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112 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying end to a great trilogy of military/politco SF
An advance copy of John Scalzi's The Last Colony arrived today. I sat down after class, telling myself I'd just read a few pages, and lost the rest of the work day. (More than once, a new John Scalzi book has done terrible things to my productivity. Thank God for tenure.) It brings to an immensely satisfying conclusion the trilogy that began with Old Man's War (which I...
Published on February 26, 2007 by Stephen M. Bainbridge

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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Requiem for the scalzi-verse.
A "Hollywood-ending" conclusion to what was otherwise a very well thought out series.

If in "Old man's war" Scalzi introduced us to a harsh universe where humanity has to fight, and fight hard, for every palm of space it wants to colonize, and in "The ghost brigades" he masterfully blended big strategy and personal conflict down to its resolution by superhero...
Published on November 13, 2009 by Amazon Customer


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112 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying end to a great trilogy of military/politco SF, February 26, 2007
This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
An advance copy of John Scalzi's The Last Colony arrived today. I sat down after class, telling myself I'd just read a few pages, and lost the rest of the work day. (More than once, a new John Scalzi book has done terrible things to my productivity. Thank God for tenure.) It brings to an immensely satisfying conclusion the trilogy that began with Old Man's War (which I reviewed here). Scalzi returns to John Perry as the POV character, this time in a story that's more political mystery than military sci fi.

What the Colonial Union is up to and why becomes the critical question for Perry. Until he figures it out, after which stewing on a response becomes even more critical.

Scalzi has written passionately about the need for science fiction to become less insular:

"... if you look at the significant SF books of the last several years, there aren't very many you could give to the uninitiated reader; they all pretty much implicitly or explicitly assume you've been keeping up with the genre, because the writers themselves have. The SF literary community is like a boarding school; we're all up to our armpits in each other's business, literary and otherwise (and then there's the sodomy. But let's not go there)."

"... Fantasy literature has numerous open doors for the casual reader. How many does SF literature have? More importantly, how many is SF perceived to have? Any honest follower of the genre has to admit the answers are "few" and "even fewer than that," respectively. The most accessible SF we have today is stuff that was written decades ago by people who are now dead."

"Thanks to numerous horrifying lunchroom experiences growing up, SF geeks are probably perfectly happy to be let alone with their genre and to let the mundanes read whatever appalling chick lit and/or Da Vinci Code clone they're slobbering over this week (Now, there would be a literary mashup for the ages: The Templars Wore Prada! It'd sell millions!)."

But not Scalzi. Instead, he's been writing immensely accessible novels (except maybe The Android's Dream, which tellingly is my least favorite of his novels to date). Despite its SF trappings, for example, TLC reminds me more of Allen Drury's novels of political suspense, with a little Robert Ludlum-style wheels within wheels conspiracy theory story thrown in too, than it does most SF. Indeed, to continue the analogy to political thrillers, there's even a subplot that's a variant on the good old sleeping killer story. All of which means that, if Tor can manage the marketing trick, the OMW to TLC trilogy ought to reach readers who ordinarily would never be caught dead in the sci fi section of their bookstore.

Perry's solution to his political problems has considerable elegance, as does Scalzi's plotting and writing. (No hack writer he.) The pace is quick, and the plot is taut. There aren't a lot of subplots and most of them end up being essential. (There's one subplot involving spears whose purpose I haven't quite figured out and about which I won't say more for risk of offering spoilers. But once you've read it, maybe you can explain to me whether that story line is anything more than local color.)

Do you need to have read the first two books in the series for TLC to make sense? No. As one reviewer has written: "John Scalzi has styled this novel to stand well on it's own. The book starts with great humor that brings the reader into the story easily and comfortably. You never get the feeling that your starting from the back of the series. John gives you two pages of intro in John Perry's universe and then blasts off."

Having said that, however, you'd be missing a real treat. If you haven't already read the first two novels, grab them too and then set aside a couple of days to immerse yourself.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Conclusion, April 24, 2007
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This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
This is a sequel to OLD MAN"S WAR and THE GHOST BRIGADES. Unfortunately, the author claims that it is the end of this story line and I, for one, am disappointed.

