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Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up. That is, until his and Jane's past reaches out to bring them back into the game--as leaders of a new human Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up. That is, until his and Jane's past reaches out to bring them back into the game--as leaders of a new human colony, to be peopled by settlers from all the major human worlds, for a deep political purpose that will put Perry and Sagan back in the thick of interstellar politics, betrayal, and war.


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Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up. That is, until his and Jane's past reaches out to bring them back into the game--as leaders of a new human Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up. That is, until his and Jane's past reaches out to bring them back into the game--as leaders of a new human colony, to be peopled by settlers from all the major human worlds, for a deep political purpose that will put Perry and Sagan back in the thick of interstellar politics, betrayal, and war.

30 review for The Last Colony

  1. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    stupid fucking humans, you are the worst! always getting shit wrong and not caring! John Scalzi sort of agrees but sort of doesn't. he's a humanist who loves the individual as well as a scornful critic who slams systems, systematized secrecy, imperialism, and the use of conflict as a way to achieve goals. so he gets to have his cake and eat it too. his love of people is on display as ever, and although his characters often lack depth and aren't particularly interesting, they are still warmly char stupid fucking humans, you are the worst! always getting shit wrong and not caring! John Scalzi sort of agrees but sort of doesn't. he's a humanist who loves the individual as well as a scornful critic who slams systems, systematized secrecy, imperialism, and the use of conflict as a way to achieve goals. so he gets to have his cake and eat it too. his love of people is on display as ever, and although his characters often lack depth and aren't particularly interesting, they are still warmly characterized and pleasant to be around. sympathetic characters because Scalzi is a sympathetic sort of author. but he also finally gets to openly slam the Colonial Union and their war-mongering, secretive, tunnel-visioned ways. this is the third book in the series and the preceding books almost function as a wind-up to what turns out to be a mean right hook. stupid fucking Colonial Union, they've been long overdue for a knock-out. as usual the writing is pleasant and also generic. I did notice an increasing tendency to make things a bit too much on the nose. there's the name of the colony itself, "Roanoke", which of course has all sorts of resonance. but at least Scalzi acknowledges that. what's rather aggravating is the on-the-nose quality of the dialogue. it's always snappy and sarcastic and everyone responds with perfect timing; it's like a sitcom minus the laugh track. the end result is that it comes across as a bit plastic and characters sound a lot like each other. still, that's a minor complaint. overall this novel is fast-paced fun, full of adventure and politics and battles and aliens. because Scalzi is more interested in the human condition than anything else, his aliens often act just like humans. that can be annoying, but fortunately in this one he has a couple that don't: Hickory and Dickory. they were also pretty fun and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better in the follow-up novel. oh the synopsis, in my rush to get out of here I almost forgot: characters from prior novels lead a group of colonists to a new planet. the book is all about the layers upon layers of intrigue that surround this colony.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller

    This is the point in the series where the story needed to make me fall in love with it as much as the first book did. Coming off a decent, albeit underwhelming second novel (Ghost Brigades), I wanted Last Colony to evolve into a series I could endorse as passionately as The Expanse. Alas, while I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish, the book did leave a few points to be desired. My biggest complaint is the lack of description. Scalzi has all of these interesting alien species, but I'm This is the point in the series where the story needed to make me fall in love with it as much as the first book did. Coming off a decent, albeit underwhelming second novel (Ghost Brigades), I wanted Last Colony to evolve into a series I could endorse as passionately as The Expanse. Alas, while I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish, the book did leave a few points to be desired. My biggest complaint is the lack of description. Scalzi has all of these interesting alien species, but I'm at the halfway point in the series and couldn't begin to tell you what they look like. I love myself some xenobiology, but I feel the author has taken what should be a selling point to the series and glazed over it with ambiguity. At least Last Colony saw the return of my fav, John Perry, and an interesting convergence of storylines from the first two books. The humor came back in force and played a huge factor in my overall enjoyment. At the end of the day, while I've concluded there are some weaknesses to this series, all the strengths add up to give me an easy sci-fi, perfect for a light reading mood. My Fantasy Buddy Reads group on Goodreads has called it "hefty fluff" or "fluff-plus" and I don't think it inaccurate. I would definitely recommend it anyday for someone in the mood for a bit of fun. Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.nikihawkes.com Other books you might like:

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    I’m no expert at colonizing newly discovered worlds, but I gotta think that naming your new planet ‘Roanoke’ and your settlement town ‘Croatoan’ is just asking to be pimp slapped by fate. Why not just christen a ship ‘Titantic’ or call that new nuclear plant ’Chernobyl’? What’s the worst that could happen? The third installment of this series finds John Perry and his wife Jane retired from the Colonial Defense Force and living quietly on a colonized planet with their daughter. The CDF approaches I’m no expert at colonizing newly discovered worlds, but I gotta think that naming your new planet ‘Roanoke’ and your settlement town ‘Croatoan’ is just asking to be pimp slapped by fate. Why not just christen a ship ‘Titantic’ or call that new nuclear plant ’Chernobyl’? What’s the worst that could happen? The third installment of this series finds John Perry and his wife Jane retired from the Colonial Defense Force and living quietly on a colonized planet with their daughter. The CDF approaches them to head up a new colony, Roanoke. All the other colonies have been started using people from Earth, but Roanoke will be the first to be made up of a hodge podge of people from different colonized worlds, and this makes it a political hot potato. John and Jane agree to head up the new colony, but they quickly learn that the CDF hasn’t told them everything and that the Roanoke colony is a pawn in the conflict between the CDF and other alien races. Like Old Man’s War or The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony is a fun and fast mix of space combat and politics. Scalzi creates characters you like and then throws them into plots that race from one huge event to the next, and he also injects a welcome sense of humor into the books. My only complaint is that the pace is so fast that Scalzi skimps on descriptions of settings, people and alien creatures in favor of dialogue and action so that I sometimes had a problem getting a clear picture in my mind of what was going on. This is space war action several notches above what you usually get in this genre, and any sci-fi fan should check out this series.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mayim de Vries

