Ceres Station in the Belt played by Thomas Jane.

All of them stand out by having a moral center and working to prevent humanity’s (self-)destruction.

My favorite characters are Avasarala and Amos. The husky-voiced Avasarala dresses and comports herself like a Bollywood diva. She is a powerful woman who has not masculinized herself in the least. She is shrewd and ruthless, capable of using Machiavellian means to moral ends. She ends up saving, and ruling, the world—and deserves it.

Amos is a thug with a sketchy past from Baltimore, which has not mellowed in 200 years. A lot of viewers probably regard him as a “psycho,” and perhaps they are meant to. But Amos clearly has a moral compass. He is capable of loyalty, justice, and righteous anger. What makes him scary to most people is that he is quintessentially Aryan: taciturn, cold, hard, unsentimental, and utterly ruthless in meting out death to evildoers. Played by the hulking, charismatic Wes Chatham, Amos steals every scene he is in.

Like many series, The Expanse had a bit of a wobbly start before getting its stride. I confess, for instance, I find the noir gumshoe shtick of Miller, who is prominent in the first season, to be annoying and often ridiculous. But after the second episode, I found myself binge-watching to the end of season two.

With its complex characters and plots and its gritty, near future setting, The Expanse has much of the same appeal as Firefly—and given that Firefly is one of the best science fiction series ever, that is a strong recommendation indeed.



  1. Othmar
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    No matter how good a story may be these days, I can’t watch anything with forced multiculturalism and racemixing in it.. I’ll pass

  2. leech
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    An excellent show, Corey is a Visionary..

  3. Benjamin
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    > “Politically correct science fiction defers the ultimate consequences of diversity to a still more distant future because viewers would be revolted by a vision of panmixia…”

    This is why “Dune” and the subsequent novels are so great– literally everyone is White sans a handful of Asians and Space Jews (yes, literally lol). There was a great podcast about Dune from like five years ago that I think either you guys here at CC or Alternative-Right dot com did. If anyone has the link, plz reply with it.

    > “When the alien life form is first encountered by industrialist Jules-Pierre Mao, it is simply a blue goo which is dubbed the ‘proto-molecule’…”

    This is one thing that’s always annoyed me about sci-fi: almost all of the aliens are portrayed as bi-pedal human-esque creatures. I mean, I realize they do that to cut costs and as a method of exploring current social or political issues without being blatant, and because its hard to identify with non-Humanoids– most “sci-fi” isn’t *really* sci-fi… but the realistic part of my brain always goes “most life in the universe is probably ameboas or slime mold growing on the side of some rock” or “given that insects are the most common land lifeform on Earth, space aliens who were successful are probably of a similar persuasion

    Anyhow, these kinds of articles, cultural related ones, are the area where-in the alt-right can move forward most easily. Lots more people who are de-facto right-wing, but not intellectual, would read something like this and be like “huh, this is a decent article, and its on one of those ‘alt-right’ websites… hmm, these guys don’t seem like big scary evil racists, they’re not weirdos totally removed from society, they’re into the same kinds of things I do”, and that’s how you can hook a large number of people.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Thanks. That’s why I write these reviews. I could write reviews of novels or books in philosophy and political theory. And of course I sometimes do. But popular culture coverage brings new people to the site, and some of them stay. I have actually met people (that’s plural, as in more than one) who claim to have begun their journey to White Nationalism by reading my review of The Dark Knight.

      • Frank
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        You should also mention that the books (which I have read and enjoyed, despite their problems) have the same levels of diversity as the TV show, and most characters are the same ethnicity on TV as they are in the books.

        Interestingly, Bobbie, the badass female warrior who is good at everything and also nice, is described in in the books as Samoan. In perhaps the only non-cosmetic example of human biological diversity being realistically discussed in The Expanse this explains her success in fights with men – she’s the size of an average man, and so, combined with her training as a Martian Marine, it’s plausible that she’s a force to be reckoned with.

        The authors subverted the trope of “women who can inexplicably win hand-to-hand fights with similarly trained men” in another way, with another female character who, in the books, has to use artificial adrenal gland stimulation to win a fair hand-to-hand fight with a man.

        Another theme in the books is the idea that ‘racism’ now refers to animosity between Belters and Inners. Generations in low gravity have changed Belters, and although the Belter/Inner conflict is essentially political, the authors keep trying to shoehorn a point about the conflict is driven by bigotry after spending several books setting up a plausible historical materialist explanation for the conflict.

        However, most unfortunately, there is almost no indication of why it really matters, that for instance, Mariner Valley on Mars was settled by mostly Chinese and Indians, who inexplicably adopted the West Texas accent of a presumed Hispanic or White minority who had that accent? Would it be different if they were all Hispanic or all White? If they were Koreans? The Expanse’s answer is emphatically ‘No, they would just be a different colour and have different food and slang’.

    • R_Moreland
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink
  4. Petronius
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    “But if you can set aside the odious racial politics of The Expanse (which is no worse than anything else on TV) and just focus on the story…”

    I can’t fathom how you can succeed doing this. It would spoil all the fun for me.

  5. Nick
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    In older sci-fi shows like Babylon 5 suspension of disbelief was needed to get past the notoriously bad CGI but now that the effects are much more polished this function of imagination has to be put to getting passed space negroes from Mars.

    It’s a good show but of all the racial kookiness it was the Martian marines that really got to me. I think probably because Mars was the most compelling of the three civilizations and the most aryan in its ethos. This was very likely intentional. Imagine if the Martian civilization was entirely white (and without female marines), it would be *problematic* unless they were portrayed as a 1 dimensional hitlerian threat- which to the credit of the show they are not.

    Good review.

    • Benjamin
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      I became a huge fan of Babylon 5 while growing up in the 90s.

      All of the Cultural Marxist BS in the show didn’t even register in my mind until I became more politically mature and was like “oh, okay, President Clark is the big bad evil racist fascist and Sheridan is the multi-cultural array of aliens who saves the galaxy”.

      That said, I still very much enjoy the show. Extremely well done.

      The difference between us on the right and leftists is that, rightists can enjoy very well done leftist propaganda, even while realizing its propaganda, just for the story, narrative, etc, whereas leftists would kvetch and shreik to no end about anything even slightly right wing.

      • Othmar
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:43 am | Permalink

        “The difference between us on the right and leftists is that, rightists can enjoy very well done leftist propaganda..” – that’s true only to a point, once I see a White woman with a black man(or reverse gender) getting skin-on-skin contact it’s game over and that happens pretty much every time sooner or later in every movie or series

  6. K
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    “Politically correct science fiction defers the ultimate consequences of diversity to a still more distant future because viewers would be revolted by a vision of panmixia”

    I think the majority of people think that whites won’t go extinct. Even when elites rail how whites are going to be a minority, most people don’t make the connection what that means with low fertility rates. I think this show representative how people expect the world to look like. They are that *naive*. And the nonwhites believe they can leech off whites forever. The only people that genuinely believe genocide are well jews.

  7. Kim carsons
    Posted May 25, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    “And, most ridiculously, an Iranian actor plays an Arab from Mars who talks like a good old boy from Texas. You get the picture”

    Yes I get the picture. Funny how the so called Iranian Actor is an American born actor with
    an American accent. (Who would have thunk it?

    AMERIKA – Cop of the universe – if you’re not white you’re not really American, right?

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