The Expanse - I'm already hooked!


Television

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It was likely to be a shallow step since I love the book, but the pilot ep surpassed my expectations. This is the prettiest sci-fi since BSG. There are movies that don't look this good. The practical sets have a realistic look and feel like BSG, Alien, Blade Runner, etc. The CGI looks incredible.

I can't wait for the series to get rolling!

The Exchange

Having seen the first episode... I was greatly disappointed. The source material is very solid and the hype amounted higher and higher, but the actual first episode was a total loss.

Spoiler:
from the very first moment with Julie Mao where nobody he didn't read the book could have even the vaguest notion of what the hell was happening, through an overly cluttered episode that had so many subplots that none of them had time to breath, and up to an ending that confused non book readersyet again, the entire thing just wasn't any good.

Also, from the viewpoint of the reader, I just don't get why all the characters in the show were changed so significantly from their book counterparts. Miller being an annoying bad-ass instead of a depressed dude reminiscing about his past I can get as book Miller might not work on TV. But Holden agreeing to wipe the log records of a ship calling for help? Avasarala torturing a man and spewing hateful propaganda (and not cursing even once)? I don't get this.

Almost my entire group of friends have read and enjoyed the books. We came in really wanting to like the show, watched the first episode all togehter. We even made a solar system chocolate cake and a protomolecule pudding (as yucky as it sounds, but we were enthusiastic) - but we all were just baffled by what we saw.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I did enjoy the pilot quite a bit. The special effects were top notch and the plot was easy to follow along. I also liked the realistic science details that were included.

I have not read the book on which the show is based. Normally, I try to avoid reading the book before seeing the show because my sense of suspense is quite a bit lower.


Came across this review of it recently. Thought some might be interested.


I've been keeping up with it since a day or two after it debuted, and I'm pretty thoroughly hooked. The show is a nice slow burn, and I'm kinda stunned that SyFy was willing to spend the money and patience to back a show of this quality. It spends most of the early episodes building the universe and characters, and does so mostly through "show, don't tell." By the end of episode 4, I'd really started to care about the Cant survivors (especially Naomi and Amos, who is awesome & badass); Miller took a bit longer. I really like Avasarala's actress and her performance, but her scenes don't really have the same impact as the others, even though they do good work building the tension and political machinations in play. After the revelations in last weeks episode, I'm really excited about the two-parter season finale Tuesday night.

Liberty's Edge

Amos is, in his own words, an amature. Bobbie is the pro.

It's nice they brought Avasarala in early, but I wish they had kept a little more of her mask personality intact. It was going to have to be cleaned up, but the wise woman cliche they left her with feels so off.


really enjoying this show


Krensky wrote:

Amos is, in his own words, an amature. Bobbie is the pro.

It's nice they brought Avasarala in early, but I wish they had kept a little more of her mask personality intact. It was going to have to be cleaned up, but the wise woman cliche they left her with feels so off.

I haven't read the books (yet), but everyone that has says book-Avasarala is much better (especially her swearing) and that book-Bobbie (I'm trying not to search for spoilers) is awesome.

I like all the little details. No, the weightless and low-grav scenes aren't perfect, but the show is making a real effort to depict them realistically within their budget. I really like that Amos quietly demonstrates tactical awareness and firearm control in potentially hostile situations. I was surprised that show depicts cyberware better than any other show or movie I've seen; it makes me really wish I was currently in a Shadowrun game. I love the Rocinante (especially the escape at the end of episode 4), and my only real improvement would be for Alex (and Amos) to be jacked in as a rigger (and gunner).

Liberty's Edge

Amos is a grease monkey. Roci's guns are Holden and Alex's bailiwick. He's probably the most dangerous of the crew on the ground, but he doesn't touch the torpedoes or PDCs.

As for Bobbi, she's a Martian Force Recon Marine Gunnery Sergeant. So think the [i]Donnager's[i] Marines, but in power (and plot) armor with a gatling gun. Also, six foot, 220 lbs of muscle, and knows thirty seven ways to kill you with your own teeth.

