Saturday, December 5, 2009

John Scalzi - The Last Colony

John Scalzi, The Last Colony, Tor, 2007.

Spoiler warning!

In this book, we join some of the characters familiar from the previous stories in the series, Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigade. John Perry and Jane Sagan have married, adopted Zoe Boutin, and settled on a colony world. Their life is changed when they are asked to become the leaders of a new colony.

The new colony of Roanoke is special, because it is colonized not by people from earth but by citizens of other colonies. When they arrive there, they discover that the colony is being used as a pawn in a complex game. The new colonists are forced to adapt to their new circumstances, while their leaders try to work out what is happening and what can be done about it. The challenges are both practical and ethical, with loyalty to the Colonial Union being questioned.

With each book in the series, the horizons of our knowledge about the universe expand. First we knew only what was known to a CDF soldier, then we learned more about the Special Forces and the power struggles between other races. This book gives a wider picture of the players in the colonization game. It seems likely that there will be many more stories told within this setting.

Having first read the later book, Zoe's Tale, I already knew what to expect in terms of the plot outline, but enjoyed revisiting the story from a different point of view. The dilemmas faced by the main characters were interesting, and the story here went on a little further. A comparison between the books in this series led me to conclude that Scalzi's writing improves over time, which bodes well for his future work.

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