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Old Man's War #3

The Last Colony

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Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up.

That is, until his and Jane's past reaches out to bring them back into the game--as leaders of a new human colony, to be peopled by settlers from all the major human worlds, for a deep political purpose that will put Perry and Sagan back in the thick of interstellar politics, betrayal, and war.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published April 17, 2007

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About the author

John Scalzi

154 books22.6k followers
John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,796 reviews
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,677 reviews5,254 followers
December 27, 2019
stupid fucking humans, you are the worst! always getting shit wrong and not caring!

John Scalzi sort of agrees but sort of doesn't. he's a humanist who loves the individual as well as a scornful critic who slams systems, systematized secrecy, imperialism, and the use of conflict as a way to achieve goals. so he gets to have his cake and eat it too. his love of people is on display as ever, and although his characters often lack depth and aren't particularly interesting, they are still warmly characterized and pleasant to be around. sympathetic characters because Scalzi is a sympathetic sort of author. but he also finally gets to openly slam the Colonial Union and their war-mongering, secretive, tunnel-visioned ways. this is the third book in the series and the preceding books almost function as a wind-up to what turns out to be a mean right hook. stupid fucking Colonial Union, they've been long overdue for a knock-out.

as usual the writing is pleasant and also generic. I did notice an increasing tendency to make things a bit too much on the nose. there's the name of the colony itself, "Roanoke", which of course has all sorts of resonance. but at least Scalzi acknowledges that. what's rather aggravating is the on-the-nose quality of the dialogue. it's always snappy and sarcastic and everyone responds with perfect timing; it's like a sitcom minus the laugh track. the end result is that it comes across as a bit plastic and characters sound a lot like each other.

still, that's a minor complaint. overall this novel is fast-paced fun, full of adventure and politics and battles and aliens. because Scalzi is more interested in the human condition than anything else, his aliens often act just like humans. that can be annoying, but fortunately in this one he has a couple that don't: Hickory and Dickory. they were also pretty fun and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better in the follow-up novel.

oh the synopsis, in my rush to get out of here I almost forgot: characters from prior novels lead a group of colonists to a new planet. the book is all about the layers upon layers of intrigue that surround this colony.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,965 followers
April 30, 2011
I’m no expert at colonizing newly discovered worlds, but I gotta think that naming your new planet ‘Roanoke’ and your settlement town ‘Croatoan’ is just asking to be pimp slapped by fate. Why not just christen a ship ‘Titantic’ or call that new nuclear plant ’Chernobyl’? What’s the worst that could happen?

The third installment of this series finds John Perry and his wife Jane retired from the Colonial Defense Force and living quietly on a colonized planet with their daughter. The CDF approaches them to head up a new colony, Roanoke. All the other colonies have been started using people from Earth, but Roanoke will be the first to be made up of a hodge podge of people from different colonized worlds, and this makes it a political hot potato. John and Jane agree to head up the new colony, but they quickly learn that the CDF hasn’t told them everything and that the Roanoke colony is a pawn in the conflict between the CDF and other alien races.

Like Old Man’s War or The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony is a fun and fast mix of space combat and politics. Scalzi creates characters you like and then throws them into plots that race from one huge event to the next, and he also injects a welcome sense of humor into the books. My only complaint is that the pace is so fast that Scalzi skimps on descriptions of settings, people and alien creatures in favor of dialogue and action so that I sometimes had a problem getting a clear picture in my mind of what was going on.

This is space war action several notches above what you usually get in this genre, and any sci-fi fan should check out this series.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
736 reviews1,259 followers
October 7, 2017
This is the point in the series where the story needed to make me fall in love with it as much as the first book did. Coming off a decent, albeit underwhelming second novel (Ghost Brigades), I wanted Last Colony to evolve into a series I could endorse as passionately as The Expanse. Alas, while I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish, the book did leave a few points to be desired.

My biggest complaint is the lack of description. Scalzi has all of these interesting alien species, but I'm at the halfway point in the series and couldn't begin to tell you what they look like. I love myself some xenobiology, but I feel the author has taken what should be a selling point to the series and glazed over it with ambiguity.

At least Last Colony saw the return of my fav, John Perry, and an interesting convergence of storylines from the first two books. The humor came back in force and played a huge factor in my overall enjoyment.

