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- Citizen Kane:"Razorback", Naomi said. "What's that?""It's a sled," Miller replied.note
- Dune:Julies's notes: Panic doesn't help. It never helps. Deep breaths, figure this out, make the right moves. Fear is the mind-killer. Ha. Geek.
- TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxyThe food dispensers aboard ship can give you something that is not entirely unlike coffee.
- The electrochemical technicians are named "Ren, Stanni, and Bob".
- To both The Martian and Atlas Shrugged'': Two of the ships in Michio Pa's fleet are named after these books' protagonists:
- In the middle column, the colony ships she and her fleet had taken: the Bedyadat Jadida, out of Luna. The John Galt and the Mark Watney, out of Mars.
- Another ship is named the Hornblower
- Two characters make literary references, one to Moby-Dick and another to the "How can man die better" passage from the Horatius poem of Lays of Ancient Rome.
- Holden initially wants to call the new Belter government the "Spacing Guild".
- Saba captains a ship named the Malaclypse, and at some point he refers to not liking to be "under the authority of the authorities". This will certainly be familiar to any reader of the Principia Discordia.
- The Laconian marines wear bright blue power armor with an eagle symbol across the chest.
The Television Series
- The pilot episode, "Dulcinea", and Holden's frigate Rocinante are named after Don Quixote's presumptive lover and horse, respectively. Holden's early exposure to Cervantes is explored in the (appropriately-titled) episode 'Windmills' when his mother Elise explains the Freudian Excuse behind his Chronic Hero Syndrome. Then there's the obvious parallels between Miller's obsession with Julie Mao and Don Quixote's obsession with Dulcinea.note
- "Rocinante" also works as a reference to both Alexis A. Gilliland's Rosinante trilogy, a book series similar to The Expanse, and the two-part song "Cygnus X-1" by Rush, in which the protagonist's spaceship is also called the Rocinante.
- Writer Mark Fergus explained at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 that Paj's severed arm spinning end over end in "Dulcinea" was intended to be a reference to the bone that does the same in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but admitted it was so abstract that almost nobody got it.
- While Avasarala receives reports of the on-going attack on the Donnager, her husband Arjun can be seen and heard in the background reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped to their grandson and his friends.
- The design of Mateo's rock hauler from "Rock Bottom" was clearly inspired by the Starfuries from Babylon 5.
- A public transit map of Ceres in "Dulcinea" includes a stop at "Cutty Station", named after Chad L. Coleman's (Fred Johnson) character "Cutty" Wise on The Wire.
- A shop Miller visits in "Back to the Butcher" shares the name ("Tech Noir") of the bar in The Terminator.
- The list of ships docked in "Salvage" has a lot of shout-outs, including the Serenity and the Burninator.
- The scenes of Eros Station and its inhabitants being taken over by The Virus are straight out of Dead Space.
- The general design of the protomolecule-infected Eros Station is heavily reminiscent of the Upside-Down from Stranger Things.
- Admiral Souther's ship, the Agatha King is named after two famous authors, Agatha Christie and Stephen King.
- The protomolecule hybrid soldiers look very similar to the Husks from Mass Effect.
- Speaking of Mass Effect, the psychic vision Holden gets from the Ring Station in "Dandelion Sky" is very reminiscent of the message that Shepard got from the Prothean beacon in the first game.
- When discussing plans to rescue the Nauvoo and refit it into a warship for the Outer Planets Alliance during "Fight or Flight," Drummer sarcastically tells Fred Johnson that "A cathedral converted into a warship sounds like the heart of a great and lasting nation."
- The protomolecule construct that eventually erupts from Venus looks an awful lot like a Brethren Moon.
- While at first glance the Ring's design is reminiscent of a lifeless Halo, Manéo Jung-Espinoza's attempt at flying through it reveals that it actually operates more like the Supergates built by the Ori.