Should I Read The Books Before Watching The Expanse?

  • Thread starter Greg Bernhardt
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In summary: I'd say.I'm considering getting into watching The Expanse. My main question is should I read the books first? Most series books are better, but time is limited and I have a ton of books I'm already reading lol.In summary, reading the books first is a good idea because they are better written. The show is also decent, but the books provide a richer experience.
  • #1
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I'm considering getting into watching The Expanse. My main question is should I read the books first? Most series books are better, but time is limited and I have a ton of books I'm already reading lol.
 
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  • #2
Leviathan Wakes is probably my favorite book, like, ever. I would highly recommend reading it.
 
  • #3
I read the Expanse before it became a series. Really liked it a lot. Didn't want to see what the show did to it, so I haven't watched.
 
  • #4
Never read the books. Absolutely loved the first ~1.5 seasons of the show. Kinda lost me later on, but at least for the initial story arc it's well recommended. There's really nothing even close to how good a SF it is.
 
  • #5
I've read the first few books first, before watching some parts of the show. Honestly, I think the books are better. Many 'decorations' in the books, like weapons and flashy techs got too much of the limelight in the show. Easy to understand the reason, but comes with some disappointment anyway.

So maybe it's better to start with the show. Just the show alone is already quite decent sci-fi, but if the books comes first it's still pale in comparison.
At least I think so.
 
  • #6
Bandersnatch said:
There's really nothing even close to how good a SF it is.
Better than Battlestar?
 
  • #7
Made it as far into the tv series as I did the books (the resolution of what the protomolecule is) then got bored.

But enjoyed it up to then
 
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  • #8
Greg Bernhardt said:
Better than Battlestar?
The Expanse is a better SF. It's for you if you've always wished your favourite shows treated the science part really, really seriously. And all in service of a story rather than just as a background.
BG is a better yarn. Or character drama, or soap opera, or religious allegory, or von Daniken's wet dream?? Whatever it ended up being. I did binge it all, after all, while The Expanse left me cold once it started to fall back onto tired tropes.
 
  • #9
I was entertained by the whole series (didn't even know there were books) but I agree that it was excellent at the beginning and only really good towards the end.
 
  • #10
Never read the books, but really enjoy the show. I out the books on my reading list. But really the show does a nice treatment of sci-fi. It's pretty detailed in a lot of things, so a lot of it doesn't require require a huge suspension of disbelief, though some key parts obviously do.
 
  • #11
Watch the series, then read the books, @Greg Bernhardt. The series is good, but there's a ton of nuance and character 'state of mind' in the novels that is hard to convey on TV. I was disappointed in places having read the novels first, and also more easily distracted because I generally knew what was coming.
 
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  • #12
I really liked the first season of The Expanse (I haven't gotten around to see more of it).

Bandersnatch said:
while The Expanse left me cold once it started to fall back onto tired tropes.
That sounds disappointing. I guess you mean this happens in the latter half of season 2?
 
  • #13
DennisN said:
I guess you mean this happens in the latter half of season 2?
I think. It's been a while. Once the whole Venus arc is wrapped up.
 
  • #14
Greg Bernhardt said:
I'm considering getting into watching The Expanse. My main question is should I read the books first? Most series books are better, but time is limited and I have a ton of books I'm already reading lol.
Always read the books after you watch something so you're not disappointed with the show!
 
  • #15
Greg Bernhardt said:
I'm considering getting into watching The Expanse. My main question is should I read the books first? Most series books are better, but time is limited and I have a ton of books I'm already reading lol.
I watched The Man in the HIgh Castle and then tried the read the book but the book was much less interesting and the story seemed smaller.
 
  • #16
bob012345 said:
I watched The Man in the HIgh Castle and then tried the read the book but the book was much less interesting and the story seemed smaller.
The series has nothing to do with the PK Dick book
 
  • #17
BWV said:
The series has nothing to do with the PK Dick book
What do you mean by nothing to do... of course it has something to do with the book. They changed some things and added a new main character in the series.
 
  • #18
Yeah, it's clearly not nothing. But it is about as faithful to the source material as Blade Runner was. The general conceit is lifted verbatim, a few defining scenes are kept, the more weird stuff is cut, the characters aren't the same other than in name, and the story goes its own way. More of an 'inspired by' than an adaptation.
 
