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.
Listen to Old Man's War .
©2007 John Scalzi; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
"Scalzi's captivating blend of off-world adventure and political intrigue remains consistently engaging." (Booklist)
"The sequel to Old Man's War combines taut military action with keen insights into the moral issues revolving around developing technologies. Scalzi has a finely tuned sense of balance between personal drama and the 'big picture'....Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally published at FanLit.
The Last Colony, the third book in John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR series, returns us to the perspective of John Perry, the “old man” hero of the first novel in the series, Old Man’s War. John Perry is only mentioned in the second novel, The Ghost Brigades, which told the story of how the cyborg Special Forces soldiers found and defeated the scientist Charles Boutin, a traitor to the Colonial Union. On that mission they also found Zoe, Boutin’s young daughter. Zoe has been adopted by Jane Sagan and John Perry and the little family has been farming on one of Earth’s colonies where John and Jane are the leaders.
Life is easy for them until the Colonial Union comes calling — they need leaders for a new colonization effort and John and Jane have been selected. This new colony (named Roanoke…. hmmmm… I think I wouldn’t have signed up for that) will be comprised of people from several different human worlds and John and Jane are responsible for its success. However, the Colonial Union hasn’t been completely honest with them. It will be a lot more dangerous than the members of Roanoke have been led to believe. They are being played as political pawns and they don’t realize it until it’s too late. And it’s not just Roanoke that’s in danger, but the entire human race.
The Last Colony (I keep wanting to write “The Lost Colony”) has a different tone than Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades. It takes place mainly on a planet, rather than in space, and deals mostly with domestic and political matters rather than space battles and espionage. Some of the political dialogue between characters we don’t know is dull, especially if you’re hoping for lasers and explosions, but Scalzi continues to explore the interesting theme of access to information and the problems that occur when the government controls the press. When and how should governments control information? That’s always a relevant topic, isn’t it?
Like its predecessors, The Last Colony features John Scalzi’s engaging writing style and ultra-competent well-developed characters. Some of these are characters we already know and love (John and Jane) one is a character we are happy we’re getting to know (Zoe) and some are new characters that Scalzi makes it easy for us to love (e.g., the Mennonite leader, Hickory and Dickory) or hate (e.g., the journalists). And some are there to show us that our first impressions aren’t always correct.
I mentioned in my review of The Ghost Brigades that the political situation was getting murky and it gets even murkier here. It is not clear to us (or to many of the characters) whose side we should be on. Readers may find it discomfiting to realize they are having trouble sympathizing with their home planet. It may be even more discomfiting to realize that Scalzi’s story doesn’t have to stretch the imagination too far. Sometimes “human nature” is not a pretty thing, but it’s what we know. What if someday we find ourselves needing to interact with beings who have a non-human nature?
You can probably read The Last Colony without having read the previous books, Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades, but you’ll have some catching up to do. It would be better to wait on this one until you’ve read its predecessors. They’re both great books, anyway. The fourth book in the OLD MAN’S WAR series is Zoe’s Tale which tells the story of Roanoke colony from Zoe’s perspective. It’s mostly the exact same plot as The Last Colony with a few side adventures for Zoe. If you’re only interested in the plot progression, you can skip Zoe’s Tale. If you’re interested in getting to know Zoe, you should read it.
I’m listening to William Dufris narrate OLD MAN’S WAR. I think he’s amazing. Macmillan Audio produced this installment.
this is one of my few recent listens that I did not finish. Not because it was SO bad but because I felt like my reading time was worth more. The conspiracy just doesn't seem to match the highly technological universe in which the story is set. Most of the tension of the first book -the one way departure from Earth etc -is not here
"The Last Colony" is not up to the level of its predecessors, which were some of the better science fiction I've read, but a great fun read (listen) still. The action was fast paced, the touch of humor, characteristic of Scalzi, excellent and not overpowering, just integral to the appropriate characters.
The narrator did a great job adding individuality and personality to characters, but i wish at least 50% of "he said' and "she said" was edited out. Isn't that the point of using different voices for characters - to reduce unnecessary annotations? Also words 'colony' or 'colonist/s' are in almost every sentence, which is a little jarring, i imagine synonymous words could be used every once in a while.