The books are pretty decent at showing the difference between trained, disciplined soldiers (UN and MCR) as opposed to enthusiastic. hard scrabble militia (the Belters).


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I've been keeping up with it since a day or two after it debuted, and I'm pretty thoroughly hooked. The show is a nice slow burn, and I'm kinda stunned that SyFy was willing to spend the money and patience to back a show of this quality. It spends most of the early episodes building the universe and characters, and does so mostly through "show, don't tell." By the end of episode 4, I'd really started to care about the Cant survivors (especially Naomi and Amos, who is awesome & badass); Miller took a bit longer. I really like Avasarala's actress and her performance, but her scenes don't really have the same impact as the others, even though they do good work building the tension and political machinations in play. After the revelations in last weeks episode, I'm really excited about the two-parter season finale Tuesday night.

Syfy burns money on good shows regularly. It's that people don't realize how good they are until they are already cancelled, and have a long memory for silly things they do.

Liberty's Edge

As I think about it, while Alex being younger and in good shape is a little off from the book, I have no idea who they could cast for Bobbi.

There aren't many 6'5", 220 lb muscles having muscles, conventionally attractive actresses, let alone ones who are pacific islanders. The ethnicity isn't that central, but the size and 'conventional' sex appeal really is.

Sovereign Court

Tacticslion wrote:
Came across this review of it recently. Thought some might be interested.

The author makes a huge claim and then doesn't back it up with anything substantial. Not a particularly good or useful review.

I enjoy the split story perspectives between Earth, the belts, and the Canterbury survivors. I also like some hard sci-fi for a change. Its losing my interest in its slow burn approach though. I really hope the season wraps up in a spectacular way or this series could be easily forgettable. A shame because it looks great and seems to have a crew who are capable of executing something worthy of watching; unlike say the Defiance crew.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Actually it's not that bad as a blog opinion based review. And that author is Howard Taylor, who's got several Hugo and WCCA nominations and a few wins to his name and makes a living doing a webcomic. So his opinion has a decent amount of weight.

Now, as for the season finally... Based on what's happened and the title... I'm not sure... They may just be able to squeeze the rest of the book into two hours. Maybe. Depends how exactly they play out the Eros Incident. The next two episodes will be spectacular, but I think there's also going to be some whining and complaining from people who haven't read the books because it's going to look like a genre whiplash.

Two words:
Vomit zombies.

Sovereign Court

If someone is going to make a huge claim like that, I'd like to hear why. Doesnt matter if they are somebody or not.


Wait, episode 10/the season finale ends there?!?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Almost a year until we see that cliffhanger resolved?!?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Liberty's Edge

Well, if you have to know how it ends, there's always the books.

I gonna guess season two is going to roll book 2 into book 1 (they actually have a good bit of plot overlap).

The Exchange

I've been watching the season with an increasing amount of confusion, since it became clearer and clearer they can't actually cover everything in the book at the pace they were going.

I can, in general, respect a decision to go for a slow build-up, but part of what I love about the books is their incredible fast pace - they deliver extremely solid world building even while the action never stops for a moment.

A much more thorough roundup of my thoughts will come when I finish watching the whole thing (currently ep. 7), but for now I can say I think the show is O.K, and makes a truly noble effort to do things right, but falls sadly short in many ways. Certainly a disappointment both as a book reader and as someone who followed the early hype with great interest.

Liberty's Edge

You obviously read a different novel and watched a different show.


finished the season
very good show

The Exchange

Krensky wrote:
You obviously read a different novel and watched a different show.

Actually,

book and show spoilers:
The book is *very* fast paced. It kicks off with Julie encountering the protomolecule in the prolog, and within less than 100 pages the canterbury blows up and Ceres riots. Then, before the 200 page mark, the donnager is a goner too and our crew has the Roci.

The book alternated between Holden and Miller - no Avasarala. The book has overall less characters, and many characters in the show play a larger role than in the books (such as Havelock) while others are added that weren't in the book at all. The book had a full scale war between Mars and Earth going on in the background, which starts almost immediately - the show builds up to the war instead with intrigue and politics on Earth. Entire subplots were added to the show other than Avasarala - such as the belter who decided to throw his haul of rocks on those space cops, the inside view to the rebels of Anderson Station and the Earth spy, to name a few.