At the end of the day, while I've concluded there are some weaknesses to this series, all the strengths add up to give me an easy sci-fi, perfect for a light reading mood. My Fantasy Buddy Reads group on Goodreads has called it "hefty fluff" or "fluff-plus" and I don't think it inaccurate. I would definitely recommend it anyday for someone in the mood for a bit of fun.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.nikihawkes.com

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Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews882 followers
July 15, 2018
“It is an interesting thing to be both critical and expendable to humanity’s effort to populate the stars.”

Woodrow Wilson's wet dream goes interstellar!

“The Last Colony” is so far the weakest in the Old Men's War series. After “old people" (part one) and special forces (second volume), in the third instalment, Mr Scalzi focuses on the colonists and colonial life in general. The main characters are our old friends, John Perry and Jane Sagan. In a sense, this book finalises the stories of these two. John is an ombudsman on the remote planet of Huckleberry. It is a just the right job for a war hero without any experience useful in the daily life of a backwater rural colony. Jane is the local constabulary. Zoe, their adoptive daughter, has a blast of a teenage life. They even have two domesticated aliens to keep them company. Life’s good.

And then, for reasons beyond my understanding, John and Jane decide to abandon this quiet corner of the universe in order to participate in another venture sponsored by the Colonial Union. Are you surprised too? I was definitely outside my plausibility zone. The whole “twist” was beyond my comprehension. They are not blackmailed. They have no obligations (except for a perverted sense of moral duty). They even have no direct or indirect benefit in it. Still, they hop on. And I have to say that the author did not manage to convince me why they shouldn’t say “no, thank you” to the CU. I would.

While it is nice to see John Perry (his POV is very distinct and I love his high sarcasm - the scene with Chengelpet brothers and their goat was just priceless), the overall plot is of lower density and so the book read slower (at least for me). Frankly speaking, the initial chapters are just boring because suddenly it is a Wild West in the space. I have no fondness for Westerns and frontier towns and all the settler business was not that appealing.

After the initial boredom, as the whole scheme goes awry (as expected) somewhere in the middle of the book, Mr Scalzi goes pollyanna and presents Woodrow Wilson's wet dream of the universe. This was the precise moment when I understood why I had previously enjoyed the series so much. Simply put, it wasn't serious. It was fun, pure entertainment. And it was OK because not everybody needs to attempt to mimic Immanuel Kant. Not everybody should do that, in fact. And here, within few pages, we go from Scalzi making fun and playing with the genre to Scalzi turning preachy and pushy.

The push direction is towards a full-blown utopia ignoring the simplest laws of alliance building and working in concert as a security community. There is a UN without the Security Council (it is called Conclave) and it operates as if in the space the obstacles to international interplanetary cooperation (lack of trust, lack of information and free riding) were as absent as gravity. It would be hilarious if it wasn't obvious that Mr Scalzi is serious this time and not winking at the reader. And that he really believes in the beautiful dream of multi-culti in the space where many races would live in peace and harmony, and among rainbows and unicorns… wait. No. No unicorns.

For those of you who wonder why I am so vehemently opposed to this blatant and stupid propaganda, please read John Msarsheimer’s essay on international institutions as a cause of peace here in the full text and here in a 5-minute video. I promise it is worth your time.

On top of all this hubris, there is the totally reified Colonial Union as a caricature of dictatorship and the wise Conclave leader who eschews power but would kill for (pun intended and justified!) deliberative democracy and burden sharing. The whole book is written on idiotic assumptions , conveniences and inconsistencies

When I say that the book is much worse than the first two volumes, it still remains a decent reading. If you ignore the absurd geopolitical background, you might enjoy reading about the ‘borderland settlement’ tale and the problems of a small community.

For me, the Last Colony was a lost colony.

Also in the series:

1. Old Man's War ★★★★★
2. The Ghost Brigades ★★★★☆
4. Zoe's Tale ★☆☆☆☆
5. The Human Division ★★☆☆☆
Profile Image for Overhaul.
315 reviews699 followers
September 28, 2022
Tras "La vieja guardia" y "Las Brigadas Fantasma", Scalzi nos vuelve a ofrecer una novela de aventuras y entretenimiento. Es Scalzi, no lo sueltas.