I loved this book. it was an excellent way to tie up the series.I know there is also another book from Zoe's point of view but for the story as a whole i really enjoyed the way Scalzi brought it together.The Last Colony is somewhat diferent that Old Man's War or The Ghost Bigrades...same Scalzi, MUCH less action. If you are expecting big battles (or even a lot of small skirmishes) this is not your book. This book could stand apart fror the Sci Fi genre & be set anywhere in history; I think that is testament to Scalizi's talent!.Once again William Dufris does a wonderful job. I think he really captures the different personalities and tells great story.
Book 3 of the Old Man's War series unites the main characters from the first 2 books, John Perry and Jane Sagan, and jumps ahead to their retirement on the peaceful colony of Huckleberry. Of course their relaxed existence is disrupted as interstellar politics and conspiracies take over and they find themselves facing one impossible challenge after another. The Conclave plot line picks up steam and the stakes get ever larger as the story goes on. All of this makes for an interesting enough premise but in the end Scalzi's execution and Dufris' narration just didn't keep me immersed this time around.
A myriad of small plot devices add up as the book goes on and very few of the characters act realistically. John and Jane uncover clues that things are amiss but just go along for the ride putting themselves and their adopted daughter Zoe at great risk. The aliens speak using standard 21st century colloquialisms and General Gau, the Leader of the 420 alien race Conclave, puts himself at risk to personally visit colony planets to speak with the leaders before destroying them. The list goes on throughout the book and the final plot twist at the end was the least believable of the bunch.
I didn't dislike this book but it did leave me uninspired to immediately continue with the series. When I do resume it will likely be with book 5 and not book 4, Zoe's Tale, which is a re-telling of the story from Zoe's perspective. Although the story was ultimately entertaining, once was enough for me.
I work in Financial Services and love History, Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction.
No, but that does not diminish the fact that this was a very good series. Modern Sci Fi in a Golden Age coat. Great characters, well plotted with big ideas about humanity, relationships and the ability to find truth in a tough universe. I really liked it.
John Perry. But I say that with some trepidation. Jane Sagan, Zoe and the rest of the characters were people that I was interested in and to me that is the sign of solid characterization. John Perry here is the character that you came to rely on, both in terms of action, intellect and the emotional arch of the story. I will miss him.
I thought he was spectacular. I don't know honestly how he did it. He brought life to the characters and enriched the story.
No. I typically listen to Audible in my car and at the gym. But if a book really grabs me I will take it home and listen in my office. This book was one where I just did not want to stop listening. This is true about the entire series. A wonderful story with great characters and a clever plot.
This book has gotten good reviews. I agree with them and highly recommend The Old Man's War Series Books 1-3. Fundamentally however this is classic space opera with some conventional plot devices. So if you are into classic Sci Fi, I think you will very much like it. I am glad I finally got around to it on my Wish List.
The first two books were really good. I read the synopsys about this book and thought... ehh, maybe not.
Don't get me wrong, It was a great book, but compared to the others it lacked. Maybe thats not fair, but still worth a listen if you have the background of the other two.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I decided to re-listen to the entire series once more prior to listening to The Human Division. On first reading/listening, the novels were so involved and the plot intricate with sub plots and story arcs that I lost my sense of direction. This second listen is an excellent time to pick up on things I had missed previously...especially since I seldom "Just Listen". More frequently I'm doing something else and it's easy to get side tracked.
The Last Colony of Roanoke (yes, like the Lost Colony in the 1600's in Virginia) was especially confusing for me the first listen...Perhaps because when I played it I was still deep in The Sagan Diary-which I really loved and which was so well written and narrated that I couldn't get it out of my mind.
Now I'm 2/3 of the way thru The Last Colony and find the plot to be quite exciting and involved, with many intricacies-plotting aliens, lying Colonial authorities, colonists deciding they can go their own way and not follow the directions given by the colony leader-and getting killed by native creatures, threats of colony termination from a group of aliens who want to run settlement rules and so on...but really good writing and narration makes it much easier to follow this time.
I very much recommend this almost old fashioned type of SiFi story. It's not Star Trek, thats for sure.
Teenage girls...under 14
Someone who can portray a young girl's voice without the whining.
Sometimes new ventures don't work out...keep exploring.
Middle-aged, married dad of two, living in Northern Burbs of Chicago. Hard Sci Fi addict, and lover of great storytelling. Almost all of my reading is now in audio format.
Actually read Zoe's Tale first by accident. LOVED it. So much more emotive and quirky.
Last Colony just fell flat for me.
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