The Backworlds by M Pax is a free novel, not a novella, that launches a series set in a very colorful and entertaining universe. The aliens are very different from those seen on TV and in movies, they are all real characters. It's not a new book, but I just read it and that's why I am reviewing it.
You will want to continue reading into the series. This is a very entertaining book, I will be reading the second book, Stopover at the Backworlds Edge, soon enough, it was free when I signed up for the authors' newsletter.