    “It is an interesting thing to be both critical and expendable to humanity’s effort to populate the stars.” Woodrow Wilson's wet dream goes interstellar! “The Last Colony” is so far the weakest in the Old Men's War series. After “old people" (part one) and special forces (second volume), in the third instalment, Mr Scalzi focuses on the colonists and colonial life in general. The main characters are our old friends, John Perry and Jane Sagan. In a sense, this book finalises the stories of these tw “It is an interesting thing to be both critical and expendable to humanity’s effort to populate the stars.” Woodrow Wilson's wet dream goes interstellar! “The Last Colony” is so far the weakest in the Old Men's War series. After “old people" (part one) and special forces (second volume), in the third instalment, Mr Scalzi focuses on the colonists and colonial life in general. The main characters are our old friends, John Perry and Jane Sagan. In a sense, this book finalises the stories of these two. John is an ombudsman on the remote planet of Huckleberry. It is a just the right job for a war hero without any experience useful in the daily life of a backwater rural colony. Jane is the local constabulary. Zoe, their adoptive daughter, has a blast of a teenage life. They even have two domesticated aliens to keep them company. Life’s good. And then, for reasons beyond my understanding, John and Jane decide to abandon this quiet corner of the universe in order to participate in another venture sponsored by the Colonial Union. Are you surprised too? I was definitely outside my plausibility zone. The whole “twist” was beyond my comprehension. They are not blackmailed. They have no obligations (except for a perverted sense of moral duty). They even have no direct or indirect benefit in it. Still, they hop on. And I have to say that the author did not manage to convince me why they shouldn’t say “no, thank you” to the CU. I would. While it is nice to see John Perry (his POV is very distinct and I love his high sarcasm - the scene with Chengelpet brothers and their goat was just priceless), the overall plot is of lower density and so the book read slower (at least for me). Frankly speaking, the initial chapters are just boring because suddenly it is a Wild West in the space. I have no fondness for Westerns and frontier towns and all the settler business was not that appealing. After the initial boredom, as the whole scheme goes awry (as expected) somewhere in the middle of the book, Mr Scalzi goes pollyanna and presents Woodrow Wilson's wet dream of the universe. This was the precise moment when I understood why I had previously enjoyed the series so much. Simply put, it wasn't serious. It was fun, pure entertainment. And it was OK because not everybody needs to attempt to mimic Immanuel Kant. Not everybody should do that, in fact. And here, within few pages, we go from Scalzi making fun and playing with the genre to Scalzi turning preachy and pushy. The push direction is towards a full-blown utopia ignoring the simplest laws of alliance building and working in concert as a security community. There is a UN without the Security Council (it is called Conclave) and it operates as if in the space the obstacles to international interplanetary cooperation (lack of trust, lack of information and free riding) were as absent as gravity. It would be hilarious if it wasn't obvious that Mr Scalzi is serious this time and not winking at the reader. And that he really believes in the beautiful dream of multi-culti in the space where many races would live in peace and harmony, and among rainbows and unicorns… wait. No. No unicorns. For those of you who wonder why I am so vehemently opposed to this blatant and stupid propaganda, please read John Msarsheimer’s essay on international institutions as a cause of peace here in the full text and here in a 5-minute video. I promise it is worth your time. On top of all this hubris, there is the totally reified Colonial Union as a caricature of dictatorship and the wise Conclave leader who eschews power but would kill for (pun intended and justified!) deliberative democracy and burden sharing. The whole book is written on idiotic assumptions (view spoiler)[ e.g. that the humanity managed to trick other races into thinking that Phoenix is its home planet (the very same humanity whose intelligence has no problems with weaning out the most ridiculous secrets of other races like the layout of imperial palace or quirks of their armour and I am supposed to believe that the alien races dream on unaware of humanity’s home planet?!) (hide spoiler)] , conveniences (view spoiler)[the Obin guardianship of Zoe and the big fat Consu convenience (hide spoiler)] and inconsistencies (view spoiler)[the sentient race on the illegal colony being one thing, but the thing that jarred me the worst was the John’s repeatedly emphasised love and concern for Zoe with not a thought for his biological son potentially in peril on Earth. Not a single one. Congratulations, John. (hide spoiler)] When I say that the book is much worse than the first two volumes, it still remains a decent reading. If you ignore the absurd geopolitical background, you might enjoy reading about the ‘borderland settlement’ tale and the problems of a small community. For me, the Last Colony was a lost colony. --- Also in the series: 1. Old Man's War ★★★★★ 2. The Ghost Brigades ★★★★☆ 4. Zoe's Tale ★☆☆☆☆ 5. The Human Division ★★☆☆☆

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Way cool SF writer Scalzi returns to his Old Man's War universe. This time around John Perry and his badass wife Jane are out of the CDF and are no longer green, having been given retired human bodies. Nowadays they are chillaxing on a colony basking in their boring new roles, living a quiet life with their adopted daughter Zoe. But their lives change when a CDF general invites / demands / requires them to lead a party of new colonists on a brand new planetary colony that reminded me of Robert A. Way cool SF writer Scalzi returns to his Old Man's War universe. This time around John Perry and his badass wife Jane are out of the CDF and are no longer green, having been given retired human bodies. Nowadays they are chillaxing on a colony basking in their boring new roles, living a quiet life with their adopted daughter Zoe. But their lives change when a CDF general invites / demands / requires them to lead a party of new colonists on a brand new planetary colony that reminded me of Robert A. Heinlein’s 1955 Scribner’s juvenile novel Tunnel in the Sky. John, Jane, Zoe and the other colonists are caught up in political intrigue and high level skullduggery and they’ve got to figure things out to save mankind and sort out the Colonial Union and the alien Conclave. With some help from Hickory and Dickory the Obin guardians of Zoe. Good fun for Scalzi fans.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Terence

    After retiring from the Colonial Defense Force, John Perry and Jane Sagan started a new life on the Human colony Huckleberry. The two of them live with their adopted daughter Zoë, work local jobs, and have a farm. All of that changes when they are approached to be the leaders of a new human colony which will be colonized by people from other human colonies. There is more to this arrangement than they were told and the family finds itself once again forced to fight to survive. John Scalzi shows an After retiring from the Colonial Defense Force, John Perry and Jane Sagan started a new life on the Human colony Huckleberry. The two of them live with their adopted daughter Zoë, work local jobs, and have a farm. All of that changes when they are approached to be the leaders of a new human colony which will be colonized by people from other human colonies. There is more to this arrangement than they were told and the family finds itself once again forced to fight to survive. John Scalzi shows another part of his universe with The Last Colony. In Old Man's War we learned about how The Colonial Union gets recruits,  makes them fighting ready, and the dangers of the universe. In Ghost Brigades we see the inner workings of the Special Forces and the increased danger they face. The Last Colony shows what life is like as a colonist and it's dangerous and boring. A whole lot of farming is involved which made the beginning drag quite a bit. John Perry, Jane Sagan, and the colonists got thoroughly screwed in this book. It was shocking to see how even after such betrayal what people could be capable of doing. I'd like to think people would be smarter than this, but the colonists are probably similar to the majority of individuals in the world. The story has a lot of moving parts and an air of mystery. Unfortunately for me most of it seemed quite obvious. It was good to see John Perry again, he's just as funny as a sarcastic young man as he was as an old man. I still don't like how neatly Scalzi wraps up his books and The Last Colony was no exception. I did like how he left the ending open for future tales. The Last Colony was a solid conclusion to the Old Man's War trilogy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    John Perry and Jane Sagan have left the CDF and have been living with Zoe on a colony called Huckleberry until they're uprooted and sent to start a new colony, Roanoke. Only the CDF isn't telling them the whole truth and the Conclave is on the prowl for rogue colonies. Can Perry and his family save Roanoke without being traitors to the Colonial Union? Wow. I loved this book almost as much as I loved the first in the series, Old Man's War. John Perry is back and in fine form. Scalzi crammed a lot John Perry and Jane Sagan have left the CDF and have been living with Zoe on a colony called Huckleberry until they're uprooted and sent to start a new colony, Roanoke. Only the CDF isn't telling them the whole truth and the Conclave is on the prowl for rogue colonies. Can Perry and his family save Roanoke without being traitors to the Colonial Union? Wow. I loved this book almost as much as I loved the first in the series, Old Man's War. John Perry is back and in fine form. Scalzi crammed a lot of story into just over 300 pages; tensions between the CDF and the Conclave, the mutual respect between Perry and General Gau, the Obin, and more that I can't divulge without blowing too many bits of the lot. Scalzi's writing is in top form in The Last Colony and since John Perry is the lead character, there's a bit more humor than in Ghost Brigades. Still, it's almost as serious as the previous book. One of the things that I loved the most about the Last Colony was that Scalzi wasn't afraid to shake things up. While I'm aware that there's a fourth book and am eagerly awaiting it's arrival in the mail, I wasn't completely sure any of colonists would survive. I loved that Scalzi brought Perry and Sagan full circle since the first book. While it would have made a grand ending for the saga, I'm glad Scalzi still has stories left to tell in this universe. I can't recommend The Last Colony, or the previous two books, Old Man's War, and The Ghost Brigades, enough. They aren't just great military science fiction; they're great books.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tom Merritt

