Tag Archives: Old Man’s War series

#Sunday Post – 13th May, 2018 #Brainfluffbookblog

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This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

A shorter week as it was Bank Holiday Monday – which was also my son’s birthday, but for all that it turned into a very busy one. I worked through Monday and finished the main content edit on Breathing Space and now I’ve got a line edit to do and then I’ll be good to go. I’m aiming to release Breathing Space on 26th June.

On Thursday it was my sister’s birthday – and we spent the day working through Tim’s COPE folders ensuring that every piece of paper was signed and all the front pages were correctly cross-referenced, while my long-suffering sister ensured the page numbers were correct. All fiddley and vital – as any mistake could cause Tim to fail. The folder gets sent away on Monday… I felt terrible imposing on my sister like that – but as ever, she was lovely about it. In the evening we went out for a delicious meal at our favourite Chinese restaurant and had intended to come home and watch a nice film – but we dozed off as we were too shattered. On Friday, I taught Tim in the morning and then my writing buddy Mhairi and I travelled up to Haywards Heath to see Lesley Thomson, Elly Griffiths and William Shaw discuss their attitude to their writing in a fascinating three-way interview. It was a delight to touch base with Lesley again, who is such a warm, likeable person and I came away with a hardback, signed copy of her latest book which I’m dying to tuck into…

We travelled to Ringwood yesterday as one of my sister’s dear friends from France is celebrating a special birthday in Fordingbridge with all her family and we are meeting up with our parents for a meal today. All in all, a busy week in the best sense.

This week I have read:

Scylla and Charybdis by Lindsey Duncan
Anaea Carlisle, raised on an isolated space station populated solely by women, believes the rest of the universe has been plunged into anarchy and ruin by an alien-engineered disease known as Y-Poisoning. On a salvage mission, she helps rescue a hypermental named Gwydion who challenges everything she thought she knew.

Forced to flee the station with Gwydion, Anaea finds herself in an inexplicable, often hostile world permanently divided between the Galactic Collective and the Pinnacle Empire. She longs for some place to call home, but first, she’ll have to survive …
This was another unusual, fascinating read by a Grimbold author… They are not kidding when they say they want science fiction with a difference. Highly readable and engrossing – I stayed in bed far later than I should to see what happens next.

 

Obscura by Joe Hart
In the near future, an aggressive and terrifying new form of dementia is affecting victims of all ages. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms are disturbing. Dr. Gillian Ryan is on the cutting edge of research and desperately determined to find a cure. She’s already lost her husband to the disease, and now her young daughter is slowly succumbing as well. After losing her funding, she is given the unique opportunity to expand her research. She will travel with a NASA team to a space station where the crew has been stricken with symptoms of a similar inexplicable psychosis—memory loss, trances, and violent, uncontrollable impulses.
This was another storming read – a psychological thriller set in space, which when done well, works really effectively because everyone is essentially trapped. This one had me on the edge of my seat, with a fantastic action-packed finish.

 

The End of All Things – Book 6 of the Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi
The Colonial Union’s Defence Force was formed to save humanity when aggressive alien species targeted our worlds. Now Lieutenant Harry Wilson has an urgent new mission, as a hostile universe becomes ever more dangerous. He must investigate a sinister group, which lurks in the darkness of space playing different factions against one another. They’ll target both humans and aliens, and their motives are unfathomable.
I spotted this one in the library and immediately scooped it up – I thoroughly enjoyed the Old Man’s War series and wanted to see where Scalzi would take it next.

 

DNF – The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan
It doesn’t happen very often these day – and make no mistake, this is beautifully written with wonderfully portrayed characters – but it is also achingly sad as it deals with children dying. I had a nightmare after starting it and decided not to proceed.

