The Otissito Review

Short Fiction Review: "The Churn: An Expanse Novella" by James S.A. Corey

The ChurnTitle: The Churn: An Expanse Novella
Author: James S.A. Corey
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Length: 77 pages

Obtained: I bought my copy from Amazon.

The Plot: A young man is trying to prove himself to a gang boss in order to make a life out of the meaningless, terrible pit that is the city he lives in. The world is falling apart as humanity expands into the stars and those left behind on Earth find themselves wallowing in misery on governmental assistance, or they try to survive on the streets.

This young man is Amos Burton, the loyal, hard-working, right hand of James Holden on the crew of the Rocinante. This story gives us a glimpse back into the boy he used to be and what kind of life he had before joining Holden’s crew. This young Amos has to kill, claw, and beat his way through life, not sure if the next day is a guarantee or not.

The Commentary: There is so much about The Churn that I want to gush about because I loved it so much, but the problem is, all of it will spoil the story in some fashion. The story isn’t long to begin with so I don’t want to risk ruining it for people. Instead, what I’ll say is that James S.A. Corey has put together a supporting story to the already established universe of The Expanse that really stand on its own. There could be a good argument made that it should have been a full-length book. I certainly would have devoured it in one sitting.

Needs More: Length. I loved everything about this novella and I just did not want it to end. I wish it could have been 150 pages instead of a mere 77 in length. Why, oh why can it not be longer?

Needs Less: There really isn’t anything I want less in this one. Everything was so tight and efficient when it comes to the writing that there wasn’t anything to find fault with.

Worth It? Yes. If you have read any of the other books in The Expanse, then you absolutely need to read this one. It provides some wonderful back story to a main character that you will not want to be without.

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An unabashed fan of science fiction and fantasy books, television, and movies, he wants desperately to someday finish writing a complete novel from start to finish. Working as a web developer by trade, he owns a mighty collection of Star Wars legos, and is willing to talk about sports more than most are comfortable indulging.


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