    There's an easy brilliance to the OMW series that I think shines at its best in Last Colony. At any moment you may feel like you're reading a light novel with snappy dialog and a straightforward plot. The phrase 'beach reading' May even flit through your mind. But the. You'll realize that these characters are green super soldiers, alien generals with eye stalks and emotionless guardians of a teenage girl. Then it strikes you that the themes aren't just love and family and such but also war and o There's an easy brilliance to the OMW series that I think shines at its best in Last Colony. At any moment you may feel like you're reading a light novel with snappy dialog and a straightforward plot. The phrase 'beach reading' May even flit through your mind. But the. You'll realize that these characters are green super soldiers, alien generals with eye stalks and emotionless guardians of a teenage girl. Then it strikes you that the themes aren't just love and family and such but also war and oppression and politics and the meaning of being human. And that's when you realize that Scalzi is a devilish little genius with a clever plan behind his smile. I believe and fervently hope he uses his powers for good.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    Unlike many, I think I may have liked this third book more than the first two. It's a pretty firm shift from a military story to a colony one, which may be why I liked it so much. Colony stories are among my favourites in the SF genre. Where I feel these books are somewhat lacking is in their character development, and The Last Colony is no exception. Both John and Jane are pretty much the same as they always were, and Zoe's growth is limited to what one would generically expect when a child grow Unlike many, I think I may have liked this third book more than the first two. It's a pretty firm shift from a military story to a colony one, which may be why I liked it so much. Colony stories are among my favourites in the SF genre. Where I feel these books are somewhat lacking is in their character development, and The Last Colony is no exception. Both John and Jane are pretty much the same as they always were, and Zoe's growth is limited to what one would generically expect when a child grows into.a teen. Even though she was a significant character, her presence in the story felt lacking in depth. Maybe that will change in Zoe's Tale? Although tobe honest, as much as I enjoyed this book I'm not totally stoked to read the same story over again but from a different P.O.V.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    3.5 stars. A good installment in this series. I enjoyed this much more than I was expecting, and totally loved these women: Jane Sagan and Savitri Guntupillai. I'm looking forward to seeing this story's events from Zoe Boutin's perspective soon. I wanted to spend so much more time with these three people. It's nice to see that some of the revelations in book 2 are followed up here, (view spoiler)[namely, that Charles Boutin wasn't just a crazy, evil genius, and the CU really are fairly unethical 3.5 stars. A good installment in this series. I enjoyed this much more than I was expecting, and totally loved these women: Jane Sagan and Savitri Guntupillai. I'm looking forward to seeing this story's events from Zoe Boutin's perspective soon. I wanted to spend so much more time with these three people. It's nice to see that some of the revelations in book 2 are followed up here, (view spoiler)[namely, that Charles Boutin wasn't just a crazy, evil genius, and the CU really are fairly unethical (hide spoiler)] . I liked the end of the book, too, in that there is an interesting choice laid out to humans by John Perry's actions. Also, I also kind of liked John here, though I definitely preferred every second Jane and Savitri were on page.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This review from October was wrongly placed with the entre piece of the serialized book: This was a well-paced, fun space opera in the same universe as Scalzi’s series starting with “The Old Man’s War”. The confederation of human planets known as Colonial Union was formed in response to alien civilizations out to exterminate our species, and in response to their success hundreds of alien species have formed their own confederation, the Conclave. The resulting peace from strength has become shaky This review from October was wrongly placed with the entre piece of the serialized book: This was a well-paced, fun space opera in the same universe as Scalzi’s series starting with “The Old Man’s War”. The confederation of human planets known as Colonial Union was formed in response to alien civilizations out to exterminate our species, and in response to their success hundreds of alien species have formed their own confederation, the Conclave. The resulting peace from strength has become shaky as the Union has been so brutal in maintaining allegiance and control that Earth has dropped out, removing a big source of their resources and soldiers. A recent attack by the Union on Conclave forces was restrained from becoming all-out war only by the wisdom of their leader, General Gau, who now can barely keep the alien confederation together. The plot here concerns a fiendish plan by an alien and human renegades called Equilibrium to get rid of both the Colonial Union and the Conclave by fomenting a war between them. There are significant military actions in the story, but most of the tale is taken up with intelligence work and political maneuvering. The narrative is presented in four cohesive sections told in first person by different players in the drama. At the ground level, we start with the accounts of a male commercial space pilot whose ship is hijacked and now is enslaved as a “brain in a box”, with his only means of living mediated through a virtual reality interface. His hate for the human traitor behind his capture and murder of his crew, a th Union’s Secretary of State drives him to brilliant heroic action. Another section is told from the perspective a female assault trooper with the Colonial Defense Force engaged in quelling rebellions seeking independence from the Union. She begins to question why they keep putting out fires but do not address the root causes. At a higher level, we get the perspectives of a Colonial Union State Department spy and of an alien which is second in command of the Conclave. They end up partnering with diplomats from the Earth and the Union to pull off an intricate trap for the shadowy Equilibrium forces, outfoxing both their secret supporters in Conclave legislature and others who just want all humans wiped out. The high stakes for the human species adds to the thrills for this story. The weaving of multiple threads and complex strategies lift the novel a bit above the pulp level. Characters are sketchy but vividly rendered with special quirks and a lot of ironic humor. The aliens fail to appear different from humans in their motivations and thinking, and any biological differences are not explored but merely tossed off in a virtually comic fashion. This conforms to a long tradition in space opera, where space is just a playground for human drama (some of the best, like the works of Bujold and David Weber dispense with aliens altogether). What lifts this from 3 to 4 stars for me is the dynamic presentation of the tale, the caper-like feel to the schemes employed by its lovable heroes, and its marshalling of interesting technologies by “showing not telling.”

  12. 4 out of 5

    Veronique

    Third volume in the Old Man's War series This one felt rather different to the previous two - much lighter in a way although the stakes are still pretty high - but as enjoyable to read. The narration is back from the point of view of John Perry, who is living a peaceful life on a colony with Jane Sagan and Zoe, after the explosive events of The Ghost Brigades. Eight years have passed and the two ex soldiers look at ease in this new life, the first as an ombudsman and the other as a constable, deal Third volume in the Old Man's War series This one felt rather different to the previous two - much lighter in a way although the stakes are still pretty high - but as enjoyable to read. The narration is back from the point of view of John Perry, who is living a peaceful life on a colony with Jane Sagan and Zoe, after the explosive events of The Ghost Brigades. Eight years have passed and the two ex soldiers look at ease in this new life, the first as an ombudsman and the other as a constable, dealing with trivial matters that creep up in small populations. Naturally, the fates want more from our characters and they are once more pushed into the centre of the action, namely, be the administrators of a new special colony, Roanoke, with heavy political symbolism. To say that things do not go to plan is an understatement, and they find themselves in the middle of a huge power play with heavy ramifications. I really enjoyed this and not just because we are already invested in these protagonists. Perry has a very compelling voice, full of irony, and it was a pleasure to hear him again. The dynamics between him and the no nonsense Jane, was great to see, especially the banter, humour, and easy manner from people who deeply care for each other. I wondered however where Scalzi was going with this story, with its focus on imperialism and the dangers of power in the hands of the few, placing us first in a narrow perspective, and widening it three quarters of the way in. It did feel a little disjointed but not much. I still gulped it pretty quickly.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Igor Ljubuncic

