Exploring The Expanse


Based on the best-selling science fiction novel series by James S.A. Corey, The Expanse is a realistic, character-driven, and epic take on a believable future. The show recently ended its six-season run on Prime Video, and by that time, it had become my all-time favorite in the “hard science fiction” genre. This article series is my way of showing appreciation to the show’s creators and taking a look back at six excellent seasons of truly unique and ground-breaking science fiction.

Through the seven parts of this article series, I will look back at the setting, the characters, the mysteries and the story of The Expanse. It goes without saying that these articles will contain major spoilers for the entire series, so if you haven’t already watched The Expanse, I highly recommend it.

Welcome to the Expanse

It is the future, and humanity is divided. Some three hundred years from now, the population of Earth has banded together under the banner of the United Nations world government to save the planet from ecological collapse. Yet, social inequality and overpopulation result in over half of the planet’s 30 billion inhabitants living on basic assistance for a bare minimum of their required needs. To unburden the overpopulated planet, humanity looked to the rest of the solar system – a new expanse of resources, living space and work.    

After establishing permanent colonies on Luna, Mars was settled with fervor and ideology based on the dream of transforming this rocky planet into a garden world. The project to terraform Mars would last for generations, if not centuries, and those who started knew they would never see the results of their hard work. The dream of Mars soon led to growing resentment with Earth and calls for independence. A cold war between the two neighboring worlds followed, and it would have turned hot if it hadn’t been for the Martian invention of the Epstein Drive.

The Epstein Drive was a new drive for spaceships that could hold a sustained burn limited only by human physiology. It made colonizing the resource-rich Asteroid Belt and even reaching the outer planets feasible, giving humanity much-needed space to expand. It also shifted the balance of power between Earth and Mars. A deal was struck: Mars would get its independence in exchange for sharing the technical specifications of the Epstein Drive.

An Uncertain Future

Now a race for the resources in the rest of the Solar System had begun. Colonies were established in the Asteroid Belt and even as far out as the moons of Jupiter. Generations of living in space gave rise to a third faction – The Belters. This loose coalition of independent-minded workers became physically adapted to living and working in space and was often dehumanized by the inhabitants of Earth and Mars. A growing call for Belter independence resulted in the formation of the Outer Planets Alliance.

It is in this powder keg of resentment and factionalism we find ourselves. A single spark is all it takes for the factions of expanse to turn on each other and escalate the situation into open war – a spark that comes from someplace… else.  

the expanse ice horizon
A new horizon.

You can check out my recap of the first season of The Expanse here.

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