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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author James S. A. Corey...

Somewhere in the vast expanse of space, a group of prisoners lives in permanent captivity.

The only company they have is each other and the Belters who guard them. The only stories they know are the triumphs and crimes that brought them there. The only future they see is an empty life in an enormous room.

And then the man from Mars came along....

Set in the hardscrabble solar system of the Expanse, The Vital Abyss deepens James S. A. Corey's acclaimed series.

The Expanse (soon to be a major Syfy Channel television series)

Leviathan Wakes

Caliban's War

Abaddon's Gate

Cibola Burn

Nemesis Games

Coming Soon

Babylon's Ashes

The Expanse Short Fiction

The Butcher of Anderson Station

Gods of Risk

The Churn

Drive

©2015 James S.A. Corey (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Story
  • Brian
  • Milwaukee, WI, United States
  • 12-09-15

James S.A. Corey and Jefferson Mays!

I could listen to Jefferson Mays read these authors' writing anytime. I wish he would re-record the other stories that Erik Davies narrated.
The Story itself is a good expanse side story with a little different background on the protomolecule.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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A bit of background detail for the Expanse series

This novella (or maybe really more of a novelette) is one of several that the authors of the Expanse series have written, fleshing out the minor characters and events that were mostly off-screen in the main novels.

The Vital Abyss is a sort of a prequel to the series, filling in some backstory. In the opening, we are introduced to the main character, who as a first person narrator describes being imprisoned in some station somewhere by Martians. We don't immediately know why he and his fellow scientists are imprisoned, but when their jailers begin asking questions and looking for someone with the scientific know-how to answer some mysterious question, our protagonist begins scheming his way out, no matter what the cost. So does everyone else, and this is when the clues that have been dropped begin to fit together.

The narrator interleaves his current situation with his upbringing, and how he became the amoral sociopath he is today.

It's an interesting story, though really only for the Aha! moment when you realize where this fits into the Expanse timeline. But I can't say it was above average, as it didn't tell us anything new about the universe and the protagonist is not the sort of person whose fate you're likely to care about. Still, anyone who's already a fan of the Expanse series should enjoy this.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Gr
  • 12-20-15

Primary Psychopaths

Do not respond to punishment, apprehension, stress, or disapproval. They seem to be able to inhibit their antisocial impulses most of the time, not because of conscience, but because it suits their purpose at the time. This short story about the researchers who unleash the Protomolecule. What could they have been thinking? How could they show so little regard for others? The Josef Mengele’s of the future. The story is ok. It is good background information but it lacks the characters who fight against evil and make the Expanse stories so good.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Are you kidding me?

I would have been pissed if I found out about this much later. This is basically a huge backstory dump for the setup of the first book, and then some. This should have been in the books IMO.
Compelling listen, and probably one of the better Expanse novellas.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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These guys just get better and better.

A compelling story, sympathetic and realistic characters, fascinating and technically savvy science.

They have created a realistic and simultaneously fantastic world.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great Addition

A nice addition to the series. This was a fun and slightly informative novella that certainly enhances the story, and likely provides some depth to the future of the story as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • GEORGE
  • Grand Blanc, Michigan
  • 08-16-16

short, compelling, smart

Surprisingly tense psychological thriller set behind the events of the first Expanse novel. Grim and well paced despite very little action.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • Round Rock, TX, United States
  • 07-11-16

The least of the stories so far

Of all of the major novels and the three novellas in The Expanse series, this is the one I enjoyed the least. It was a ton of background with precious little relevance to the rest of the overarching plot of the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Really enjoyed this!

It was interesting to see the behind the scenes action from the viewpoint of the scientists working on the proto-mollecule and what happened to them after they were shut down. If you're enjoying all the Expanse books, you'll like this too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great hold over for the next full novel

Jefferson mays does an excellent job at narrating the novel. This is a great little novella to provide some additional details on what happens between events.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful