cover image The Vela: The Complete Season 1

The Vela: The Complete Season 1

Becky Chambers, Yoon Ha Lee, Rivers Solomon, and SL Huang. Serial Box, $13.99 e-book (377p) ISBN 978-1-68210-618-1

Taking place during the slow but impending doom of future civilization, this compiled SF adventure serial demonstrates the limits of its format while still delivering an action-packed punch. Planetary refugee and mercenary for hire Asala Sikou has hardened herself to the harshness of life in a dying solar system. When the starship Vela goes missing, Asala is hired by inner-planet President Ekrem to find it on her home planet, Hypatia. Ekrem strains Asala’s patience by insisting that his privileged, computer-savvy child, Niko, accompany her. Not everything about the mission is as it seems, however, as Asala and Niko soon discover that the Vela holds a secret that swings the future of the galaxy like a pendulum. Each individual episode combines complex characters with action and emotional tension, and they’re best read with pauses in between; an attempt to consume the entire “season” as though it were a novel makes its flaws very apparent. The story is somewhat drawn out and hampered by unnecessary detail, and Asala is a stereotype of the tough, emotionless action hero. This interplanetary voyage is diverting but ultimately forgettable. (Mar.)