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The Last Colony (Old Man's War Book 3) by [Scalzi, John]
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The Last Colony (Old Man's War Book 3) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 558 customer reviews

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Length: 340 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Full of whodunit twists and explosive action, Scalzi's third SF novel lacks the galactic intensity of its two related predecessors, but makes up for it with entertaining storytelling on a very human scale. Several years after the events of The Ghost Brigades (2006), John Perry, the hero of Old Man's War (2005), and Jane Sagan are leading a normal life as administrator and constable on the colonial planet Huckleberry with their adopted daughter, Zoë, when they get conscripted to run a new colony, ominously named Roanoke. When the colonists are dropped onto a different planet than the one they expected, they find themselves caught in a confrontation between the human Colonial Union and the alien confederation called the Conclave. Hugo-finalist Scalzi avoids political allegory, promoting individual compassion and honesty and downplaying patriotic loyalty—except in the case of the inscrutable Obin, hive-mind aliens whose devotion to Zoë will remind fans of the benevolent role Captain Nemo plays in Verne's Mysterious Island. Some readers may find the deus ex machina element a tad heavy-handed, but it helps keep up the momentum. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Scalzi's Hugo finalist,Old Man's War (2005) first spawned the equally entertaining Ghost Brigades (2006). And now, a third volume reprises the story of John Perry, former planet-hopping soldier who has now traded his genetically enhanced second body for a commonplace one and a peaceful retirement. Free from the stresses of battle, he's enjoying domestic bliss with his wife and adopted daughter on a remote Colonial Union world. Then a former commanding general drops by with a tempting proposal. Perry and his wife are apparently the perfect candidates to lead a promising new colony populated by citizens from 10 worlds. They accept, but then the CU deceitfully strands them and their charges on an unknown world. Perry discovers they are pawns in a deadly game calculated to destroy an alien coalition whose purposes include blocking further human colonization. A less-action-laden story line ratchets the excitement down from that of the previous books, but Scalzi's captivating blend of off-world adventure and political intrigue remains consistently engaging. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 676 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (April 17, 2007)
  • Publication Date: April 17, 2007
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000YJ85BI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,374 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen M. Bainbridge on February 26, 2007
Format: 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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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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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Where "Old Man's War" was a great concept inspired by numerous classic sci-fi tales with just the right amount of sardonic wit, and "The Ghost Brigades" was an interesting exploration of consciousness and morality, "The Last Colony" is too much of a concept outline and not enough of an actual, honest-to-God story.

Scalzi up to this point has an established issue with detail; I don't know if this is conscious on his part for some reason, or whether he's just not good at focusing on the minutia that can make a story really POP. But this short-coming was always overshadowed with a captivating story. And while he also tended to leap things forward in somewhat startling chunks of time, things still felt coherent. I regret to say that "The Last Colony" does not manage to tell either a truly captivating story nor make up for the lack of details in anyway.

First, the good. This IS an interesting story, and really delves into the concept of galactic politics. Where "Old Man's War" was a story of a soldier thrust into the unknown, and "The Ghost Brigades" was about someone trying to find themselves and discover what it is to be human, "The Last Colony" is mostly about politics, but also told from a pawn's perspective. This also makes the narrative someone at odds with the theme, at times, since it's told primarily in 1st person by John Perry, the hero from "Old Man's War", but several times it goes into a quasi third person omnipresent past-tense narration. However, this is never really a PROBLEM, per se. There's a bit of mystery, there's struggle, there's talk about ethics, and in all, as before, it's a pretty intelligent book.

Where things fall apart, though, is that this is supposed to be a NOVEL, as in, telling a clear, finite story. This is fiction.
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