A wonderfully atmospheric and tense sci-fi novella, Yellow Tag (Pervideo Series Book 1) by Kep Lagrange (@KepLagrange) reminded me a lot of the Man vs. Nature elements in some of Jack London’s great short stories as well as the scary showdown with HAL in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Conroy is the only Systems Technician on the Pervideo, part of a five-man crew on a years-long deep space survey mission. He’s been a busy man when not in his crib, or hibernation unit, troubleshooting and repairing equipment because the ship is filled with cheap and mismatched hardware. Wait, did I say five-man crew? Yeah, there’s only four now because one died when his crib failed.
In fact, the title refers to a system of designating the safety or usability of equipment. Something with a green tag is safe to use whereas an item with a red tag isn’t. An orange tag means emergency use only and a yellow tag indicates an item should be used with caution. The color palette comes into use on page one as Conroy searches through the ship’s inventory of pressure suits because he has to go outside, into the vacuum of space, to make a critical repair.
Conroy doesn’t like going outside, and he especially doesn’t like going outside while having to use a less than optimal pressure suit. But the hull breach must be sealed and there is no one else to do it, so …
To say more much would spoil the story for new readers, but it is edge of the seat stuff. The brutal and unforgiving nature of space provides a great backdrop and even the vastness of the galaxy becomes claustrophobic as the story spirals along and the tension builds. I voraciously read though the novella’s five chapters in one sitting, ignoring everything else happening around me as a gray and rainy Saturday morning became the afternoon.
Perhaps the best news I heard today is that Mr. Lagrange is actively working on the next installment to the series. I can’t wait to read it, or anything else he comes up with. For more about the author and his writing, visit his website.