John Perry y Jane Sagan han encontrado la paz junto a su hija adoptiva Zoë en el planeta colonial Huckleberry. Es una buena vida, pero sienten que les falta algo.

Por eso, cuando se les propone liderar una nueva colonia, John y Jane no pueden resistir la tentación de explorar el universo una vez más.

Pero cuando los colonos son abandonados en un planeta desconocido, Perry descubre que nada es lo que parece.

Él y su nueva colonia son simples peones en la confrontación entre la Unión Colonial humana y la confederación alienígena denominada el Cónclave, que pretende frenar la colonización humana.

Mientras la partida se decide, Perry deberá proteger a sus colonos de la amenaza que suponen ambos bandos y mantenerlos con vida en un planeta que esconde sus propios secretos. Al mismo tiempo intentará prevenir una guerra que podría significar no sólo la destrucción de su nuevo hogar, sino también la aniquilación de toda la Unión Colonial.

Esta tercera entrega es un poco diferente de las dos primeras. Mientras que la sombra de la guerra permanece de fondo todo el tiempo, la epicidad, sangre y acción es baja en comparación. Tiene su dosis.

John y Jane son personajes entrañables, al igual que Zoe, Hickory y Dickory, y Savitri es una buena adición a la historia. Algunos por lo que he visto en el epílogo se los extrañará.

Continuando con mi camino de Scalzis con este tercer libro avanzamos en la política galáctica, las conspiraciones y batallas espaciales hacen que la vida, difícil y peligrosa de un grupo de colonos planetarios sea mucho más peligrosa y letal.

John Perry y Jane Sagan han estado viviendo con Zoe en una colonia llamada Huckleberry hasta que los envían a crear una nueva colonia, Roanoke. Solo que no les dicen toda la verdad y el Cónclave está al acecho de colonias rebeldes.

La escritura de Scalzi está en la mejor forma posible. Ágil, engancha como los anteriores y dado que John Perry es el personaje principal, hay más de humor que en anterior. Aún así, conserva momentos igual de serios. Un buen equilibrio.

Una de las cosas que más me gustaron fue que Scalzi no le tembló la mano en cambiar las cosas cerrando algun círculo. Pero sobretodo, una vez terminé el libro, me alegré de que a Scalzi aún le queden historias por contar en este genial universo.

Súper soldados verdes, generales alienígenas y guardianes sin emociones. Tenemos aspectos de la vida como el amor y la familia pero también la guerra, la opresión, la política y lo que en esta saga más destaca, lo que significa ser humano.

Scalzi es un genio algo cabroncete con un plan muy bien pensado y mejor tejido detrás de una sonrisa.

Puedo entender por qué algunos no "disfrutaron" tanto este libro. El enfoque principal no está en lo militar, al menos no al principio. Hay algo de intriga política y una creciente amenaza de un personaje muy interesante.

Scalzi no defrauda. Palomitero hasta el final..✍️
Profile Image for Bharath.
642 reviews475 followers
March 19, 2022
I love this series and now am a fan of John Scalzi’s writing.

At the end of the last book ‘The Ghost Brigades’, John Perry and Jane Sagan were offered an option to retire from combat with their adopted daughter Zoe. Zoe has two Obin protectors – Hickory and Dickory who are around her all the time. It is now eight years since they have been settled in Huckleberry, quite peacefully. Most of the residents of this colony are from India. While you can spot some minor inaccuracies in the cultural context, the descriptions are light and good fun. John is an ombudsman often tasked with resolving mundane issues such as disputes with respect to farming, goats etc. Jane is a local police officer. John has a secretary named Savitri, who turns out to be very loyal to the family and is a source of support for what is to follow.

One day they have a visit from a general of the Colonial Defence Forces (CDF), asking that John & Jane help setup a new colony on the planet Roanoke. Zoe and Savitri join them as well. John & Jane soon realize that there is a lot they have not been told and this is a dangerous mission with Roanoke becoming the scene for a major power struggle. I loved how the book ended – that had a touch of surprise.

This book is a little different from the first two – while the spectre of warfare hangs in the background all the time, the actual violence is low in comparison. John & Jane are lovely characters, as are Zoe, Hickory & Dickory, and Savitri is a good addition to the story. In the afterword, the author suggests that John & Jane’s characters will not continue – curious to know how the series continues and will miss them.