John Perry has been a soldier and an officer of the human army tasked with defending humanity's colonies from a very nasty universe. Now he is retired and living with the wife and child he loves, He is surprised when he is selected to go with his wife to manage a new colony but packs up the family and takes the job. No sooner does he arrive when he and all the other colonists learn that they have been hoodwinked by the bureaucracy. They are pawns in an ongoing stellar war and in the attempts of the bureaucracy to maintain power over all humans.

John manages to hack off just about everyone when he manages to keep his colony from being wiped out. He saves his people and then embarks upon a grand scheme to see that such things cannot happen again. It is very surprising.

It is entertaining and very quick to read. I wish there would be more.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Requiem for the scalzi-verse., November 13, 2009
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Amazon Customer (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
A "Hollywood-ending" conclusion to what was otherwise a very well thought out series.

If in "Old man's war" Scalzi introduced us to a harsh universe where humanity has to fight, and fight hard, for every palm of space it wants to colonize, and in "The ghost brigades" he masterfully blended big strategy and personal conflict down to its resolution by superhero Dirac (who in the end convincingly exemplifies the victory of mind -or spirit- over matter), in "The last colony" his characters feel like over-powered cast members of a weekly SciFi show, surrounded by red-shirts with no other role in the plot but to die, more concerned with their happy little family than with interstellar affairs. The big strategy still works, to a point, the exploration of the logic of the imperialistic state starts promisingly and John Perry's banter with friend and foe still mostly shines, but in the end everything falls flat, into cliches, either half done or disappointingly unnuanced.

Cartoonish invulnerable characters, never wrong or in real danger? Check. Empowered mommy who always knows best and can kill an army with a fingernail? Check. (She reads minds too!) Pinocchio complex? Check. Twice for good measure. Deus (i.e., Consu) ex machina? Check!! The villains are also really good people, inter-racial brotherly love is the latest coolest newest thing and for some unexplained reason even the werewolves disappear halfway thru the book as soon as a little bit of sunlight shines on them. Somehow the "harsh" universe evolved into this bland experience of cotton candy, unicorns and pregnancies ...

Too bad Scalzi fell in love with his characters to the point he coudn't bear to kill any of them (or even their pets or their secretaries), or at least put them through pain or conflict anymore. Inevitably, by the last line of the last page everybody is deliriously happy --except the reader!
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has the feel of a rush job, June 16, 2007
By 
Bryan (Ellicott City, MD) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
"The Last Colony" is not up to the level of its predecessors, which were some of the best science fiction- or just plain fiction- I've ever read. It seemed at times like the author was up against a deadline and cut some corners. What happened to the werewolf-like natives of Roanoke ? They receded into the background after one encounter. And the book suffers from some atrocious editing- Croatan is repeatedly misspelled, and there are too many sentences containing simple grammatical errors. I wish Scalzi could have taken more time with these great characters and sent them out in style.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy third novel in the "Old Man's War" series..., April 30, 2007
By 
Roger J. Buffington (Huntington Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
I liked this novel a lot, although I did not think that it was as good as "Old Man's War." Here, the scenario is simple (no spoilers here). John Perry and Jane Sagan have settled on a colony world and are generally happy with their lives. The Colonial Union then taps them to lead the colonization of a new world. More would be telling, but be assured that there are plenty of surprises.

This novel turns on some very imaginative speculations about interstellar politics in the context of the "Old Man's War" universe. These did hold my interest. As always, I enjoyed reading about John Perry and Jane Sagan. Here I found the characterizations and speculations about the aliens to be a little disappointing--not nearly as interesting as in "Old Man's War." The aliens are all-too-humanlike in their behavior, and this was a bit of a disappointment to me. The Consu connection (no spoiler here) is never adequately explained. I found the ending to be a little disappointing, and frankly, it is not conclusive. A fourth novel in the series is necessary to clean it up, but Scalzi says that there will be no fourth novel. I am betting that this turns out not to be the case. (Remember Asimov's Robot novels?)

This is a fast and interesting read, and if you liked the previous two novels in the series ("Old Man's War" and "The Ghost Brigades") you will like this one too. Recommended.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book Defeated by Uneven Writing, May 18, 2007
By 
James D. DeWitt "Alaska Fan" (Fairbanks, AK United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
Make no mistake, there are some very good ideas lurking in "The Last Colony," Scalzi's third novel set in his "Old Man's War" universe. But the sometimes clunky, sometimes spare writing is annoying enough that it's hard to give this novel even three stars.