My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 6th May 2018

Review of Bound – Book 8 of the Alex Verus series by Bendict Jacka

Teaser Tuesday featuring Obscura by Joe Hart

Can’t-Wait Wednesday featuring Outcasts of Order – Book 20 of the Saga of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Review of The Cold Between – Book 1 of the Central Corps novels by Elizabeth Bonesteel

Friday Face-off – I was asleep when dinosaurs roamed the earth… featuring West of Eden by Harry Harrison

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Obscura by Joe Hart

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

Change in Perspective https://www.spajonas.com/2018/05/11/change-in-perspective/ Indie author S.J. Pajonas explains how a trip to the dentist recently fired up her writing muscle…

Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists https://lynns-books.com/2018/05/11/yeah-but-john-if-the-pirates-of-the-caribbean-breaks-down-the-pirates-dont-eat-the-tourists/ Lynn featured a really interesting selection of covers during this favourite meme of mine – plus the complete programme of upcoming covers for the next year…

#writersproblems: #technology #grief https://jeanleesworld.com/2018/05/10/writerproblems-technology-grief/ This should not be happening… really!

What is the point of being a nasty reviewer? http://www.keeperbookshelf.com/what-is-the-point-of-being-a-nasty-reviewer Marcy has some interesting things to say about reviewers who do nothing but write rude, demeaning comments about every book they encounter…

Top Ten Tuesday – Purple Cover Lover – http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2018/05/08/top-ten-tuesday-purple-cover-lover/ Lisa has selected all her favourite purple covers – and a wonderful feast for the eyes they are, too.

Have a great week and thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to visit, like and comment on my site.

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Review of The Last Colony – Book 3 of the Old Man’s War series

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If you enjoy military sci-fi with an intriguing world, lots of action and a protagonist whose bone-dry humour makes you grin even as blood and bullets are flying – then Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series should be on your ‘Must-read’ list. Not least, because Scalzi’s fascinating angle makes these books interesting even if you aren’t a major fan of the sub-genre. That said, I wouldn’t advise starting with The Last Colony as there are several major plot twists in each book to keep the narrative tension humming. Although if you do decide to dive in at Book Three, Scalzi has incorporated a masterly summary of ‘the story so far’, which I wish other authors of multi-book series would emulate.

lastcolonyA citizen of Earth, seventy-year-old John Perry, enlists as a Colonial Union soldier after the death of his wife. As promised, his consciousness is uploaded into a highly efficient body in the peak of condition. However, there is a catch to this renewed youthfulness. Perry discovers that out in space, Humanity is surrounded by a variety of other intelligent beings all wanting to colonise the same limited number of suitable planets. The result is bloody warfare. After serving his allotted time, Perry, his wife and adopted daughter finally settle down to live peacefully as administrators and farmers. Until the Colonial Union ask Perry and Jane to head up a new colony.

But en route to their destination, Perry realises that things don’t add up. The Colonial Union have provided more food than is usual for a seed colony and there is a hold full of obsolete equipment. When they arrive to discover that the planet filling their viewscreens isn’t the one they had planned on settling, it starts to become apparent that the Colonial Union are playing a dangerous game of hide and seek with the newly formed alien alliance – and their little colony is the playing piece…

Perry is definitely a cut above the average protagonist. His sharp humour and intelligently drawn character pulls the reader in – and compares favourably with Robert Buettner’s Jason Wander series, which by the fourth book seems to have run out of impetus. This is partly because Scalzi’s series doesn’t merely offer the reader more of the same in each book. The issues surrounding uploading human consciousness into a new body are thoroughly explored in the previous two books, while this tale examines the political situation that Scalzi has created. In most military sci-fi, politics and politicians are only a micron further up the villainy scale from whatever alien foe our valiant forces are fighting. And this series is no exception. If anything, Scalzi is even more grittily cynical about the casual manner in which the Colonial Union sacrifice their troops.

I very much like his world, where Earth is allowed to stagnate in a relative backwater, producing cannon fodder for the battles raging around the surrounding universe in cloned bodies equipped with progressively more sophisticated survival traits. While the action and frantic tempo required in this sub-genre never falters, Scalzi nevertheless manages to raise some issues regarding the morality of using human beings – and some aliens – in such a cold-blooded manner. It’s a neat trick to pull off and I am now looking out for his other books.
8/10