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John Scalzi – The Last Colony

Title: The Last Colony
Author: John Scalzi
Year: 2007

The story from Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades continues, but even as it does, the focus is yet again different and The Last Colony is not simply a sequel (I think it could be read independently, but I would advise against it). Even as it is a further development of Scalzi’s universe, it also brings it to an end in that he states that this is the last book in the series. These three books have been an interesting foray into the works of an author previously unknown to me, but I think it is enough for now.

The Last Colony takes its name from the basic story: Perry and Sagan are convinced to take their adopted daughter and become the leaders of a new colony, the first second generation one in human history (meaning that it doesn’t use resources from Earth, but from other colonies). However, as is always the case in this series, nothing is that simple. The colony is part of an integral plan and a game of high politics that has little or nothing to do with actual colonisation. The stakes are high: survival of mankind.

In this novel, I fail to see something new. The good bits are still pretty good, and the bad bits are still bad. I can’t say that Scalzi has evolved as an author or that this book is superior to its predecessors. Actually, as the grade implies, I’d like to argue the other way around. The fact that few new, brilliant ideas or presented together with a feeling that the story lacks focus forces me to give The Last Colony the lowest grade of the three. Perhaps I should reconsider and recommend people to read only this novel and skip the first two, but, alas, it’s impossible for me to judge what kind of effects such a reading order would have on the experience.

Scalzi was nominated for the Hugo Award for best novel for Old Man’s War and The Last Colony, but he ultimately lost to other works, namely Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin and Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. Since I’ve now read all Hugo Award winners except one, I feel that I’m in a position to approve of these results. It would have been a shame if Chabon lost, and even though Spin is not a great work of fiction, it’s still qualitatively better than The Last Colony.

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