    This is a good book, but nowhere near as good as the first (best) or second (very good). Let's start with the 'me like' stuff: John has a nice, easygoing writing style, so even if there isn't too much happening in the book, it's still quite all right. Overall, the arch-story of the series continues, and we get additional exposure to the politics of CU and the Conclave. John Perry is back, it's first person again, and the focus is now on the colonial side of the union. Unfortunately ... The Last Col This is a good book, but nowhere near as good as the first (best) or second (very good). Let's start with the 'me like' stuff: John has a nice, easygoing writing style, so even if there isn't too much happening in the book, it's still quite all right. Overall, the arch-story of the series continues, and we get additional exposure to the politics of CU and the Conclave. John Perry is back, it's first person again, and the focus is now on the colonial side of the union. Unfortunately ... The Last Colony does not have the careless humor and the adventure of the first book. Old Man's War was sweet, sad, mysterious, funny. The Last Colony feels forced. The guys are going on a mission to setup a colony. Very Amish style. Jane is there, and Zoe, too, and it feels a bit awkward. But then, when they do finally start the colony, you get almost no glimpse of the world around them, and the encounter with the local life/population is quickly forgotten. Almost like a checklist that someone forgot to check until after the book was written and released to the market. Then, the interaction between protagonists - mostly John and everyone else - is extremely formulaic. They all talk and think the same, including supposedly sleazy politicians and alien generals. They all have this laid back mid-West US talk, and they use the word 'no offense' all too often. It makes no sense. Even people from a different country on our little planet have completely different mannerisms, idioms, and way of speaking, let alone an intergallatic bug-like species from a distant world. C'mon. The few battles that are there are quick and emotionless. The twists are somewhat predictable, and so is the honorable rebellion attitude. John is no longer the wise old man, he's a maverick Marine who wants to do good, regardless of what the Universe needs or thinks. And again, we have more conversations between John and different generals, quick dead-pan delivery sentences that sound like arguing but in fact are manifests of self-righteousness, more 'no offense none taken' moments, and the identical personality repetition for each and every character. In a way, it feels like what's happening with Joe Abercrombie - when you milk it too much you lose passion for your own work. Which is why I won't read more of this series, especially as I don't care about this identical storyline from Zoe's perspective. And it's no wonder that John wrote Redshirts, because it allowed him to go wild and carefree. And it shows. When you write for fun, it's fun. When you write, because there's a contract, you can feel it. This book could have been a lot better - more variety among characters, more suspense, more planetary exploration, more profound engagements between species. The way it's done, it's: Let's pretend to be Amish in space and then have long discussions with alien generals around Bushido code in a Texan accent. Limerick: There was once a planet with no name, Where John, Jane and Zoe came, Obin and Amish, Peril and perish, EVERYBODY talked the same. Igor

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mpauli

    Overall this was a fantastic read and a lot of fun. Seeing the story again told from John Perry's point of view was a blast and the combination of humor, plot, twists, characters and action worked really well for me. The ony complaint I have is that for the plot to really work at two points people who should have know better make actually some stupid decisions. I think if everyone had really acted like I would assume leaders of large political groups would act, then the story couldn't have played Overall this was a fantastic read and a lot of fun. Seeing the story again told from John Perry's point of view was a blast and the combination of humor, plot, twists, characters and action worked really well for me. The ony complaint I have is that for the plot to really work at two points people who should have know better make actually some stupid decisions. I think if everyone had really acted like I would assume leaders of large political groups would act, then the story couldn't have played out the way it did. So, techically I would deduct a half-star for this, so it is a 4.5 star read for me, which I'm still rounding up to 5, cause the book is just a lot of fun.

  15. 5 out of 5

    seak

    I think Scalzi's a fun author to read, one you can always go back to knowing you'll have an entertaining read. He's got smart characters you can root for, fast-paced plots, and you always know you won't have to think too hard. I love to be challenged in my reading, but I don't want to be challenged with every single book I read. Thus, authors like John Scalzi make for the perfect break in your intellectual readings. The Last Colony is the final Old Man's War universe novel with John Perry and Jan I think Scalzi's a fun author to read, one you can always go back to knowing you'll have an entertaining read. He's got smart characters you can root for, fast-paced plots, and you always know you won't have to think too hard. I love to be challenged in my reading, but I don't want to be challenged with every single book I read. Thus, authors like John Scalzi make for the perfect break in your intellectual readings. The Last Colony is the final Old Man's War universe novel with John Perry and Jane Sagan. At least until the next one comes out right. I haven't read Zoe's Tale, but I assume it's predominately her (I'm good at making inferences from my reading aren't I?), at least I know it's her perspective of the events in The Last Colony. Here, John and Jane have been living the life on the planet of Huckleberry. Low key is the word and they couldn't be happier, maybe. Then, they're offered the chance to head a new colony that really needs them. Of course they agree and soon find out that things are not quite as expected. The good ol' Colonial Union isn't the most forthcoming with information about just about anything and they find themselves in lots of trouble (another 'of course' belongs here too). Scalzi's tight plotting keep things moving nicely and the mysteries keep the pages moving as well. The actual intent behind the colony is slowly revealed and not once did it lose me in believability (unlike Redshirts I might add). This was a great conclusion to John and Jane's story although the surprises in the first book, Old Man's War, just can't be beat for me. 3.5 out of 5 stars (recommended)

  16. 4 out of 5

    The Shayne-Train

    Wowzers. Just....plain....wowzers. This was such a perfect end to the trilogy. We go back to the first-person narrative of Major John Perry, formerly a reborn-supersoldier, now a husband and father and space-colonist. Plenty of good kill-all-da-alienz stuff, but also a lot of good making-your-way-in-the-world-today-takes-everything-you-got stuff too. Oh, and some DOWN-WITH-THE-MAN stuff. Can't forget that. Goodreads tells me there are more books in the series. I find that odd, because it felt like Wowzers. Just....plain....wowzers. This was such a perfect end to the trilogy. We go back to the first-person narrative of Major John Perry, formerly a reborn-supersoldier, now a husband and father and space-colonist. Plenty of good kill-all-da-alienz stuff, but also a lot of good making-your-way-in-the-world-today-takes-everything-you-got stuff too. Oh, and some DOWN-WITH-THE-MAN stuff. Can't forget that. Goodreads tells me there are more books in the series. I find that odd, because it felt like I got a perfectly delicious amount of closure from this one. Maybe just more stories in the same universe? Regardless, I'll most likely check 'em out in the future, once I've let this wonderful set of three novels settle in my mind-belly.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    P.S. Whenever I glance at this cover, I think it’s a duck unless I’m zoomed way in. This third book returns to John Perry, who now lives with Jane and Zoe. They get asked to start a new colony but quickly get tired of being everybody else’s pawn in their galactic political games. There are a few twists and surprises, and John gets to do this a couple times: The writing has lots of “he said” and “she said” tags, which I think is more noticeable on audio. There are long scenes of dialogue and steady P.S. Whenever I glance at this cover, I think it’s a duck unless I’m zoomed way in. This third book returns to John Perry, who now lives with Jane and Zoe. They get asked to start a new colony but quickly get tired of being everybody else’s pawn in their galactic political games. There are a few twists and surprises, and John gets to do this a couple times: The writing has lots of “he said” and “she said” tags, which I think is more noticeable on audio. There are long scenes of dialogue and steady action and plenty of snark. It’s a fun story. I got through it pretty quickly thanks to insomnia. Book Blog