John Perry has retired from the Colonial Defense Forces, or at least he has tried to retire. But he is coerced into leaving the agrarian planet where he works as an ombudsman to lead a new colony. He and his family agree, only to discover that everything they were told is a trick, a trap or a lie. The Colonial Defense Forces have no scruples and no foresight.

I suppose the incompetent government theme is an appropriate and even inescapable metaphor for our times. But between the corrupt incompetent, government in James Alan Gardner's universe, and the corrupt, incompetent government in John Varley's "Red Thunder" universe, and the . . . but you see my point. There are enough new ideas to excuse the re-used ones. But combined with the inconsistent writing, this is a hard book to like. Here are a couple of sentences from the first page:

"Being from Earth in this universe is like being a small town kid who gets on a bus, goes to the big city, and spends his entire afternoon gawking at the tall buildings. Then he gets mugged for the crime of marveling at this strange new world, which has such things in it, because the things in it don't have much time or sympathy for the new kid in town, and they're happy to kill him for what he's got in his suitcase."

The first sentence is a little long, and a simile, but not too bad. The second sentence has six separate dependent phrases, ten (!) prepositions and two different verb tenses. A high school sophomore would get chewed out for writing that kind of sentence. And yet in the next paragraph, Scalzi writes:

"I spent seventy-five years on Earth, living mostly in the same small Ohio town and sharing most of that life with the same woman. She dies and stayed behind, I lived and left."

See how much more effective those short, simple sentences are? And see how jarring it is to have one follow another? This happens over and over through the novel, and for me, at least, it was very distracting. I don't think it is just a former English teacher over-reacting. It's just bad writing or editing.

I liked some of Scalzi's ideas, but found his writing - or the editing - detracted from the pleasure of reading the book. And for my fellow reviewers who want to compare Scalzi to Heinlein, well, whatever Heinlein's deficiencies as a writer, they don't include sentences with ten prepositions.

Bottom line: Okay, but I'd wait for the paperback.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inadequate Ending to a Fantastic Series, April 28, 2008
This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
I'm sure die-hard Scalzi fans will burn me at the stake for this and maybe I've just been spoiled by Old Man's War and the Ghost Brigades, but I have to say that I was dissatisfied with the final book in this series.

The banter between the characters, per the author's usual style, is entertaining but fails to compensate for an underdone, flimsy storyline. Add in an uneven pace, a linear supporting character here and there, and clumsy, forced sequence of events and out pops The Last Colony.

I think Mr. Scalzi was ready to move on to another project and pushed out the book simply to close out the trilogy. Simply put The Last Colony is an awkward, disappointing ending to an otherwise fantastic trilogy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less fighting and more politics than the earlier books (but equally enjoyable), August 18, 2011
By 
Neil G. Matthews (Adelaide, South Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
Filled with lots of wry humour and with plans that almost never worked out as intended, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which gave me many a chuckle. While the book harks back mainly to the first book in the trilogy (which is appropriate, given the story is told from the perspective of the same main character in both books), it can be enjoyed equally as a stand alone book or as a fitting end to a great trilogy. Do yourself a favour though and read ALL the books in the series.

I only have one question - what ever happened to the werewolves?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars satisfying conclusion to "Old Man's War" and "The Ghost Brigades", July 22, 2011
By 
Nadyne Richmond (Mountain View, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Colony (Mass Market Paperback)
Rounding out a trilogy started with "Old Man's War", Scalzi takes on political questions. Sent by the Colonial Union to head a colony, our narrator John Perry, his wife Jane Sagan, and their adopted daughter Zoe find that they've been given incomplete and inaccurate information about both the new colony and the circumstances surrounding it. The politics are both local, as Perry's work to maintain fairness angers some of his colonists, and universal, as Perry does everything that he can to keep his colonists safe and this angers most of the Colonial Union.

The plot moves quickly. It was hard to put down, and was a great end to the trilogy. There's a young-adult novel, "Zoe's Tale", that tells the story from his daughter's perspective; I'm sure I'll pick it up in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smooth reading., July 8, 2010
A real nice follow up to the earlier "Old Mans War" which I highly recommend for its originality and interesting characters.
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The Last Colony
The Last Colony by John Scalzi (Mass Market Paperback - July 29, 2008)
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