Additionally, the show ended at somewhere between the 50%-70% of where the book did.

By all reasonable interpretations of the word, the show was slower and less action packed than the books. This is not a subjective thing - it simply was.

The Exchange

So, finished watching the first season of the series. Opinion time.

spoilery opinions:
Overall, The Expanse is a pretty good TV show. it displays some of the most noble intentions I've seen on the screen, ever, to be good science fiction, and certain aspects of it exceed by far what could reasonably be expected to get on TV.

However, unlike many of it's characters, The Expanse does not exist in a vacuum - it is flanked by a pair of taller, more impressive cousins, who make it appear smaller to me than it might really be. From the left we have other recent television series. In the very recent past, say 5 years or so, we have been showered with a seemingly endless stream of unbelievably good shows. I don't think that, ten years back, anybody would have foreseen A Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad, House Of Cards or so many others like them ever becoming a reality. Top notch acting, directing, camera work and script writing suddenly made TV a serious contender with movies as a place to digest quality stories. Regratably for The Expanse, it can't live up to those new and seemingly outlandish standards. Look, the acting is fine, the dialog far from cringe worthy, and the occasional scene does something more technically impressive than having a bunch of people stand in a room with the camera switching between face close-ups... but it's not competitive in today's market. A single episode of Breaking Bad has more technical film making craftsmanship than half The Expanse season put together.
From the right, stands the other taller cousin to the show - this one is, of course, the book itself. I am a big fan of Leviathan's Wake, and the show is just a lesser way to experience the story it tells. I would certainly recommend to people to read the book first.

Apart from pure questions of technical quality, I must linger on those many places where the show differs significantly from the books. The Biggest deal to me was the 180 that many of the characters experienced. It's the kind of decision that, while I can see the logic behind it, I still couldn't quite bring myself to enjoy.
Book Holden is an idealist - almost Moronically so. In the book, Holden immediately blurbs out that Mars killed the Cant, because his righteous wrath is invoked. He doesn't think of consequences, and he actually believe that everyone should know everything. In the show, the first significant choice we see Holden make is... to lie about seeing a distress signal. We see him regret that later, but this is a major departure from book Holden right off the bat, which continues as later in the season he makes his famous broadcast as a selfish bluff (making the ensuing war kind of his fault) and not get angry at Miller as he goes through his murderous rampage on Eros. Additionally, the entire crew of the Roci is nothing like their book counterparts, except maybe Amos. Naomi is angry and aggressive instead of smart and jaded, and Alex is a young hotshot rather than a slightly nervous older man who's a kickass pilot. And instead of the easy, immediate cliquing that the characters experienced in the book, we have them all be angry and suspicious at each other for most of the season.
And I get this. The authors, when they wrote the book, probably overplayed their hand a little early, and rushed through what should have been a lot of slower character and relationship development if they knew they were looking at 9 thick books to write. It's more satisfying to see the great chemistry of the Roci crew if they had to work hard to get there instead of getting it almost instantly. The problem, for me, was that this resulted in a lot of the earlier parts of the season composed of the Roci crew melodramatically being serious at each other, mostly lacking the wry cynicism that is a large part of what I love about the book.
Miller was mostly an annoying ass instead of a sad and lonely noir detective who drinks alone in his room a lot, but this change I can stand more behind - book Miller is mostly about internal action, and a show needs external stuff.
Avasarala was a gigantic disappointment. The hilarious, foul mouthed, furious and rebellious woman from the books is replaced with a woman standing around looking melodramatically serious as she does terrible things. Can anyone imagine book Avasarala torturing a prisoner? Calling him racial slurs? I can't.

The show had structural problems, in my opinion. I can't help but feel that if the Avasarala bits were cut out along with a couple of subplot, the finale of Eros could have happened in episode 7 instead, with the sho9w then ending where the book ended. I think that makes for a better, more complete story.