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    2012 January At the end of the book Scalzi says he isn't going to write any more about these characters. So even though I'm midway in Zoe's Tale, I'm having a sad. It's smart science fiction, interesting characters, intriguing problems with colonization, and Sagan and Perry are so good at working things through. I would happily read many more stories about them. Great scifi, and, for those of us who enjoy twists, plenty of them. Really, Old Man's War is an unusually strong series. There must be f 2012 January At the end of the book Scalzi says he isn't going to write any more about these characters. So even though I'm midway in Zoe's Tale, I'm having a sad. It's smart science fiction, interesting characters, intriguing problems with colonization, and Sagan and Perry are so good at working things through. I would happily read many more stories about them. Great scifi, and, for those of us who enjoy twists, plenty of them. Really, Old Man's War is an unusually strong series. There must be flaws, but I can't find any. Personal copy 1 September 2014

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    Book started off slowly.Initially It's mostly about misadventures of cutoff colony but somewhere around half of the book there is a point where "shit gets real" and book reverts to that fast paced space opera we all know and love. First half: 3 stars.Slow but necessary. Second half: 5 stars.Best part of the series, when things got going I couldn't put it down.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

    The more of John Scalzi’s work I read, the more I like his writing. Set in the same universe as “Old Man’s War”, the 2008 Hugo nominated novel, “The Last Colony” does not disappoint. Scalzi has a gift for writing science fiction that fires the imagination and remains completely believable. He doesn’t fill his novels with a bunch of boring exposition. Any technology that needs explanation is explained in a comprehensible manner, not with a lot of jargon. In many ways, his novels hearken back to t The more of John Scalzi’s work I read, the more I like his writing. Set in the same universe as “Old Man’s War”, the 2008 Hugo nominated novel, “The Last Colony” does not disappoint. Scalzi has a gift for writing science fiction that fires the imagination and remains completely believable. He doesn’t fill his novels with a bunch of boring exposition. Any technology that needs explanation is explained in a comprehensible manner, not with a lot of jargon. In many ways, his novels hearken back to the days of Asimov, Clarke and Bradbury. They are fun and easy to read, but they are also full of big ideas. “The Last Colony” features John Perry and Jane Sagan from “Old Man’s War” and their adopted daughter, Zoë, who was introduced briefly in “The Ghost Brigades”. While all of Scalzi’s books are fine to read as stand-alone novels, one should probably at least read “Old Man’s War”, if not “The Ghost Brigades” before diving into “The Last Colony”. Mind you, “The Last Colony” will still be comprehensible to readers who haven’t read the previous two; but the background in the predecessors will make “The Last Colony” a richer experience. “The Last Colony” is an incredibly fun read. It has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. Every time the protagonist and the reader figure something out, there’s something else they didn’t know about that changes the whole thing. The ending is the biggest twist of all, but it fits logically with the rest of the story. I have to say that, unlike its predecessors, “The Last Colony” left me wanting more. Scalzi introduces an intelligent alien species on the newly colonized planet, but never goes back to them. I want to know more. I want to know what happens to the Roanoke colonists after the story end. I would love to see a book about Manfred Trujillo and one about the Mennonite colonists. There’s just so much more to the Roanoke colony than the book gives us. It’s not that I think “The Last Colony” should have been longer. It is the perfect length, and I like that it limits its scope to the story at hand. Scalzi doesn’t muck things up by including a bunch of confusing subplots. The stories I want to see told are best left for other books and I happy that they’re not here.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

    The Last Colony is the third installment of the Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi, and will probably be my last visit to Scalzi world. I really enjoyed Old Man’s War, as it had the perfect blend of a sympathetic and wise-cracking main character, intriguing concept (recruiting 75 year olds with the promise of powerful new military bodies to fight aliens threatening humanity), basic training with the new bodies, first combat, and an exciting finale. However, with each successive book I’m learning The Last Colony is the third installment of the Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi, and will probably be my last visit to Scalzi world. I really enjoyed Old Man’s War, as it had the perfect blend of a sympathetic and wise-cracking main character, intriguing concept (recruiting 75 year olds with the promise of powerful new military bodies to fight aliens threatening humanity), basic training with the new bodies, first combat, and an exciting finale. However, with each successive book I’m learning just how weak Scalzi’s descriptive powers are, and while he certainly has a breezy narrative style and refreshing sense of humor, it is starting to wear thin on me since the stories lack the fresh ideas and precise pacing of the initial book. This problem was especially apparent in Redshirts, which had a great idea (what if you found yourself as one of those unfortunate redshirt-wearing ensigns destined for a horrible death in Star Trek) but got tiresome towards the end. This time John Perry and Jane Sagan have retired to an ostensibly uneventful life on the colony Huckleberry as an ombudsman and head of security. Guess what, aparrently the Colonial Defense Forces are not done with them, or their adopted daughter Zoe Boutin. They get dragged into being in charge of a new colony made up of 10 planet’s representatives, which is like being a kindergarten cop. Then the CDF plays a switcheroo on the colonists, and they become pawns in a chess match between the CDF and the alien Conclave on a world called Roanoke. It’s not worth detailing the remaining plot details, but suffice to say that Scalzi has to pull out increasingly unlikely scenarios from his hat to keep the action centered on this family. Is it really plausible that an entire Conclave of 412 hostile alien races cannot get their act together to beat into submission a single colony of 2,500 settlers who are basically unarmed civilians? And does it really make sense that the alien Obin would commit their race to protecting the daughter of the human traitor who granted them consciousness? Not to mention the dubious plot device of passing on military-grade combat strength and skills to someone by slipping something into their food? I wasn’t buying that one. To sum up, John Scalzi has a pretty reliable formula for churning out entertaining military SF, and he tries to vary it from book to book, but I don't think I can gain anything further by reading more of his output, with so many other books clamoring to be read. Not to worry though, I’m sure he’ll do just fine without me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Silvana

    This is disappointing since I usually can count on Scalzi for keeping me glued to the screen of my Kindle. The book, or series, has been underwhelming for me since The Ghost Brigade. I think the parts where it should spend more time on got shortened like the going ons in other planets during the war with the Conclave etc, and vice versa. There are many conversation with arguments made clear at the start but somehow the characters keep paraphrasing it without uncovering new insights. I was really This is disappointing since I usually can count on Scalzi for keeping me glued to the screen of my Kindle. The book, or series, has been underwhelming for me since The Ghost Brigade. I think the parts where it should spend more time on got shortened like the going ons in other planets during the war with the Conclave etc, and vice versa. There are many conversation with arguments made clear at the start but somehow the characters keep paraphrasing it without uncovering new insights. I was really bored. One time, during one of the explanation session, I was thinking, well, if you are going to attack a fleet consisted of hundreds of nations don't you think they will want to avenge their fallen soldiers and ships? Assumptions can kill especially in system dynamics. The Colonial Union in this book was so frustratingly stupid and it annoyed me that the MCs, smart as they were, did not think of that possibility and try to, as they did very often, argue against it and try to find another way. Last but not least, the level of deus ex machinas here are way too many. One I could handle, but two is overdoing it, man. Two stars are for the overly emotional but cute Obins, and the steadfast Hiram.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dorothea

