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Monday, May 07, 2007

Review: The Last Colony

I was impressed by how much I liked this book. I started reading on chapter one, and the book just sucked me in and I had to keep going until I finished it. It's been a while since a science fiction novel did this to me, and I even picked up some of the inside jokes and references. (A character, Lieutenant Stross, was an obvious reference to fellow science fiction author Charles Stross)

Basically, a retired major in the human race's Colonial Union is called back (along with his wife, a former Special Forces soldier) to establish a new Earth Colony. Unknown to him, the Colonial Union has a not-so-innocent motive for this new colony, which puts his family, his new colony, and the entire fate of the human race in danger.

One odd technique that John Scalzi uses is to treat the entire novel as a mystery. Not a mystery as in a who-dunnit sense, but he basically treats every major plot point as a puzzle for the reader to solve. In most cases, he plays fair, giving you everything you need to guess what's going to happen next.

Yes, there are action sequences in this book, but no, they don't dominate the story or the plot, and they're not egregious, though Scalzi leaves more loose ends than I like at the end of the novel, they're not that important to the overall outcome.

All in all, while I would not pay hardcover price for this book, the paperback would be worth paying for, and it would make fine airplane reading. This book is the third book in a series, but since I hadn't read the first two books and didn't find that an impediment, you can safely read this book on its own. I'll dig up the other two from the library and write reviews on those as well.

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