All in all, I'd give The Expanse a 7/10, with an unflinchingly complex SF plot, an honorable attempt at (more) realistic physics and some very good special effects salvaging what is otherwise more like a 4/10 into watchability. Certainly worth a watch for book fans. For those who have yet to try the written form - go do that first. It's much better.

Liberty's Edge

The show pulled elements of Caliban's War and the majority of The Butcher of Anderson Station in which didn't really slow things down just shuffled them around a bit.

Leviathan Wakes is just short of 600 pages, so the ships blowing up happens earlier in the show than the books.

By any reasonable interpretation, you're wrong.

Remember that despite what the Internet says hyper criticism is never cool.

The Exchange

Krensky wrote:

The show pulled elements of Caliban's War and the majority of The Butcher of Anderson Station in which didn't really slow things down just shuffled them around a bit.

Leviathan Wakes is just short of 600 pages, so the ships blowing up happens earlier in the show than the books.

By any reasonable interpretation, you're wrong.

Remember that despite what the Internet says hyper criticism is never cool.

Dude. You keep saying that, apparently without reading my posts. I'm not being super critical to a show that I say is, and I quote myself here, "Certainly worth a watch for book fans."

And, I just can't see how a show that tells a story which ends earlier, has more characters and less incident has the same pace as the book. In the movement/time definition of speed, it is slower. Other definitions are too nonsensical for me to consider. Stuff was squeezed in there that wasn't in the book, and most of that extra time went on character development (the radar fixing and spy subplots for the Roci crew, and the extra Havelock stuff on Ceres). The Avasarala scenes in the show are actually all new stuff - none of them were in the books because we were only introduced to her later on in the story, while she was doing other stuff (and, also, as I said before, show Avasarala is so different from her book version that it is safe to assume that the book version didn't actually do any of the stuff we see on screen, such as torturing OPA members and visiting Holden's parents).

The story was buffed by a bunch of subplots in the series, which brought the pace down. This is the most rudimentary level of math. Which, incidentally, also makes it an objective truth.


Lord Snow wrote:

So, finished watching the first season of the series. Opinion time.

** spoiler omitted **...

harsh opinion from the Russian judge.


My take on the show's first season.

It was pretty good, but I agree that the pacing is a serious problem. It should improve for Season 2. But I do think that there were other reasons for the pacing:

Spoiler:
They likely want to keep Thomas Jane an active castmember for a longer period of time. In fact, they may even be considering keeping him around and using the spy instead for his story.

One big thing I disagree on though: I think the TV show is better than the book. The book was okay, but it had various problems particularly with bland prose. The TV show did a much better job of getting across the story, worldbulding and characters.

The Exchange

Werthead wrote:

My take on the show's first season.

It was pretty good, but I agree that the pacing is a serious problem. It should improve for Season 2. But I do think that there were other reasons for the pacing:

** spoiler omitted **

One big thing I disagree on though: I think the TV show is better than the book. The book was okay, but it had various problems particularly with bland prose. The TV show did a much better job of getting across the story, worldbulding and characters.

Spoiler:
Replacing Miller with the spy is kinda lame, because Miller's connection with July is what allowed him to divert Eros from crushing into earth, and also the reason he is the representative face of the protomolecule in later books. And besides, if Miller dies next season while saving Earth, then promptly comes back "alive" as the protomolecule ghost in the finale clif hanger of the same season, they get to have the great death scene without having to start another season without Miller's name attached. This is a conjenction which assumes next season somehow merges the end of book 1 with the entirety of book 2, probably by pushing back the confrontation with Dresden and merging it with the events of the second book - I've always complained the second book is a rehash of the first, so this makes sense to me.

As to which is better, to each his own. You disliked the writing in the book, I found the acting and directing and all around filmography of the show lacking. Also, from conversations with non-book readers, they found the first few episodes somewhat confusing and hard to relate to, while in the books I think everything is very much understandable from the get-go. Also, while the show does admirable work towards capturing the physical realities of space travel and how they affect the lives of people who live out there, it obviously can't compete with the book in this regard, and to me that realism is a big part of the enjoyment.

The Exchange

Oh, also, did anyone else catch that shot where you can see the authors (Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham) walking around in Eros? That was pretty cool. Honestly, if Ty didn't have that rather distinct longish hair I would have most likely missed it.

