I am currently reading “Persepolis Rising” and I have been hit with two thoughts. I wonder how much the authors have ever considered them. If you follow my blog, you know I am constantly thinking and coming up with creative ideas, some in the form of stories and artwork, some in the form of unique analysis of other’s work.
The first idea stems from the series as a whole. Early on in the series, there were a lot of references to crossing into different territories like Mars’ space. However, how do you denote territory in a multi-planet/moon society? Much of our concepts of boundaries come from our life here on earth where we think in two dimensions and relatively fixed features. As we move out into the solar system with its vast expanses of space, we will need to seriously update our ideas of borders. If we stuck to the old mindset for borders, then the orbit of Mars’ would define their space within a certain range nearer and further from the sun. Earth’s boundaries would be similarly defined and would be totally encompassed by Mars’ borders. In addition, certain distances above and below the planets orbit need to be claimed as well. The problem for Mars is that their territory would be inconceivably large to administer. Even Earth’s much smaller territory would be a challenge.
Now on the other hand, if you chose to make the territory boundaries connected to the physical planet, then you have to deal with orbital mechanics. There will be times in a planets orbit where the physical boundary space defined for their territory would have no bearing at all on the trade of a competing planet with respect to the same trading partners. For example, if Mars was on the opposite side of the sun from Earth and Ganymede then their sovereignty would not come into play between these two points. How do you enforce tariffs? What I am saying is that some of the concepts for territories mentioned in the Expanse series may be incorrect or at the very least need much more definition than I noted in the stories. The only factor that I have left out, which may come into play yet is orbital mechanics in space flight, but that does not fully negate my argument. Just something to think about as you read the series.
The second thought I had pertains to the appearance of the sphere on board “The Heart of the Tempest” toward the end of “Persepolis Rising”. There was much emphasis placed on the fact that as the ship moved, the sphere stayed exactly where it was relative to the inside of the ship. My earth bound thinking said “wow, how could the aliens manage to keep the effect in such precise control from presumably a great distance”? I was thinking of it as aiming some physical manifestation onto a ship in rough seas and managing to keep it precisely placed from all the walls, floor, and ceiling. I felt it was nothing like doing the same on dry land.
Then I thought again. The challenge of aiming and placing a manifestation on or in a planet would be the same if you step back to the scale of a solar system and beyond. A planet is really nothing more than a giant spaceship. Again, I was seeing that I needed to change my frame of reference when thinking about the implications brought about by the authors. This is what science fiction does best. It makes you think beyond the normal realms of life into the vast unknown. Let me know what you think.