My rating: 4.5 / 5.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
May 30, 2019
Way cool SF writer Scalzi returns to his Old Man's War universe.

This time around John Perry and his badass wife Jane are out of the CDF and are no longer green, having been given retired human bodies. Nowadays they are chillaxing on a colony basking in their boring new roles, living a quiet life with their adopted daughter Zoe.

But their lives change when a CDF general invites / demands / requires them to lead a party of new colonists on a brand new planetary colony that reminded me of Robert A. Heinlein’s 1955 Scribner’s juvenile novel Tunnel in the Sky.

John, Jane, Zoe and the other colonists are caught up in political intrigue and high level skullduggery and they’ve got to figure things out to save mankind and sort out the Colonial Union and the alien Conclave. With some help from Hickory and Dickory the Obin guardians of Zoe.

Good fun for Scalzi fans.

Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
November 12, 2021
Continuing my Scalzi splurge with this third book in the Old Man’s War series. Galactic politicking, conspiracy and space battles make the already difficult and dangerous lives of a small group of planetary colonists far more dangerous and deadly. A few loose ends (WHY DID THE WEREWOLVES DISAPPEAR?) but I really enjoyed the ending, where things come full circle in a soul-satisfying way.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,116 reviews352 followers
September 20, 2015
After retiring from the Colonial Defense Force, John Perry and Jane Sagan started a new life on the Human colony Huckleberry. The two of them live with their adopted daughter Zoë, work local jobs, and have a farm. All of that changes when they are approached to be the leaders of a new human colony which will be colonized by people from other human colonies. There is more to this arrangement than they were told and the family finds itself once again forced to fight to survive.

John Scalzi shows another part of his universe with The Last Colony. In Old Man's War we learned about how The Colonial Union gets recruits,  makes them fighting ready, and the dangers of the universe. In Ghost Brigades we see the inner workings of the Special Forces and the increased danger they face. The Last Colony shows what life is like as a colonist and it's dangerous and boring. A whole lot of farming is involved which made the beginning drag quite a bit.

John Perry, Jane Sagan, and the colonists got thoroughly screwed in this book. It was shocking to see how even after such betrayal what people could be capable of doing. I'd like to think people would be smarter than this, but the colonists are probably similar to the majority of individuals in the world.

The story has a lot of moving parts and an air of mystery. Unfortunately for me most of it seemed quite obvious. It was good to see John Perry again, he's just as funny as a sarcastic young man as he was as an old man. I still don't like how neatly Scalzi wraps up his books and The Last Colony was no exception. I did like how he left the ending open for future tales.

The Last Colony was a solid conclusion to the Old Man's War trilogy.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
March 13, 2011
John Perry and Jane Sagan have left the CDF and have been living with Zoe on a colony called Huckleberry until they're uprooted and sent to start a new colony, Roanoke. Only the CDF isn't telling them the whole truth and the Conclave is on the prowl for rogue colonies. Can Perry and his family save Roanoke without being traitors to the Colonial Union?

Wow. I loved this book almost as much as I loved the first in the series, Old Man's War. John Perry is back and in fine form. Scalzi crammed a lot of story into just over 300 pages; tensions between the CDF and the Conclave, the mutual respect between Perry and General Gau, the Obin, and more that I can't divulge without blowing too many bits of the lot.

Scalzi's writing is in top form in The Last Colony and since John Perry is the lead character, there's a bit more humor than in Ghost Brigades. Still, it's almost as serious as the previous book.

One of the things that I loved the most about the Last Colony was that Scalzi wasn't afraid to shake things up. While I'm aware that there's a fourth book and am eagerly awaiting it's arrival in the mail, I wasn't completely sure any of colonists would survive. I loved that Scalzi brought Perry and Sagan full circle since the first book. While it would have made a grand ending for the saga, I'm glad Scalzi still has stories left to tell in this universe.

I can't recommend The Last Colony, or the previous two books, Old Man's War, and The Ghost Brigades, enough. They aren't just great military science fiction; they're great books.
Profile Image for Hosein.
178 reviews87 followers
April 20, 2021
اگه میتونستم بیشتر از 5 ستاره بدم، صددرصد میدادم.

