Strange Dogs by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This review will contain spoilers for The Expanse book series, but not this book.
When we last left the universe of The Expanse, the good guys appeared to have won, except for the ship the rebels had sent into one of the gates. It was implied (or maybe outright stated, I can’t remember) that they were working on tech related to the protomolecule to use as a weapon for the rebels. Or maybe they were pretending to do so because there’s no honor among thieves.
This story only tangentially relates to that. We follow a ten-year-old girl who’s living on a planet in the system that the rebel Admiral went into. With the protomolecule nearby we see the manifestation (luminescent bugs) that Holden used to see when the detective would visit and this time it appears to incarnate in the form of dogs with some of the detective’s personality – for they’re always described with a face that reminds me of qualities the detective had. The short story reminded me of when Scalzi had that one book from the POV of the protagonist’s daughter (except she was a teen and this girl is 10). It’s a view into a world where we can guess a lot more of what’s going on because we have read all of The Expanse and we’re adults, but she is just old enough to understand a lot, but not old enough to understand consequences of her actions or why the adults around her act the way they do. About 3/4 through the story you realize what’s going to happen and it’s so horrific and beautiful and so many emotions come. JSAC continue to amaze me with their writing skills. I’ll go so far as to say that this is one short story you could probably enjoy even if you hadn’t read any of The Expanse and you’d just be missing some understanding of who some of the side characters are.
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