The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Published by UK Tor and Out Now
I have a problem with The Last Colony. It has this character Jane Sagan in it who is a main character from The Ghost Brigades and I can’t remember here. I can’t remember much of it to be honest. And I’ve been wondering why it hasn’t stuck with me.
I know I enjoyed it at the time and that the story of it’s main character, Jared Dirac, was quite powerful but I’m lost if I can recall too much about it. Though I’ve been having a flick through and it’s coming back to me.
Why am I mentioning it? It could be to point out that I’ve now got a memory life a sieve of it could be that it comes down to something in the characters that Scalzi is creating. They are only alive in the story itself. Once the story ends so does the characters.
Picking up The Last Colony is a new story and the characters feel different as they have a different story to tell. The Obin don’t remind me of the same characters seen before and neither does Sagan. I can’t comment on John Perry but I’m looking forward to reading Old Man’s War and seeing him in earlier days.
This isn’t a problem but it is more than curious. Scalzi has made a constructed, accessible sci-fi that’s brilliantly entertaining but it’s not going to linger. Not that every story should but there is probably scope for him to spend longer and delve into his characters whilst not sacrificing his excellent plotting.
And the plotting of The Last Colony is clever. He sets it up brilliantly including the twist in the middle that give the novel its title. Scalzi has a few comments on modern society. The idea of historical colonialism by killing the original inhabitants is attacked quite successfully. There is a great sense of community. I felt a great sense of affinity with the ‘enemy’ here as does John Perry though he does what he’s supposed to in the end.
I enjoyed The Last Colony immensely but I’m not sure if it’s a story that will stay with me. Not that every story should and it’s entertaining and clever. And I’d be more than happy to read another John Scalzi tale, good job I’ve got Old Man’s War and Zoe’s Tale lined up.