شاید بهترین چیزی که من میتونم برای احساسم در مورد "آخرین مستعمره" بگم، حس استار وارزیه:دی با این تفاوت که "آخرین مستعمره" از کل فیلم های استاروارز داستان قوی تری داشت و به نظرم یکی از قوی ترین کتاب های علمی تخیلی بود که خوندم.

تا اینجای مجموعه جنگ پیرمرد، هر جلد تفاوت های جالبی نسبت به جلد قبل داشته. جلد اول فضای نبرد و نظامی داشت، جلد دوم بار فلسفیش به همه موارد دیگه می چربید، جلد سوم یک کار سیاسی بود. توی این جلد بیشتر از اینکه با فلسفه کار داشته باشیم یا مثل جلد اول کاراکترها کیهان رو بگردن و هر موجودی میبینن از تیغ بگذرونن، با سیاست کار داشتیم. "آخرین مستعمره" پر بود از حقه های سیاسی، بی اعتنایی سیاستمدار ها به مردم و اشاره های کوچیک و بزرگ به تاریخ بشریت که نشون میداد جان اسکالزی این داستان رو از تاریخ دنیای خودمون گرفته. من حس میکردم خیلی از جاها، این مستعمره جدید اتحادیه، شبیه کشور ها و جوامع کوچیکی هستن که قربانی سیاست های کلان و بی رحمانه میشن.

داستان از لحاظ دنیاسازی و شخصیت پردازی خیلی پیشرفت داشت، همین طور میشه گفت توی موارد دیگه هم همون روند صعودی خودش رو طی میکرد. فضای این داستان، به نسبت دو کتاب قبلی بسته تر بود ولی باعث نشد که من حس بدی به کتاب داشته باشم یا هیجانش برام کمتر باشه. و یکی از مواردی که توی این کتاب برام خیلی جالب بود، وارد کردن یکسری از وسایل و سبک زندگی قرن های قبلی، به داستان علمی تخیلی بود که خودم به شخصه قبلا همچنین چیزی ندیده بودم و برام خیلی جالب بود. همین طور پایان کتاب به نظرم خیلی جالب تر از جلدهای قبلی بود، پایانی بود که انتظارش رو نداشتم.

در کل، به نظرم "آخرین مستعمره" بهترین کتاب علمی تخیلی بود که توی یکسال اخیر خوندم و از خوندنش برام حس واقعا عالی داشت.
حتما بخونین:دی
Profile Image for María.
192 reviews86 followers
August 15, 2020
Esta serie de John Scalzi continúa a buen ritmo.
Lo sigo pasando en grande con su lectura, con sus personajes, con sus diálogos, con los giros que va dando la trama cada pocos capítulos....
En esta tercera entrega todo queda bastante cerrado, así que no tengo ni idea de lo que me puedo encontrar en el siguiente libro. No creo que tarde mucho en averiguarlo.
Profile Image for Daniel T.
98 reviews18 followers
June 3, 2022
فقط باید بگم WoW

این جلد توی سه گانه اول مجموعه بنظرم قوی ترین بود.
تم کاملا سیاسی داشت
از درگیری بین نژاد ها و ایجاد ائتلاف ها و … برای کم کردن روی هم و تلاش برای بقا و عملیات های به شدت هیجان انگیز گرفته تا پرداخت به جامعه کوچیک و سیاره‌ی نوپایی که داستان روی اون گذشت.

شخصا زیاد علاقه ای به نبرد های فضایی و از این قبیل نداشتم ولی این کتاب کاملا نظر منو تغییر داد.

Profile Image for Tom Merritt.
Author 41 books1,765 followers
October 19, 2013
There's an easy brilliance to the OMW series that I think shines at its best in Last Colony. At any moment you may feel like you're reading a light novel with snappy dialog and a straightforward plot. The phrase 'beach reading' May even flit through your mind. But the. You'll realize that these characters are green super soldiers, alien generals with eye stalks and emotionless guardians of a teenage girl. Then it strikes you that the themes aren't just love and family and such but also war and oppression and politics and the meaning of being human. And that's when you realize that Scalzi is a devilish little genius with a clever plan behind his smile. I believe and fervently hope he uses his powers for good.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 2 books13 followers
June 12, 2023
This is my favorite book so far in the series. John Perry is back as the narrator, and much of the tone/humor that I loved about Old Man's War (but which was largely missing from The Ghost Brigades) is present here. Don't get me wrong, I also really liked the previous installment, but I'm starting to think Scalzi's writing style works better with the first-person POV approach.

