THE LAST COLONY
John Scalzi

 


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Tor, May 2007
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

Space Adventure

John Perry got what he wanted when he entered the military at age seventy-five. Now, at ninety, he has the body of a thirty-year-old. His goal was to live through his service term and help colonize a planet. He has done even better than that. He became a war hero, married the clone of his much-loved first wife, and adopted a bright, sweet girl.

Now he doesn't know what to do with his stagnation. Life in an established colony is just not challenging, when the worst he has to do is arbitrate the arguments of the Chengelpet brothers.

An offer comes from the Colonial Union to head up a new colony. John is so there. Even his wife Jane is there, as his co-Administrator. Their daughter ZoŽ and her alien protectors, a pair of Obin, are ready for the adventure. And then comes the kink.

Twenty-five hundred colonists are unexpectedly stranded with a low-level technology, hiding from a deadly alien coalition and endangered by unidentified predators at their back doors. The politics are insane: who would drop their own people into this situation? Answer: the Colonial Union.

As we already know from the previous books, OLD MAN'S WAR and THE GHOST BRIGADES, the Colonial Union has a stranglehold on the information it provides to humanity. We have seen the CU unscrupulously maneuvering enemy alien species. Its motives are questionable. John's task is to save humanity again, this time by doing some first class political maneuvering of his own, and doing it without losing his integrity.

THE LAST COLONY covers different territory from OLD MAN'S WAR and THE GHOST BRIGADES. This time we aren't going along on high-adrenaline raids and platoon infiltrations. What we see are the details of colonization, certainly not as exciting as military action. It makes for a slower start. Then comes revelation, and explosions of a different character.

Author John Scalzi can really think out of the box! Each book of this trilogy breaks new ground. In THE LAST COLONY, the Perrys' clever solution to the threat to humanity leaves one with the kind of satisfaction we get from seeing things, at last, go right.

Aug 2007

 

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