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Publisher's Summary

Hugo Award Winner for Best Series

A novella set in the hard-scrabble world of James S. A. Corey's NYT-best-selling Expanse series, The Vital Abyss is the secret history of the cataclysmic events that occurred on Eros station, and the revelation of what came after...Now a Prime Original series.

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...
 

The Expanse

  • Leviathan Wakes
  • Caliban's War
  • Abaddon's Gate
  • Cibola Burn
  • Nemesis Games
  • Babylon's Ashes
  • Persepolis Rising
  • Tiamat's Wrath
  • ​Leviathan Falls
  • Memory's Legion 

The Expanse Short Fiction

  • Drive
  • The Butcher of Anderson Station
  • Gods of Risk
  • The Churn
  • The Vital Abyss
  • Strange Dogs
  • Auberon
  • Memory's Legion
©2015 James S.A. Corey (P)2015 Hachette Audio

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What listeners say about The Vital Abyss

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

16 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this 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.

6 people found this helpful

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short, compelling, smart

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

3 people found this 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.

2 people found this 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.

2 people found this 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.

2 people found this helpful

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juicy mini installment

Where does The Vital Abyss rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I love the "insert" stories. This one is really good!!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Vital Abyss?

For me, **Spoiler** hearing Dresdan speaking to whats-his-name, the main character about the ethics of animal testing. I liked that and was surprised it came from Dresdan.

Which scene was your favorite?

Finding out what they did to the Martians.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wanted to listen to the whole thing in one sitting, yes. That's not always possible though.

2 people found this 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 people found this helpful