I can understand why some fans might not have enjoyed this book as much; the focus is not so much on military tactics this time around (at least not at first), and instead looks at how John and Jane work to build a colony on a new world. There is some political intrigue and a growing, space opera-level threat from a very interesting character named General Gau. We also get to see more of Zoë and her Obin pals Hickory and Dickory!

Overall, The Last Colony is a really entertaining novel, and I commend the author for trying something a little bit different with each volume of this series.
Profile Image for Xabi1990.
1,991 reviews896 followers
March 29, 2021
9/10 en 2010.

Joder, mismos protagonistas, misma historia...y no se parece en nada a los dos precedentes. Pero engancha tb cosa mala.

No os digo que lo leáis. Os digo que leáis el primero de la saga y ya llegaréis aquí vosotros solitos.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,155 reviews310 followers
June 19, 2020
Unlike many, I think I may have liked this third book more than the first two. It's a pretty firm shift from a military story to a colony one, which may be why I liked it so much. Colony stories are among my favourites in the SF genre.

Where I feel these books are somewhat lacking is in their character development, and The Last Colony is no exception. Both John and Jane are pretty much the same as they always were, and Zoe's growth is limited to what one would generically expect when a child grows into.a teen. Even though she was a significant character, her presence in the story felt lacking in depth. Maybe that will change in Zoe's Tale? Although tobe honest, as much as I enjoyed this book I'm not totally stoked to read the same story over again but from a different P.O.V.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,765 reviews207 followers
July 15, 2017
3.5 stars. A good installment in this series. I enjoyed this much more than I was expecting, and totally loved these women: Jane Sagan and Savitri Guntupillai. I'm looking forward to seeing this story's events from Zoe Boutin's perspective soon. I wanted to spend so much more time with these three people.
It's nice to see that some of the revelations in book 2 are followed up here, . I liked the end of the book, too, in that there is an interesting choice laid out to humans by John Perry's actions. Also, I also kind of liked John here, though I definitely preferred every second Jane and Savitri were on page.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,094 reviews1,537 followers
January 3, 2016
This review from October was wrongly placed with the entre piece of the serialized book:

This was a well-paced, fun space opera in the same universe as Scalzi’s series starting with “The Old Man’s War”. The confederation of human planets known as Colonial Union was formed in response to alien civilizations out to exterminate our species, and in response to their success hundreds of alien species have formed their own confederation, the Conclave. The resulting peace from strength has become shaky as the Union has been so brutal in maintaining allegiance and control that Earth has dropped out, removing a big source of their resources and soldiers. A recent attack by the Union on Conclave forces was restrained from becoming all-out war only by the wisdom of their leader, General Gau, who now can barely keep the alien confederation together.

The plot here concerns a fiendish plan by an alien and human renegades called Equilibrium to get rid of both the Colonial Union and the Conclave by fomenting a war between them. There are significant military actions in the story, but most of the tale is taken up with intelligence work and political maneuvering. The narrative is presented in four cohesive sections told in first person by different players in the drama. At the ground level, we start with the accounts of a male commercial space pilot whose ship is hijacked and now is enslaved as a “brain in a box”, with his only means of living mediated through a virtual reality interface. His hate for the human traitor behind his capture and murder of his crew, a th Union’s Secretary of State drives him to brilliant heroic action. Another section is told from the perspective a female assault trooper with the Colonial Defense Force engaged in quelling rebellions seeking independence from the Union. She begins to question why they keep putting out fires but do not address the root causes. At a higher level, we get the perspectives of a Colonial Union State Department spy and of an alien which is second in command of the Conclave. They end up partnering with diplomats from the Earth and the Union to pull off an intricate trap for the shadowy Equilibrium forces, outfoxing both their secret supporters in Conclave legislature and others who just want all humans wiped out.

