As I write this and extol the virtues of the Expanse series, I have a tinge of guilt. I recommend the show to friends, in addition to the books, but I am part of the reason it, the show, was cancelled. ScyFy owned the rights to only the first run of the show and I don’t watch any scripted shows at airtime, I am part of the cause for the cancellation. That said, it has officially been picked up by Amazon, apparently Jeff Bezos is a big fan. Note: I have no idea if the two statements are correlated. I am very excited to see what happens to the show on Prime; I’m very hopeful.
So, The Vital Abyss takes place between books five and six. The show is somewhere between books two and three so I’ll keep it spoiler-free. This novella answers a few questions like, “How’d that get there?” but more importantly it takes a hard look at what people are willing to do to survive. It’s a story about political prisoners, how they got where they are, and how they cope. It adds a little to the series as a whole but is a excellent look at the the writers’ ability to examine humanity.
Will you like it? I’d ask this question: Do you like Rogue One for its excursion from the Star Wars plot line? I do. I love seeing worlds being built and made richer and deeper. I have friends who don’t care for it at all because it doesn’t matter in the bigger picture. I understand their point of view but disagree with it completely. I love novellas in general for how they flesh out the worlds in which they exist. This novella is really in the category of ancillary but broadening. While events in the main series absolutely caused the events of this story, knowledge from this is not required to enjoy the main series, but it does enhance it.