I am not sure, but I think Caliban is a reference to either the X-Men world of superhuman robotics run amok, or to Roger McBride Allen’s Isaac Asimove’s Caliban, which is set on a planet in Asimov’s Foundation universe, and focuses on a cultural and legal dilemma posed by the Three Laws of Robotics after a roboticist is apparently assaulted by one of her robots. This event threatens to cause a global panic, because the planet’s entire way of life relies on the belief that robots are incapable of harming or disobeying humans.
Caliban’s War is the second in The Expanse series written by two guys with one name. The first is Leviathan Wakes, which is a humdinger and which I talk about here. And even though I said in that review I thought I would pass on No. 2, I changed my mind, and boy am I glad I did.
The official plot summary: On Ganymede, breadbasket of the outer planets, a Martian marine watches as her platoon is slaughtered by a monstrous supersoldier — kind of a robot monster. On Earth, a high-level politician struggles to prevent interplanetary war from reigniting. And on Venus, an alien protomolecule has overrun the planet, wreaking massive, mysterious changes and threatening to spread out into the solar system.
In the vast wilderness of space, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante have been keeping the peace for the Outer Planets Alliance. When they agree to help a scientist search war-torn Ganymede for a missing child, the future of humanity rests on whether a single ship can prevent an alien invasion that may have already begun . . .
I am really enjoying the universe which James S. A. Corey, (aka Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) have created for this series. Lots of great planets, which although in real life would seem just absolutely uninhabitable, in this universe of theirs, Mars has been terraformed and ice planets like Ganymede are the breadbaskets for the outer planets. Everything is possible. This second novel in The Expanse series finds Holden and the crew of the Rocinante trying to stop further attempts to weaponize the protomolecule, with a little help from a Martian marine, a belt-born botanist, and a UN power broker.
Yeah, it is kind of Robots Run Amok Are Us.
And yeah, it is space opera, but interesting space opera, with great science-y stuff and wonderful characters.