Book Reviews and Highlights

The Churn: An Expanse Novella

James S. A. Corey

  • Action & Adventure
  • Crime
  • Fiction
  • Short Stories (single author)
  • Burton was a small, thin, dark- skinned man.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 2
  • #first-sentence
  • He wore immaculately tailored suits, and kept the thick black curls of his hair and the small beard on his chin neatly groomed.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 2
  • #male-desc
  • That he worked in criminal enterprises said more about the world than about his character.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 2
  • #society
  • With more opportunities, a more prestigious education, and a few influential dorm mates at upper university, he could have joined the ranks of transplanetary corporate executives with offices at Luna and Mars, Ceres Station and Ganymede.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 2
  • #society
  • Burton’s misfortune was to be born where and when he was, in a city of scars and vice, in an age when the division in the popular mind was between living on government- funded basic support or having an actual profession and money of your own.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 2
  • #class-conflict
  • Like Baltimore itself, he weathered storms.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 7
  • #city-desc
  • Baltimore was Earth writ small, crowded and bored. Its citizens were caught between the dismal life of basic and the barriers of class, race, and opportunity, vicious competition and limited resources, that kept all but the most driven from a profession and actual currency.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 8
  • #city-desc #class-conflict #dystopia #baltimore
  • She understood on a deep, animal level that sex was like music or language. It could express anything. Love, yes. Or anger, or bitterness, or despair. It could be a way to grieve or a way to take revenge. It could be a weapon or a nightmare or a solace. Sex was meaningless, and so it could mean anything.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 11
  • #sex #power
  • The churn was coming. It was the name Liev had given it, back before. All of nature had its rhythms, its booms and busts. She and Timmy and Liev and Burton were mammals, they were part of nature, and subject to its rules and whims. She had lived through perhaps three, perhaps four such catastrophes before. Enough that she knew the signs. Like a squirrel gathering food before a hard winter, Burton collected violent men before the churn.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 12
  • #dystopia
  • It was impossible to know how many unregistered men and women were eking out lives on the margin of society in Baltimore or how many had lived and died unknown to the vast UN databases.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 15
  • #dystopia #baltimore
  • The blackness of space where merit counted more than the placement on a bureaucrat’s list, where the brothels were licensed and the prostitutes had a union, where freedom was a ship and a crew and enough work to pay for food and air. It called to him with a romance that made his heart ache.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 16
  • #dystopia #society
  • Erich had resolved a thousand times to make the effort, to build himself an escape identity and shrug off the chains of Earth, of Baltimore, of the life he’d lived. And a thousand and one times, he had postponed it.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 16
  • #baltimore #opportunity
  • The risk devolved on the little guy. Shit rolling downhill, as it had since the beginning of time.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 20
  • #society #class-conflict
  • A lifetime of experience had drawn connections in her mind that linked sexual desirability, fear, and fatalism in ways she would have recognized as unhealthy if she’d seen them in someone else.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 24
  • The cheap earthenware cup that Timmy had painted with glaze when he was eight years old and given her for what he’d mistakenly thought was her birthday remained in the cupboard.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 25
  • #nostalgia
  • You aren’t the boy Erich drinks with anymore. You aren’t even your mother’s son now. Those versions of you are gone, and they will never come back. You are the man who took a job from Burton.”
  • THE CHURN | Page: 28
  • #male-desc
  • All through Baltimore, the struggle between law and opportunity continued, but most of the citizens allied themselves with neither side.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 29
  • #baltimore #class-conflict #society
  • The churn, the crackdown, the catastrophe. The cycle of boom and bust. The turn of the seasons. Whatever name was applied to it, the inevitable cascade of events in the city rolled on just the same.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 52
  • #society
  • Amos Burton was a tall, stocky, pale- skinned man with an amiable smile, an unpleasant past, and a talent for cheerful violence. He left Baltimore to its dynamic balance of crime and law, exotics and mundanity, love and emptiness. The number of people who knew him and loved him could be counted on one hand and leave most of the fingers spare, and when he was gone, the city went on without him as if he had never been.
  • THE CHURN | Page: 57
  • #male-desc #last-sentence