The high stakes for the human species adds to the thrills for this story. The weaving of multiple threads and complex strategies lift the novel a bit above the pulp level. Characters are sketchy but vividly rendered with special quirks and a lot of ironic humor. The aliens fail to appear different from humans in their motivations and thinking, and any biological differences are not explored but merely tossed off in a virtually comic fashion. This conforms to a long tradition in space opera, where space is just a playground for human drama (some of the best, like the works of Bujold and David Weber dispense with aliens altogether). What lifts this from 3 to 4 stars for me is the dynamic presentation of the tale, the caper-like feel to the schemes employed by its lovable heroes, and its marshalling of interesting technologies by “showing not telling.”
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,253 reviews178 followers
August 31, 2017
Third volume in the Old Man's War series

This one felt rather different to the previous two - much lighter in a way although the stakes are still pretty high - but as enjoyable to read.

The narration is back from the point of view of John Perry, who is living a peaceful life on a colony with Jane Sagan and Zoe, after the explosive events of The Ghost Brigades. Eight years have passed and the two ex soldiers look at ease in this new life, the first as an ombudsman and the other as a constable, dealing with trivial matters that creep up in small populations. Naturally, the fates want more from our characters and they are once more pushed into the centre of the action, namely, be the administrators of a new special colony, Roanoke, with heavy political symbolism. To say that things do not go to plan is an understatement, and they find themselves in the middle of a huge power play with heavy ramifications.

I really enjoyed this and not just because we are already invested in these protagonists. Perry has a very compelling voice, full of irony, and it was a pleasure to hear him again. The dynamics between him and the no nonsense Jane, was great to see, especially the banter, humour, and easy manner from people who deeply care for each other. I wondered however where Scalzi was going with this story, with its focus on imperialism and the dangers of power in the hands of the few, placing us first in a narrow perspective, and widening it three quarters of the way in. It did feel a little disjointed but not much. I still gulped it pretty quickly.
Profile Image for Andris.
340 reviews56 followers
October 3, 2022
Lielisks triloģijas noslēgums, turklāt šajā daļā kā galvenais varonis atgriežas Džons Perijs. Ko vēl var vēlēties?
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,169 reviews1,140 followers
September 1, 2017
This is disappointing since I usually can count on Scalzi for keeping me glued to the screen of my Kindle. The book, or series, has been underwhelming for me since The Ghost Brigade. I think the parts where it should spend more time on got shortened like the going ons in other planets during the war with the Conclave etc, and vice versa. There are many conversation with arguments made clear at the start but somehow the characters keep paraphrasing it without uncovering new insights. I was really bored.

One time, during one of the explanation session, I was thinking, well, if you are going to attack a fleet consisted of hundreds of nations don't you think they will want to avenge their fallen soldiers and ships? Assumptions can kill especially in system dynamics. The Colonial Union in this book was so frustratingly stupid and it annoyed me that the MCs, smart as they were, did not think of that possibility and try to, as they did very often, argue against it and try to find another way.

Last but not least, the level of deus ex machinas here are way too many. One I could handle, but two is overdoing it, man.

Two stars are for the overly emotional but cute Obins, and the steadfast Hiram.
Profile Image for Mpauli.
157 reviews464 followers
January 14, 2015
Overall this was a fantastic read and a lot of fun. Seeing the story again told from John Perry's point of view was a blast and the combination of humor, plot, twists, characters and action worked really well for me.
The ony complaint I have is that for the plot to really work at two points people who should have know better make actually some stupid decisions. I think if everyone had really acted like I would assume leaders of large political groups would act, then the story couldn't have played out the way it did.
So, techically I would deduct a half-star for this, so it is a 4.5 star read for me, which I'm still rounding up to 5, cause the book is just a lot of fun.
Profile Image for Efka.
461 reviews258 followers
February 20, 2023
You can say it is irrelevant or pretentious or anything you want. But in the light of today's events, I don't think that reviewing or rating a book about war - even a dumb "shoot the alien" kind of war - is proper and "normal".

Слава Україні! Героям слава!

It is all I have to say this grim day.
Profile Image for Igor Ljubuncic.
Author 17 books239 followers
August 12, 2017
This is a good book, but nowhere near as good as the first (best) or second (very good).

Let's start with the 'me like' stuff: John has a nice, easygoing writing style, so even if there isn't too much happening in the book, it's still quite all right. Overall, the arch-story of the series continues, and we get additional exposure to the politics of CU and the Conclave. John Perry is back, it's first person again, and the focus is now on the colonial side of the union.