Liberty's Edge

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And they announced who's playing Bobby.

It seems they managed find a unicorn after all.

Liberty's Edge

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Entertainment Weekly has the first production stills of Bobbie, her squad, and her 'formal wear'.

Of note, the first photo shows her in her undersuit standing in front of a suit of MRDCMC battledress and a suit of MRDCMC Goliath power armor. The second shows her and others in power armor, and the last seems to show her arm wrestling another marine wearing power armor, barehanded.

The interview suggests the firest episode or two will focus on Bobbie and her squad before the Ganymede incident gets rolling to show us what the Martian experience is like. It also confirms that they're squashing Eros and Ganymede together, but shouldn't be suprising after the reveal about who's in charge of Protogen at the end of season one.

Liberty's Edge

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Season 2 Trailer


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New trailer now, season 2 premieres February 8th, 2017


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
New trailer now, season 2 premieres February 8th, 2017

Pretty awesome. I just got involved with this show recently and got hooked.

I'd disagree with one item in the commercial. It says a cross between Battlestar Galactica and Game of Thrones...I'd say more Game of Thrones in Space than Battlestar Galactica.

BSG was absolutely depressing...all the time. GoT may be depressing at parts, but NOT that depressing (as BSG). I'd say the same of the Expanse.

The Exchange

GreyWolfLord wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
New trailer now, season 2 premieres February 8th, 2017

Pretty awesome. I just got involved with this show recently and got hooked.

I'd disagree with one item in the commercial. It says a cross between Battlestar Galactica and Game of Thrones...I'd say more Game of Thrones in Space than Battlestar Galactica.

BSG was absolutely depressing...all the time. GoT may be depressing at parts, but NOT that depressing (as BSG). I'd say the same of the Expanse.

Other than being a big-production genre show and being far inferior versions of their respective books, this show and game of thrones have nothing in common.


Lord Snow wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
New trailer now, season 2 premieres February 8th, 2017

Pretty awesome. I just got involved with this show recently and got hooked.

I'd disagree with one item in the commercial. It says a cross between Battlestar Galactica and Game of Thrones...I'd say more Game of Thrones in Space than Battlestar Galactica.

BSG was absolutely depressing...all the time. GoT may be depressing at parts, but NOT that depressing (as BSG). I'd say the same of the Expanse.

Other than being a big-production genre show and being far inferior versions of their respective books, this show and game of thrones have nothing in common.

I could agree with that...but when a comparison on the ad was between BSG and GoT, I was saying the feeling of the show was more GoT than BSG.

Not that it is really like either one of them. I've never read the books.

If I had to state a comparison I'd say it feels more like a cross between Dune and Star Trek than the two shows they stated in the Ad.


Lord Snow wrote:
Other than being a big-production genre show and being far inferior versions of their respective books, this show and game of thrones have nothing in common.

I'm enjoying it and so are many others. And the novel authors have been involved with the writing and development of the show since pre-production. I'm willing to give them all the benefit of the doubt to see how the show plays out; I'll trust their discretion on which parts to change for the show and how much.

The two trailers look good to me, can't wait to see it.

The Exchange

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Other than being a big-production genre show and being far inferior versions of their respective books, this show and game of thrones have nothing in common.

I'm enjoying it and so are many others. And the novel authors have been involved with the writing and development of the show since pre-production. I'm willing to give them all the benefit of the doubt to see how the show plays out; I'll trust their discretion on which parts to change for the show and how much.

The two trailers look good to me, can't wait to see it.

My beef with the show is less with the decision making, which is passable, but mostly with execution. The actors are average or worse, the writing is fine, the action and special effects are pretty good but they do not outshine other contemporary genre shows.

Compare to the books, which I consider to be awesome and smart space opera.

Say someone never encountered this story. Would you recommend to them to read the book or watch the show (say they have no issue with reading). To me this isn't even close - they'll just be missing out on too much if they just watch the show. I'll recommend the book. Thus, I consider the show to be an inferior version of the book it is based on.


To each their own, I guess.


