In Persepolis Rising there is a reference to the evacuation of London, Beijing, and Denver at some unspecified point(s) in the history of The Expanse:

She looked at them and saw all the other times children had been carried away from a disaster that was approaching and that could not be stopped: London, Beijing, Denver. History, she reminded herself, was peppered with moments like this one.

Persepolis Rising, Chapter 27: Drummer

The mention of three specific cities indicates to me that Drummer is referencing event(s) that I, the reader, should be familiar with.

When did these evacuations occur and why were they needed? Were they all due to the same cause or did they occur at different points in history?

The obvious historical event in The Expanse which would cause cities to be evacuated is

the militant OPA's attack on Earth using asteroids in Nemesis Games.

However, I could find no mention of London, Beijing, or Denver being evacuated in any of the seven novels which have been released so far. The only relevant mention of any of those cities in the novels is in Babylon's Ashes, in which there is a mention that people were hoarding relief supplies in Denver.

Perhaps Drummer is referring to event(s) which were mentioned in one of the short stories (which I don't have)? Or to event(s) that happened in real life?

  • 3
    Children were evacuated from London in WWII. I'm not familiar enough with The Expanse and the other cities' history to know if this is what that is referring to.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 15:11
  • @TheLethalCarrot I would assume the reference is to a real life event like the one you mentioned if there is no fictional event(s) in the universe of The Expanse in which the cities were evacuated. I'm sure Beijing was evacuated at some point in its long history, though I can't think of a real historical event that would cause Denver to be evacuated.
    – Null
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 15:17
  • My thinking went along the same lines as yours there but I'd have to spend time looking around to find out for sure. (Not helped by the recent plane evacuations in Denver).
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 15:19
  • 1
    This answer estimates that there was a 9m sea level rise at some point. Coupled with a dike failure, this might be enough to lead to an evacuation of London. It wouldn't lead to anywhere in Beijing being flooded, but it would totally swamp Tianjin, which might have to evacuate into Beijing. Obviously it could have no effect on Denver whatsoever.
    – Micah
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 16:50
  • 1
    @ TheLethalCarrot It's possibly an example of the famous,famous, fictional,trope mentioned in the answer to this question scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/193560/… There was a mass evacuation of civilians from Beijing in 1948 during the civil war between Nationalists and Communists.
    – Sarriesfan
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 2:33

2 Answers 2


As I don't think Drummer would be referencing history as far back as WW II, it's likely these are simply throwaway worldbuilding references. You can certainly infer that they had to do with the catastrophic climate change that Earth suffered in The Expanse timeline - not solely sea level rise - as it's the most commonly reference change in the global culture and environment (so vast that it precipitated an entire shift in world governing).


I believe there may be two "Expanse based" reasons for the evacuations of London, Beijing and Denver.

  1. Perhaps a result of military conflict between Earth and Mars during the Martian push for independence from "Earth rule" which predates book 1 Leviathan Wakes. Even though there are no direct references of specific attacks on those Earth cities in the books there are a lot of references to Martian Marines training at 1g, giving the impression of preparation and willingness to put Martian Marine Corp boots on Earth soil. Perhaps Martian bombing Earth with conventional weapons occurred.

  2. Perhaps a response to the Free Navy dropping rocks onto Earth during book 5 Nemesis Games.

Of course, there are lots of other possible reasons for evacuation that are not "Expanse based" such as an Earther caused hazard such as a nuclear contamination (accident or intentional)(anyone remember Chernobyl?) or biohazard/pandemic. Us clever monkeys tend to do really dumb things.

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