It’s nearly impossible to discuss the novella without spoilers for the series but I will try.
The Expanse series is one that I recommend to nearly everyone who enjoys really good sci-fi. There are currently seven novels, six novellas, and two seasons of a tv show on SyFy; season three starts soon.
The series takes place a few hundred years in the future wherein humanity lives all across the solar system. Humans developed the means to travel quickly but not light speed, as in much of sci-fi. I found that each novel took on a secondary theme. The first of the series, Leviathan Wakes, is a crime-noir story with a lot of horror elements. The second book was a political thriller. Corey can do this because they do such a great job of world-building. If you’ve read some of my older reviews, you’d see that I love world-building. More than that, I love when a series grows in its scope and addresses big questions that face mankind. This series does that so well and Strange Dogs is the best of the novellas at this.
Each novella in the series looks at something ancillary to the series as a whole. Sometimes it dives deep into a character’s past. Other times, it looks at something that is referenced throughout the series but requires more attention than can be afforded in a novel that needs to keep moving the plot. Strange Dogs does that but in a different way.
Strange Dogs is about a young girl, around 10, who witnesses death for the first time. She accidentally kills a bird and grapples with the emotions that come with that. In that sense it was a coming of age story and the kind of story that I appreciate so much more as a father. I know that I will have to have discussions with my children about death and dying and what it means. The girl in this story reminds me a lot of my daughter, who is almost three. Both are intrepid and daring and defiant and smart and caring. That aspect definitely helped to shape my opinion of the novella but it adds a very interesting wrinkle to the series as a whole.
Unlike previous novellas, Strange Dogs addresses something that has yet to occur in the main series. Officially, it is book #6.5 and thus takes place in between the the two most recent novels.