Book Review of “Nemesis Games,” Fifth in The Expanse Novel Series


Cover art for the novel “Nemesis Games.”

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James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and writer Ty Franck, who once again return with Nemesis Games, the fifth edition in the Expanse novel series.

Actually, the first misstep in the story is the raid conducted by the belter thug Filip and his band of any man left behind gets killed on Callisto a year before the book really begins. It’s clear they’re stealing tons and tons of stealth material, stealthy, but that means it still have lots of mass. Yes, they get away with it, but stealth doesn’t mean immaterial (you still have to cover three really, really big rocks with it).

Ever since that moment, the owners act like they can’t figure out what was taken? What? It was stealthy so now that it’s gone, you can’t figure out what was there in the first place? You don’t have cargo manifests? You don’t have lot assignments? I guess it’s to keep the readers from figuring out too soon that the radical Free Navy version of the OPA run by Filip’s Daddy Marco Inaros is going to drop a bunch of rocks on Earth.

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© Yinglan

“My suit readout says it’s just over 88 degrees Celsius, Martin.”

“That’s about 177 degrees Fahrenheit, and people worry about climate change in the 21st century. Welcome to the Cretaceous, NaCumbea.”

Martin Fields and NaCumbea were time travelers working for a group of extra-dimensional entities and they used the provided temporal suits to correct timeline anomalies.

“Here’s where the footprint will be made, Martin.”

“The paleontologists who found it can’t match it with any known dinosaur species.”

“That’s because I’m not an indigenous lifeform.”

The pair looked up to see a three meter tall figure step around a non-existent corner.

“Time traveler?” Martin hazarded a guess.

“Extraterrestrial with time scanning capacities. I will leave my footprint as a clue.”

“Clue to what?” Though more experienced than Martin, the alien still frightened NaCumbea.

“The extinction of your dinosaurs was engineered so your species could rise.”

“You sent an asteroid to collide with Earth?”

“Yes, and we seeded your world with…you”


“You’ll find out when your species makes first contact with mine in your time frame of 2019.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of February 6, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

The image reminded me of a fossilized dinosaur footprint but not of any dino that I’ve ever heard of. More like an alien footprint.

So I sent my two time travelers, Martin Fields and NaCumbea, last seen in the short story I’m Leaving You For 1966, Dear, to investigate (why invent new time travelers when you already have a couple on tap?). I decided to make aliens responsible not only for the dinosaur extinction event of 65 million years ago, but also for seeding the biosphere with the basic template for modern human beings (I’m sure this idea must have been used before).

In order to understand what Martin and NaCumbea would experience, I looked up the climate for that period in the article The Beastly Climate which details climatic changes in Australia (where my adventure takes place) from 145.6 million years ago to about 20,000 years in the past. I also looked at Happenings During the Cenozoic (65 Million Years Ago to Present) and What is the Average Global Temperature Now? to get a comparison between what the climate was like 65 million years in the past to the present.

As it turns out, it’s a good thing the temporal suits can be set to isolate the wearer from the local environment since it seems the dinos liked it hot.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to