    I found The Last Colony really disappointing compared to Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. Here's why: 1. The first two books got a lot of their structure from the military training that their protagonists, John Perry and Jared Dirac. The process of learning new skills and ways of thinking also made Perry and Dirac interesting characters. The Last Colony doesn't have any training; Perry is the protagonist again and he does have to adapt to a new career as the administrator of a new colony, bu I found The Last Colony really disappointing compared to Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. Here's why: 1. The first two books got a lot of their structure from the military training that their protagonists, John Perry and Jared Dirac. The process of learning new skills and ways of thinking also made Perry and Dirac interesting characters. The Last Colony doesn't have any training; Perry is the protagonist again and he does have to adapt to a new career as the administrator of a new colony, but there's no boot camp -- he's chosen because (we're told) he already has most of the necessary experience and leadership skills. Instead, the plot moves on as Perry and his settlers are pushed along the colonizing process, at intervals learning more secrets about the plot that underlies the colony's creation. Instead of Perry leveling up to a new phase of training, he (sometimes rather passively) receives new information. This doesn't make for quite so appealing a plot, and Perry himself is less engaging as an administrator instead of a soldier. 2. Perry's colony is called Roanoke. I am a North Carolinian and I've known the story of Roanoke, the Lost Colony, since about first grade. To name a colony you want to succeed "Roanoke" is like naming a new nuclear power plant "Chernobyl." When the colony in this book is in the planning stages, everyone refers to it as Roanoke without explanation or comment. Later, when it becomes clear that the people in the Colonial Union who named the colony have nefarious plans for it, Perry reflects that hm, it must have been a deliberate choice to name his colony after the original Lost Colony! ... look, if the Colonial Union had a secret nefarious plot for this colony, which it did, and it wanted to keep this plot a secret from the colonists until it was too late, which it did, why would it drop such a broad hint to everyone in the form of the colony's very name? The decision to call the colony Roanoke only makes sense to me if I interpret it as a literary decision by Scalzi, instead of a tactical decision by anybody inside the book. Every time I saw the colony's name (or the name of the colony's first village, Croatoan, or other related names given to geographical features) I was jolted straight out of the story. 3. The characters. Perhaps because he doesn't learn anything in this book apart from political secrets, I found John Perry really boring to read about this time. I kept wanting to read more about Jane Sagan (a Special Forces soldier from the first and second books whom John married between books two and three), Zoë Boutin (John and Jane's adopted daughter, who appeared as a child in book two and is now a teenager), Savitri (a new character in this book, who works as John and Jane's assistant), and Hickory and Dickory (two Obin beings who hang around to keep an eye on Zoë, for reasons explained in book two). But there was never enough about these characters; I felt like the attention of the narrative kept getting yanked back to John. I guess that's inevitable since he's the first-person narrator, but I rather resented it! Jane gets a few moments of awesomeness, but although she's actually co-administrator of the colony with John, he seems to make most of the decisions and it feels like she's "just" his wife. It's easy to forget that when they first worked together, in Old Man's War, it was in an exciting combat situation in which Jane was totally in her element. Zoë was fun to read about, but I just wanted more of her. I really liked Savitri's personality, but we never really got any insight about her motivations. She insists on accompanying John and his family to the new colony and beyond, and I have no idea why. 4. Hickory and Dickory get their own point. The Obin have technology that allows them to communicate (as a sort of group consciousness) with other Obin. Hickory and Dickory (named by Zoë as a little girl; I was uncomfortable throughout the entire book with these names, although it makes sense that they would want to keep these names and probably didn't even have personal names of their own before they took on their current role) reveal early on, in the course of a disagreement with John, that they know way more about the interstellar political situation than anyone else in the colony. John's reaction is simply that they'll have to agree to disagree -- it doesn't seem to occur to him to ask them to explain their reasoning or tell him what they know. John spends most of the book treating the Obin like pets or servants instead of the powerful potential allies they really are. To add insult to injury, even after being reminded by Jane that Obin do gender differently than humans -- each individual is both male and female -- he unsystematically refers to Hickory and Dickory as "him" as well as "it." 5. [This one has spoilers] So, the real conflict of this book is that the Colonial Union (the humans' governing unit in the universe) opposes the Conclave, a coalition of hundreds of other beings whose purpose is to share out sites for colonizing without war. In order to assert its authority, the Conclave insists that new colonies from non-Conclave groups either go home, join the Conclave, or be destroyed. The Roanoke colony's purpose is to refuse all three of these choices and to make the Conclave look bad. The colonists don't know about this purpose until they've already set up Roanoke, and by the time the Conclave fleet shows up to enforce its ultimatum, the colonists have no choice but to help the Colonial Union thwart the Conclave. This would work a lot better if, as John Perry was unpacking all of the political secrets, he and the reader were really able to constantly re-evaluate this conflict and make judgments about whether the Colonial Union, Conclave, or some other position is right. I think that might have been Scalzi's intent. The problem is that the previous two books had done too good a job of calling the Colonial Union's ethics into question and making it clear that other races have just as much interest and rights as humanity. From the start, it seemed really obvious to me that the Colonial Union was lying about the Conclave and that the Conclave was a much better plan than anything else available. The only things really holding humanity back from joining the Conclave were ignorance and chauvinism. That doesn't make for a good conflict, especially when the conflict is presented as humanity vs. enemies instead of humanity vs. humanity's own problems. ~~~ I think this could have been a much better book, and after reading the first two books I think Scalzi is a good enough writer to have fixed all of the problems I've described here. But he didn't, and it's too bad.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    An excellent end to the trilogy starting with "Old Man's War" & continued in "The Ghost Brigades". The first mainly follows Perry, the second Sagan & this one, the third, both. The style is reminiscent of Heinlein's best, before he got weird in the 70's, & without all the philosophizing. Just an excellent story in an interesting universe. An excellent end to the trilogy starting with "Old Man's War" & continued in "The Ghost Brigades". The first mainly follows Perry, the second Sagan & this one, the third, both. The style is reminiscent of Heinlein's best, before he got weird in the 70's, & without all the philosophizing. Just an excellent story in an interesting universe.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    (My full review of this book is much longer than Goodreads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com].) Regular readers will know that I've found myself in a special situation this month, because of accidentally getting my hands on a total of eight out of the twelve science-fiction novels nominated this year for either the Hugo or Philip K Dick award; today's review is the sixth of that series*, with the rest of them found (My full review of this book is much longer than Goodreads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com].) Regular readers will know that I've found myself in a special situation this month, because of accidentally getting my hands on a total of eight out of the twelve science-fiction novels nominated this year for either the Hugo or Philip K Dick award; today's review is the sixth of that series*, with the rest of them found in my archives. And as someone who used to read almost exclusively SF until college (and old-school '50s and '60s SF at that), someone who lost touch with the genre for a good decade and a half during the '90s and '00s, I have to admit that it's been interesting to be thrust back into this type of literature this month in the intense way I have, and to be reminded of all the little differences that exist within the genre, the people who like this type of sci-fi over that type, who demand this level of quality to their stories or that level. One of the groups of people, for example, who I've been put back in contact with recently because of all these books, is that vast group making up the bulk of science-fiction's actual purchasers, conventioneers and other customer base -- the fanboys and fangirls, that is, those who just eat anything up whatsoever that has at least something to do with spaceships or exotic aliens or laser weapons or whatnot. Er, you know -- all the Buffy fans, and X-Files fans, and Earth: Final Conflict fans, the ones actually watching and purchasing and loving the merely B-level stuff