Series: The Expanse #3.5
Publisher: Orbit Books
Released: April 29, 2014
Before his trip to the stars, before the Rocinante, Amos Burton was confined to a Baltimore where crime paid you or killed you. Unless the authorities got to you first.
Set in the hard-scrabble solar system of Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War, Abaddon's Gate and the upcoming Cibola Burn, The Churn expands the world of James S. A. Corey's acclaimed Expanse series.
The Churn (a short novella set in the Expanse universe) is the kind of story where you won’t realise why you like the start until you’ve read the end, and where the story as a whole really ends up being more than the sum of its parts.
A good chunk of this story is spent establishing the very dark and very gritty nature of the environment, the people, and the events that take place. It does this beyond the point of trying too hard, back around to the point at which it’s just feels very thoroughly and well done. The downside of this is that, in a story consisting of 77 pages, there isn’t that much space left for much to actually happen. This felt annoying at the time, but as it turns out, the actual plot of this novella is pretty much an excuse for presenting the surroundings. That’s as much as I feel can be said without spoiling anything, but, suffice to say, I’m satisfied with how this story ended up.
Of all the Expanse novellas I’ve read so far in going through the books and novellas in published order, I’d say that The Churn is the most important one. The other short stories have been fun additions to the universe, but this one is pretty much be required reading for anyone who has read to, or beyond, Abaddon’s Gate.