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The Vital Abyss

An Expanse Novella
Narrated by: Jefferson Mays
Series: The Expanse, Book 5.5
Length: 2 hrs and 26 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (88 ratings)

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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 comes along....

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

©2017 James S. A. Corey (P)2017 Little Brown Publishing Group

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Short, but interesting

This is a short side story that gives a little background for one of the Protogen scientists. It is an interesting peek into his mind, since it seems he'll be an important part of the next books. It's by no means essential though.

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Interesting background for a background figure

It was interesting to hear this background story for Cortazar, giving us a bit of understanding of how he might have become the enabling sociopath we know. I did get a bit confused with the timeline: we went straight from Eros to the Gates in an eyeblink, and I wondered if I might have skipped a bit. Towards the end, Jefferson Mayes' rendition of The Martian has an amusing echo of Ron Swanson.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for matt hall
  • matt hall
  • 08-30-17

Astonishing

I'm a big fan of the expanse series, and this is an interesting thread which sits alongside the narrative of the first six books. It adds some intriguing details and follows events from an unusual perspective.

The real joy of this novella, though, is the superb prose and vivid characterisation of the main protagonist. This is without doubt some of the best and most sophisticated writing that science fiction has to offer.

If you're after a romp or an action fix, this isn't for you. If you're looking for an exploration of a difficult character which includes some uncomfortable empathising with a characters journey into amoral obsession then this is worth your time.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr P Eldridge
  • 08-16-17

Excellent addition to Expanse universe

An alternative look at Protogen and the project that led to the release of the protomolecule on Eros station from one of the researchers involved.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • scotty
  • 09-28-17

interesting novella

OK. I bought this by accident, I thought it was part of the Expanse series. It's not in the series but it is of the series and it's actually pretty good!

Seriously, if you like the Expanse you do need this to fill in some interesting gaps.

Enjoy!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 05-26-17

Short but sweet.

Written by James SA Cory? Read by Jefferson Mays? They're basically just stealing my money at this point. It's good, not the most elaborate story in the expanse universe, and it's quite short, but I enjoyed it and it fills out some interesting back story

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jenny
  • 04-23-17

More Expanse gorgeousness

I don't know which of the duo who make up SA Corey does the writing, but really, it's wonderful. The guy can write. Essentially this is the portrait of a scientist caught up in research on the newly discovered protomolecule. It is from his POV and every second of it is fantastic, his complicated childhood, the poverty, the ambition and the desperation are all communicated perfectly within a couple of hours.

If you took all the sci-fi and science out you would still have a very compelling piece of story-telling. Of course, this is a short prequel to what kicks off James Holden's adventures, but it is as good as any of the Expanse novels.

Plus...Jefferson Mays.

Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • A J MCGARRY
  • 08-03-19

Interesting side story

A difficult but interesting side story of the Protogen scientists captured during the Eros incident.

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  • Jotham
  • 04-21-17

not worth the price. feeling ripped off.

its not worth a full book price. bit of a scam really.
but the story does fill in a little of the universe.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-29-17

A great addition to the series!

Well written and read. This is an enjoyable story that adds depth to the ongoing series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 03-17-19

Fun, but ultimately pointless

Interesting little side story, but ultimately has absolutely no bearing on the main story, and I’m unsure if it was worth the money.
The main character is worse than underwhelming, he’s just whelming.
It’s not a badly written book by any means, it is just...feels like a waste of time to have bothered with.