that makes up the vast majority of original content of any particular literary genre. (As a matter of fact, since plenty of people argue that shows like Buffy and X-Files were better than the usual B-level stuff I'm talking about, let's specifically set this entire conversation among the lowest and cheapest of the genre, the stuff that was cranked out in places like Canada and New Zealand in the '90s for the perpetual rerunning on Saturday afternoons on direct-syndication stations in the US, stuff like Xena and Hercules and Andromeda and Farscape and all the rest. And since I don't like to have to rely on specific pop-culture references to make my point in my essays, for the remainder of today let me just refer to all such shows as the collective Low Budget Canadian Saturday Afternoon Science-Fiction Television Show, or LBCSASFTS.) Fanboys and fangirls are the ones who love LBCSASFTS; the ones who collect every season on DVD, who attend midnight balls at fan conventions in full costume and makeup, who populate online bulletin boards devoted to the subject, who don't mind that the scripts of most LBCSASFTS episodes are full of holes and kinda cheesy, with dialogue dumbed down to the level of the average 15-year-old. There are millions of you, after all, just like there are millions in every other genre you want to mention, the people keeping that genre alive, being the only customers of 80 percent of the stuff published in that genre; and I'm not going to arbitrarily slag on any of you, because in many ways I'm a fanboy myself*, but I will say that you all will put up with an awful lot of crap that a literary fan usually shouldn't have to put up with, just for the sake of whatever genre-specific fetishistic touches you're looking for by reading that book in the first place. Let's take, for example...oh, John Scalzi's The Last Colony, the latest Hugo-nominated book under consideration here at CCLaP, which in many ways reminds me of a typical episode of LBCSASFTS; it is not bad per se, but Lord I wouldn't call it good (a sentence that will immediately prompt calls online for my death, bloody jihad-style, from various dark forums scattered among the edges of the Interwebs), ultimately something that a fanboy or fangirl will be very satisfied with but probably no one else. And this isn't necessarily bad, having a book on your hands that's likely to delight most who are fully committed to the genre, there isn't anything bad with that at all; but CCLaP isn't a science-fiction literary blog, it's just a literary blog, and part of my mission here is to always examine the appeal of any given author among a large general population versus a smaller genre one. And for better or for worse (for the reasons I'll be detailing today), Scalzi and The Last Colony fit firmly on the genre side of things, a book worth checking out but only if you already own the LBCSASFTS collector lunchbox. In fact, this is always an interesting thing to start with regarding Scalzi, that his entire career sorta came about in a fanboy-wet-dream style: for many years simply an unpaid blogger like everyone else (albeit one trained at the prestigious University of Chicago, whose faculty advisor was briefly Saul Bellow), Scalzi basically self-published his first novel Old Man's War electronically online for free, at which point it just happened to get noticed by Tor Senior Editor Patrick Freaking Nielsen Freaking Hayden. Hayden signs it with Tor and puts it out; it immediately gets nominated for the Hugo, vaulting Scalzi from obscure blogger status to the top ten-percent of all writers in the genre, all in the course of a year. And there he's stayed since -- he's put out another four novels since, and has been both nominated for several other awards and sometimes won them. And as a matter of fact, today's book under review is actually the third in a series of interrelated ones by Scalzi, stretching back to this Old Man's War we've been talking about; that novel, see, is about a time in the future when old people on Earth are essentially tricked into waging bloody offworld war on behalf of Earth's colonizing military, by being promised tough new young genetically-engineered bodies, ones even given limited superhuman powers through the "magic" of chromosome manipulation, and then being kept in the dark about the horrific realities of the intergalactic war they're about to go fight, until it's too late to do anything about it. (In fact, there's a good reason Old Man's War gets compared often to Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers; both novels achieve the dubious goal of simultaneously glorifying and decrying war.) And then the second novel in the series, The Ghost Brigades, is a standalone story concerning the "secret police" that exists within this colonial military; their brains are essentially newborn babies, put into the bodies of fully adult soldiers who have died, given a bizarre and truncated childhood and education and generally kept isolated from the entire rest of humanity. So that's what makes The Last Colony intriguing from the start, then, is that it has little to do with either of the first two books; it instead takes the main characters from Old Man's War, retired soldier John Perry and his dead-wife-turned-secret-policewoman Jane, and puts them in charge of a peacetime mission to found a new planetary colony, a controversial one fraught with dangers. Because see, it's this general subject that drives the entire conflict behind all of Scalzi's stories; in his universe, there are tons of intelligent, spacegoing species, but only a tiny amount of planets around the galaxy that can support humanoid life, and so in realistic fashion a giant galaxy-wide space war has ensued over these precious resources, with there constantly being a state of conflict between all of the spacegoing species in question. That's bad enough; now add that this will be the first colony in history not to be founded by Earthlings, but rather by a federation of settlers from different "first-wave" planets that had already been founded by Earthlings hundreds of years ago, a decision that has many on Earth feeling deeply uncomfortable. Now add that there is a new Evil Empire in town too -- the Conclave, a group of hundreds of species besides Earth who have decided that non-Conclave species no longer have the right to colonize at all, and who are now running around blasting new colonies out of existence if they try defying the order. Yeah -- exciting milieu, interesting characters, lots of action, built around a universe and backstory that has already been detailed in two previous books. A recipe for success, most would agree, which is why I say this book succeeds among those looking for nothing else than another episode of LBCSASFTS. (And you can see quickly why this was nominated for the Hugo too, in that this is one of the only old-school grand space-opera angry-alien laser-shooting PWEEW PWEEWPWEEW PWEEW! books in the running this year, and there is certainly a wing of Hugo voters who still want SF to primarily consist of such old-style grand Silver-Age rocket-and-robot space operas.) But then you start getting into it, and start coming across all the details that drove me in particular crazy as I was reading through it, the times when characters act dumber than they're supposed to in order to artificially inflate the drama and tension of that moment, crap I just hate seeing in a book because it always feels to me like the author being lazy. Like, here's a random one -- after establishing what an arduous thing colonization is, but how there's been tens of generations now that have done it, why then make the actual colonists such simpering doughy fools, who still rely on their little planet-to-planet radio/internet PDA doodad thingie so much for all their even basic information about life? And...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    The best entry in the series so far, and it really capitalizes on the two books that came before. The decision to bring back John Perry from the first book as the main character was great. The fact he was paired with Jane, who was an important secondary character in the first book and an even more important secondary character in the second book, was great. It feels like the book is building on the earlier books in a really meaningful way without making it feel like the first books were in any wa The best entry in the series so far, and it really capitalizes on the two books that came before. The decision to bring back John Perry from the first book as the main character was great. The fact he was paired with Jane, who was an important secondary character in the first book and an even more important secondary character in the second book, was great. It feels like the book is building on the earlier books in a really meaningful way without making it feel like the first books were in any way incomplete. The story here is also the best so far. A very tight, lean, hard-hitting story. There’s a lot of suspense, but there’s also a lot more depth. The story is filled with so many interesting reversals as well as so much character development that it’s hard not to feel like the first two books were super sluggish in comparison. The plot advances here at a pace that it feels like something important is happening every single character. One problem I had with the first two books is that they both felt like they had one single idea of premise to them, and they started off well but got stale quickly as you realized there was nowhere interesting for the ideas to go. In contrast, this book is such a cool addition to the world that it wouldn’t surprise me if the author had written those first two books while thinking about how cool this one was going to end up being. It has made me excited to see where this fictional world goes: some of the bedrock of the setting here gets overturned by this book, and that’s really exciting.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lesa Divine