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  • #19
Think A Scanner Darkly was the only faithful PK Dick screen adaptation
 
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  • #20
Greg Bernhardt said:
I'm considering getting into watching The Expanse. My main question is should I read the books first? Most series books are better, but time is limited and I have a ton of books I'm already reading lol.
Hey Greg,

I've watched the series, but have not read the books, and don't plan on doing so.
It's been my experience, however, that reading the authors words has always been better.
I don't listen to other peoples POV about shows or movies since their experience will always be different than mine. I've liked movies that my fellow actor friends have hated, and they've told me so.

That said, I really liked the show. I like being entertained and in MHO "The Expanse" did just that.

Hope this helps

Peace,
Element13
 
  • #21
I have read all the books and watched the first three seasons of the show as they got available (also got those on BD). The books provide more details both on the tech and the characters, but that is not always a good thing all the time. As with many authors that goes into details I find myself skipping some of the details on occasion. I think the series manage fairly well to maintain decent novelty in action and plot over time, but it also quickly gets a bit contrived that the main characters so predictably becomes centrally involved all the time.

I was really expecting the authors to pull a Teela Brown spin on Holden at some point near the end to explain why he always got mixed up in things in just the right way ... :-p
 
  • #22
The books are total great. Except the plotholes large enough for spaceships, outdated cliche worldbuilding, and irritating characters. And once Eros starts to move, they arent much harder than Star wars.
 
  • #23
BWV said:
Think A Scanner Darkly was the only faithful PK Dick screen adaptation
Radio Free Albemuth was a pretty good adaptation
 
  • #24
AllanR said:
Radio Free Albemuth was a pretty good adaptation
Didn’t know that existed, will have to check it out
 
  • #25
I would recommend watching the show first. Then absolutely read the books. In my case, it helped to visualize the characters because they casted them so well. The series was on network television for the first few seasons, so it drags on sometimes using the old TV formulas, but never has a series been "saved" by Amazon Prime after being discontinued. I'm a huge fan of BSG, but when it comes to political intrigue in space, you can't beat The Expanse on just about any front.
 
  • #26
Finished the first book and it was just okay. Decent story, but the writing and crappy relationship building annoyed me. I then watched the first season of the show and ugh the acting is just horrid. Wish it got more funding.
 
  • #27
Greg Bernhardt said:
Finished the first book and it was just okay. Decent story, but the writing and crappy relationship building annoyed me. I then watched the first season of the show and ugh the acting is just horrid. Wish it got more funding.
The first book and season are quite slow due to the character development. The first 3 seasons followed a very formulaic development meant for network television. It was canceled after season 3, and is the only show I know of that was saved and rebooted by Amazon. Seasons 4-6 received a higher budget and a more digestible format. However, the books continue to 9 and a small epilog, and are very much worth reading in my opinion.
 

Related to Should I Read The Books Before Watching The Expanse?

1. What is The Expanse about?

The Expanse is a science fiction television series based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey. It is set in the future where humanity has colonized the solar system and follows the political and personal struggles of characters from Earth, Mars, and the asteroid belt.

2. Is The Expanse scientifically accurate?

While The Expanse takes some creative liberties for the sake of storytelling, the show is known for its attention to scientific detail and accuracy. The creators consult with experts in various fields, such as physics and space travel, to ensure the show's science is as realistic as possible.

3. How many seasons of The Expanse are there?

As of 2021, there are five seasons of The Expanse. The first three seasons originally aired on the Syfy channel before being picked up by Amazon Prime Video for the fourth season. The fifth season was released in December 2020.

4. Can The Expanse be watched without reading the books?

Yes, The Expanse can be enjoyed without reading the books. While the show does follow the general storyline of the books, there are some differences and additional storylines that are not included in the show. However, reading the books can provide a deeper understanding of the world and characters.

5. Is The Expanse worth watching?

As a scientist, I cannot give my personal opinion. However, The Expanse has received critical acclaim and has a large and dedicated fan base. It has been praised for its complex characters, political intrigue, and stunning visuals. If you enjoy science fiction and political drama, then The Expanse is definitely worth watching.

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