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114 of 131 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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23 of 27 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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114 of 131 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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40 of 45 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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23 of 27 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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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has the feel of a rush job, June 16, 2007
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Final Book in a Worthwhile Trilogy, December 7, 2009
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This review is from: The Last Colony (Old Man's War) (Mass Market Paperback)
The Last Colony is the final installment of Joe Scalzi's science fiction trilogy, following Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. Suffice it to say, if you enjoyed the first two installments, you won't be disappointed. In a nutshell, after years of colonizing planets with Earth inhabitants, the subsequent colonies have matured to the point that many wish to have their own colonies. In an effort to quell cries of favoritism, the Colonial Defense Force cobbles together a seed colony, consisting of colonists from many of the existing colonies. The colony will be led by John Perry and Jane Sagan, the main characters from the preceding two novels, who have subsequently retired from active duty with the CDF. Conflict with other intelligent life forms and intrigue within the Colonial Union ensues.

I've read quite a bit of science fiction lately, and this novel is a jarring contrast to one I recently finished, River of Gods (Ian McDonald). Whereas the latter was, at times, difficult to follow and understand (I would term it literary, intelligent science fiction), Scalzi's work is far more accessible to the average science fiction fan. After reading River of Gods and Saturn's Children (Charles Stross), I needed a break and this novel was a perfect breather. It is easy to follow, well developed and enjoyable to read. Not groundbreaking or award winning in my opinion, but if a good science fiction story is what you're looking for, and you're not in the mood for deep, philosophical Philip Dick, Frank Herbert style sci-fi, you could do far worse than Scalzi's trilogy. As with Old Man's War, I felt that some of the dialogue was contrived, but not to the extent of detracting from the story.

Bottom line, if you're looking for classic Isaac Asimov style science fiction, this is just the ticket. Conversely, other authors are pushing the boundary of science fiction into the literary realm. This is not one of those, deep philosophical, complex works.
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Scalzi does Heinlein better than Spider, May 26, 2007
This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
John Scalzi's trilogy (Old Man's War, etc.) has finally come to an end with The Last Colony. The characters are alive, in the way that we've come to expect from Scalzi. The banter between "90-year-old dad" and "teenage daughter" is cute and funny, and if you have a teenaged daughter it rings true, especially if your daughter is smart and funny and quick. Scalzi's politics makes sense too, and his description of the galaxy can be read as an interesting discussion of the way the rest of the world views the United States at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. And maybe not. You can read the book and ignore the political subtext, and the book reads like a good old fashioned space yarn in the tradition of RAH, whose centennial is this year.

Scalzi's writing and his book is a far better memorial to Heinlein than the book Spider Robinson wrote last year, from material found by the Heinlein Estate.

You should buy Scalzi and read Scalzi because he is a terrific writer, and is one of the most direct literary inheritors of the Master, Robert A. Heinlein.

Walt Boyes
Associate Editor
Jim Baen's Universe magazine
[...]
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the strongest of the 3 but a good wrap up novel., June 20, 2008
This review is from: The Last Colony (Hardcover)
I gave this a 3, it was an enjoyable read but not up to the quality of the first or 2nd book. Still, Scalazi is a great writer so if you enjoyed the first 2 books I would recommend this. This books attempts to wrap up some of the major problems facing Humanity and surprisingly our leads play a big role in this. It focuses on John & Jane Perry, the protag's of the first 2 novels.

Something I would have liked to have seen is the reunion of John & Jane. In the first book they "meet" and she turns out to be a clone of his former wife. They begin a relationship that is sidelined due to their service in the war - understandable. And there was some remorse there, the chance of them both living thru the war was very very slim. So it was bittersweet for them to have met and not "be together" At the end of the 2nd book Jane is discharged as a reward for service and she gets to adopt a daughter and also gets to have John discharged early also. Great! But we don't get to SEE that. The CU says its happening and then this book takes places many years later - 8 years? So they are a happily married couple with their teenage adopted daughter. Awesome - but they would have been great to SEE! Its the old "show us" don't "tell us" rule of writing.

Complaints: the books veers wildly from 1 plot to another. First its about the Perry's being drafted to lead a new colony and thats starts getting "good." Then its about a Galactic Federations' attempt to squash Humanity and the Colony issues are sidelined. Then its about Earth being kept in the dark about all the above machinations and John Perry attempts to do something about all this. Jane Perry is in the book a lot, but is sidelined to supporting role. She was really the more interesting of the 2 IMHO.

So, its good fun read if you like the first 2 but its very different. There is a lot of talk in the book, especially at the beginning and it takes a long time for any action to kick in. I don't mean to sound like I hated it but it could have been a much much better book.
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The Last Colony (Old Man's War)
The Last Colony (Old Man's War) by John Scalzi (Mass Market Paperback - July 29, 2008)
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