    4 🌟 I enjoyed. Love getting to read more from John's point of view. With him and Jane retiring with Zoe. They all settle down just to find themselves reworking for CDF by starting a new colony with others. But to find out that they wasn't told the whole truth of them being there makes John and Jane having to make final choices to survive with their colony. Enjoyed.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Milda Page Runner

    2.5* Some spoilers in here, read at your own peril. The good: John Perry - I loved his voice, his humour, the way he has with the people around him. Colonizing new planet - the adventures and difficulties that came with uncharted territory. The ending - Scalzi seems to deliver happy optimistic endings every time and I love it. The bad: Too much politics CU acting like complete morons. I can accept one person doing stupid mistake but organisation that successfully led humanity for few hundred years colle 2.5* Some spoilers in here, read at your own peril. The good: John Perry - I loved his voice, his humour, the way he has with the people around him. Colonizing new planet - the adventures and difficulties that came with uncharted territory. The ending - Scalzi seems to deliver happy optimistic endings every time and I love it. The bad: Too much politics CU acting like complete morons. I can accept one person doing stupid mistake but organisation that successfully led humanity for few hundred years collectively going nuts and committing suicidal acts - goes beyond my believe. Perry and all his family going Deux Machina mode and outsmarting and outmanoeuvring not only CDF but also Conclave with all their 412 united intelligent species. I like the man - but - Common! I have to admit as much as I loved the first book in the series, second and third do not stand up it. I still love Scalzi's humour and how humane and likeable his characters are but his villains seem to be unconvincing and plot a bit predictable with the formula - everything goes horribly wrong and the mc gets to save the world.

  29. 4 out of 5

    C.T. Phipps

    American pioneer heritage is something which has kind of a sordid history once you peel back the legend and myth-making which was deliberately added to it. Disease, exile of religious dissidents, slaughter of locals, and shameless land grabs are the least of it. I was hesitant about John Scalzi's take on the subject with the story of Old Man War protagonist John Perry taking up the role of a colony head in a book series primarily about the evils of colonization. I shouldn't have doubted Scalzi a American pioneer heritage is something which has kind of a sordid history once you peel back the legend and myth-making which was deliberately added to it. Disease, exile of religious dissidents, slaughter of locals, and shameless land grabs are the least of it. I was hesitant about John Scalzi's take on the subject with the story of Old Man War protagonist John Perry taking up the role of a colony head in a book series primarily about the evils of colonization. I shouldn't have doubted Scalzi as the book takes the series to a satisfying conclusion even though I know it continues past this point. The premise is John Perry, his wife Jane, and his adopted daughter Zoe have been offered the position of overseers for a new colony called Roanoke. The mysterious disappearance of the American colony is so far in the past no one realizes this is a joke on our hapless colonizers. The alien races of the galaxy are organizing, in part due to humanity's brutality, and they are trying to bring galactic peace. Unbeknownst to the Perry family, Roanoke is part of a massive plan to make sure that peace never materializes. I've got to say, I enjoyed the politics of this book a great deal. I've been accused of doing too-complicated space politics in my books but this was just the right amount of it for me. I like how the Colonial Union is ruthless, corrupt, and maybe even evil but you have to root for them just a little because they're the home team. I also like how we're finally personalizing the aliens of the universe so we can see what their perspective of humanity and its aggression is. I, for one, am entirely comfortable with humanity being the bad guys in the universe and lagging behind while everyone else is getting their crap together. There's some really impressive moments spread throughout the book. General Gau's speech regarding why the colonies have to either surrender, join the Conclave, or die is the highlight of the book. So is the repetition when he tries to make the same argument to Roanoke. I also love the various scenes involving Zoe and her alien bodyguards (due to being the messiah to their race--long story). The comedy is a lot lower-key than in Old Man's War, feeling more like a serious science fiction story but still humorous. As mentioned, The Last Colony does a good job of wrapping up all of the major plotlines of the series. It even ends on a triumphant note, making sure all of the brutality and cruelty we've witnessed so far is repudiated in the most badass yet pacifistic way possible. John Scalzi has been building up to the end of the Colonial Union's tyranny for a long time and the way our heroes strike at their power is awesome. I wish I could talk more about it but I've probably alluded enough to qualify as spoilers. There are a few flaws with the book. Frankly, I felt the story on Roanoke proper wasn't very entertaining. There's some interesting plotlines like the fact there's a sapient species on the planet other than humanity but they disappear midpoint through the book, never getting referenced again. I also note Zoe alludes to an assassination attempt on General Gau which is off-camera despite its importance to the plot. Both these plots get picked up in Zoe's Tale but that just means their exclusion here was noted by the author as having been a mistake. The real problem with the book is the protagonists are often just hanging around waiting for the next galactic development to happen. So is it good? I think it's very good but not a book without flaws. While colonization is supposed to be boring, that doesn't mean the plot should be boring when they're colonizing. There's also the aforementioned plot holes. Despite this, I still strongly recommend the book and am very glad to have read it. I'll also be following up with the subsequent books even though I think a complete story has been told. 8/10

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Sven

    In The Last Colony we are reunited with John Perry and Jane Sagan from the previous books. In return for Jane’s silence regarding the events of book 2, Jane and John have their consciousness transferred back into human bodies to start a new married life on one of the colonies, on the planet Huckleberry. That would be the one with the moons called Sawyer and Becky. Apparently the original colonists had a Twain fetish. Anyway, they adopt Zoe, Charles Boutin’s daughter from book 2, and the story pi In The Last Colony we are reunited with John Perry and Jane Sagan from the previous books. In return for Jane’s silence regarding the events of book 2, Jane and John have their consciousness transferred back into human bodies to start a new married life on one of the colonies, on the planet Huckleberry. That would be the one with the moons called Sawyer and Becky. Apparently the original colonists had a Twain fetish. Anyway, they adopt Zoe, Charles Boutin’s daughter from book 2, and the story picks up some eight years later. It all sounds like Utopian bliss, and so it is at the start, but we didn’t turn the front cover to go tiptoeing through the tulips. We want to go blow stuff up. So it’s not long before our two ex soldiers get a visit from their past, offering them a chance to found and administer a new experimental seed colony derived from 10 different planets in the Colonial Union. A CDF General showing up to offer a new holiday destination should have been enough warning that all is not going to be as it seems. And it isn’t and things turn south from unknown dangers on the new planet’s surface to the threat of humanity’s extinction. This book goes a lot more into the politics of the Colonial Union and its enemies. We learn more about The Conclave which we were introduced to as an emerging threat in book 2. We also learn more about the relationship between various human factions like The Special Forces, Regular CDF, and The Department of Colonisation. One of the more interesting relationships in the book I thought was between Zoe and the Obin race. The Obin we know from the previous book are the alien race who had intelligence imposed on them by the Consu but were left without consciousness. In return for peace, The Colonial Union agree to complete Charles Boutin’s revolutionary work on Obin consciousness and the Obin are fitted with consciousness implants that they can turn on and off. Zoe is virtually worshipped by an entire alien culture as the daughter of the man who worked to bring consciousness to the Obin. She is assigned two permanent Obin bodyguards, Hickory and Dickory, who’s mandate is to both protect Zoe as well as record her life for posterity so all the Obin can share in the wonder of Zoe. Being a teenager, the Obin Goddess naturally has boy troubles which Hickory and Dickory offer to solve in some visceral fashion. They are still learning how to joke, so no, I don’t think they were practicing humour. I was a little disappointed that the Consu were not explored further in this book. This was supposed to be the last book in the series so I feel that there were ideas in book one that just weren’t followed through as much as I would have liked. Another book did end up following titled Zoe's Tale so I look forward to reading that next and who knows, maybe the Consu will feature more. I expect the Obin will be developed further so I look forward to seeing how that develops. 4 stars

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