* * C
The first volume of Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, is a decent science fiction novel. The protagonists, Marko and Alana, are a mixed race couple from opposite sides of a war. Marko’s race have horns, and Alana’s have wings, but otherwise they are humanoid. No explanation for this fact is given. Marko escaped from prison with Alana’s help. She was one of his guards. They then had a child together.
The book switches between Alana and Marko, who are trying to get off the planet, the robot prince of Alana’s people, who has been tasked with finding them, and The Will, a bounty hunter sent after them by Marko’s people. Marko has magical abilities, and there is evidence that there are other of magical things in the Saga universe. On the other hand, there is plenty of advanced technology too.
The writing is solid, with excellent dialog. I find Vaughan’s characters to be slightly preachy, but not so much that they become annoying. My biggest issue with the book is the lack of explanation of the science fiction and fantasy premises. Why are the royal family of landfall human, but with robotic heads? Why don’t they have wings? Since people of Landfall and Wreath can interbreed, are their wings and horns the products of genetic engineering? None of these questions are answered.
Creating a science fiction universe that contains magic can be done, and done well. For example, the Force is pure magic, but including it in the Star Wars universe works. Saga is attempting to do the same thing, but, at least in this volume, I find the juxtaposition a bit jarring. I may pick up the next volume, but it’s not a must read for me.