This is my one sci-fi book for the year. That’s one horror and one sci-fi in 2008, which is about normal for me. This is the third, and last, in the Old Man’s War trilogy by Scalzi. I read the first one back in February 2007 and they’ve all been great. I read this one the fastest. In fact, despite being pretty busy, I think I banged this thing out in about 3 days. The only book I can recall reading faster was The Kite Runner.
If I were to rank the books in this trilogy them by coolness, I would go 1, 3, 2. If I were to rank them by how thought provoking they were, I would go 3, 2, 1. On pure action, I’m saying 1, 3, 2. On chances for a great movie, this is the one. I’m reading a few heavy books right now which will get posted between now and the end of the year, so I needed this break from reality.
This book brings together the main character of book one, John Perry, and the main character of book two, Jane Sagan. They are married and living a somewhat genetically unmodified life, with their adopted daughter, on a quiet planet somewhere in another solar system. Then they get an offer from the governing body of the human universe (the Colonial Union) to be the leaders of a new human colony on another planet. It seems like an exciting opportunity to them, so they accept it. There are a couple of curveballs for the couple. First, the mortal enemy of the humans, this group called the Conclave, will stop at nothing to destroy this colony. Second, the Colonial Union may not really care if everyone in the new colony dies and is not above putting the new colony in harm’s way to further their own political agenda.
It’s a good combination of military and politics. Scalzi certainly draws up some intense and creative battle scenes, but the political discussions and verbal sparring are the highlights of this book. The dialogue is complicated and multi-faceted, yet very clear and easy to follow. It centers on a general mistrust of the government’s truthfulness (or lack thereof) with its subjects.
The ending is really cool and wraps up the trilogy (at least according to his credits). But I think he has already incorporated characters in a new book so maybe it will be kept alive forever. If I really wanted to get the story, I could probably just go to Scalzi’s website and read some of his ruminations. Like no other author I know of, his life is really an open book. I used to be more of an avid reader of his blog. I no longer subsribe to his blog feed but I do go there every so often to see what’s up. Check it out. I would love it if more authors did this sort of internet marketing.