So, did anyone catch the first two episodes of this new season on Wednesday? No slow burning here. So much to like (BOBBIE!), but seeing the Roci [REDACTED] was just amazing!


I started episode one of season two but then work called.

Sovereign Court

not yet. will be hopefully checking it out tonight (as long as it has been updated on the syfy app).

The Exchange

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
So, did anyone catch the first two episodes of this new season on Wednesday? No slow burning here. So much to like (BOBBIE!), but seeing the Roci [REDACTED] was just amazing!

Agreed.

Spoiler:
Even if every single other thing about the show would have been terrible, it will have been worth it for this space fight scene alone.

I don't like syfy Bobbie though. They replaced her book version with a character meant to convey to the audiance the outlook of a Martian. I understand why they did this, but I enjoy it less.

Scarab Sages

Why did they add that kiss? It came from no where and ruined what was an otherwise great moment. Boo.


Season 3 teaser.

Season 3 premieres April 11th.


A week and a half is a long time in SF TV:

THE EXPANSE dropped by SyFy (not quite cancelled because they don't make it in the first place, but effectively the same).

Netflix then passed on picking up the show, but Amazon are still in the frame.

Now SyFy have said they may rethink their choice if the ratings for Season 3 improve. Because SyFy don't make the show, they don't make any money from streams or DVD/Blu-Ray sales, so they need the first-run views and the DVR views (within 3 days of the original broadcast) to be as high as possible.


I can't see why SyFy would knowingly agree to an onerous financial contract in the first place without there being a good chance of it paying out for them. I don't think we're getting the whole story here.

Threatening to cancel The Expanse seems stupid, sad, and especially ill-timed. It's the smartest TV show on right now -- in character investment & development, in plot, and in sticking as closely as possible to real known science.* This latest episode paid off big, intelligently wrapping up several plot & character threads, and setting the stage for even bigger events to come with that huge reveal of what was/is happening on Venus.

* Other than the Epstein drive, the Earth/Mars/Belter tech all plays by the known rules of physics.

Dark Archive

Lord Snow wrote:
I don't like syfy Bobbie though. They replaced her book version with a character meant to convey to the audiance the outlook of a Martian. I understand why they did this, but I enjoy it less.

I've generally not had a problem with the casting. (Obviously the Belters can't be as tall and thin as I'd imagined from the book, but I can live with that. The actresses playing Naomi and Fred Johnson's 'number one' are doing some amazing work, in any event.)

But Bobby, while she's a big woman, also has a certain hardness to her, in the book, and this actress just acts too nice, IMO.

She's improving, and I particularly liked the scene where she walks into a room full of people with guns drawn one hair-trigger away from a massacre, and says, 'What's all the ruckus, boys?' and is projecting through her easy confidence to the room full of armed men that she can take them all, unarmed and unarmored (whether or not that's true).

But it's taken awhile to get there, and I kind of wanted that swagger from day one.

Ashdagloo (sp?) as Avasarala (sp?) is just awesome. I could watch an hour of her cussing people out. :)

What variances I've noticed from the books, regarding characters like the ex-martian pilot with the Texan drawl and the delightfully violent engineer, are good, and I'm enjoying them, since both characters, IMO, got underdeveloped in favor of James Holden, in the books. (Multiple times the story remains with what's going on with James and Naomi while they are written off-stage to go bar-hopping or to brothels or whatever.)


Amazon in provisional talks to save THE EXPANSE.

It's been a rollercoaster week, but hopefully this pans out.


the show so far is great, it should last at least until

book

Spoiler:
Earth's destroyed
after that I lost all interest


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It's official:

Variety: "‘The Expanse’ Moves to Amazon for Season 4"

---

This latest episode, "Delta-V", had a great example of

Spoiler:
LEEEEROOOYmmmmmJENK-SPLAT!

Yay, Drummer's back! Deep Purple! Beltalowda Eric Carmen! Peach Melba! And HatCop!


New episode, "It Reaches Out": Very edge-of-your-seat, intense, and a hell of a next episode cliffhanger. "Kowltim vedi fong bap unte kuwang. Depelésh imim ge to."

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