Unfortunately ...

The Last Colony does not have the careless humor and the adventure of the first book. Old Man's War was sweet, sad, mysterious, funny. The Last Colony feels forced. The guys are going on a mission to setup a colony. Very Amish style. Jane is there, and Zoe, too, and it feels a bit awkward. But then, when they do finally start the colony, you get almost no glimpse of the world around them, and the encounter with the local life/population is quickly forgotten. Almost like a checklist that someone forgot to check until after the book was written and released to the market.

Then, the interaction between protagonists - mostly John and everyone else - is extremely formulaic. They all talk and think the same, including supposedly sleazy politicians and alien generals. They all have this laid back mid-West US talk, and they use the word 'no offense' all too often. It makes no sense. Even people from a different country on our little planet have completely different mannerisms, idioms, and way of speaking, let alone an intergallatic bug-like species from a distant world. C'mon.

The few battles that are there are quick and emotionless. The twists are somewhat predictable, and so is the honorable rebellion attitude. John is no longer the wise old man, he's a maverick Marine who wants to do good, regardless of what the Universe needs or thinks. And again, we have more conversations between John and different generals, quick dead-pan delivery sentences that sound like arguing but in fact are manifests of self-righteousness, more 'no offense none taken' moments, and the identical personality repetition for each and every character.

In a way, it feels like what's happening with Joe Abercrombie - when you milk it too much you lose passion for your own work. Which is why I won't read more of this series, especially as I don't care about this identical storyline from Zoe's perspective. And it's no wonder that John wrote Redshirts, because it allowed him to go wild and carefree. And it shows. When you write for fun, it's fun. When you write, because there's a contract, you can feel it.

This book could have been a lot better - more variety among characters, more suspense, more planetary exploration, more profound engagements between species. The way it's done, it's: Let's pretend to be Amish in space and then have long discussions with alien generals around Bushido code in a Texan accent.


There was once a planet with no name,
Where John, Jane and Zoe came,
Obin and Amish,
Peril and perish,
EVERYBODY talked the same.

Profile Image for Audrey.
1,074 reviews165 followers
September 3, 2019
P.S. Whenever I glance at this cover, I think it’s a duck unless I’m zoomed way in.

This third book returns to John Perry, who now lives with Jane and Zoe. They get asked to start a new colony but quickly get tired of being everybody else’s pawn in their galactic political games. There are a few twists and surprises, and John gets to do this a couple times:

The writing has lots of “he said” and “she said” tags, which I think is more noticeable on audio. There are long scenes of dialogue and steady action and plenty of snark. It’s a fun story. I got through it pretty quickly thanks to insomnia.

Book Blog
Profile Image for Marijan Šiško.
Author 1 book67 followers
November 21, 2016
treća knjiga, trećapriča, i opet prilično različita. mrvicu slabija od druge. i mada na kraju knjige najavljuje oproštaj od storylinea, vidim da se nije baš oprostio :)
Profile Image for Dorothea.
227 reviews66 followers
June 8, 2012
I found The Last Colony really disappointing compared to Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. Here's why:

1. The first two books got a lot of their structure from the military training that their protagonists, John Perry and Jared Dirac. The process of learning new skills and ways of thinking also made Perry and Dirac interesting characters. The Last Colony doesn't have any training; Perry is the protagonist again and he does have to adapt to a new career as the administrator of a new colony, but there's no boot camp -- he's chosen because (we're told) he already has most of the necessary experience and leadership skills. Instead, the plot moves on as Perry and his settlers are pushed along the colonizing process, at intervals learning more secrets about the plot that underlies the colony's creation. Instead of Perry leveling up to a new phase of training, he (sometimes rather passively) receives new information. This doesn't make for quite so appealing a plot, and Perry himself is less engaging as an administrator instead of a soldier.

2. Perry's colony is called Roanoke. I am a North Carolinian and I've known the story of Roanoke, the Lost Colony, since about first grade. To name a colony you want to succeed "Roanoke" is like naming a new nuclear power plant "Chernobyl." When the colony in this book is in the planning stages, everyone refers to it as Roanoke without explanation or comment. Later, when it becomes clear that the people in the Colonial Union who named the colony have nefarious plans for it, Perry reflects that hm, it must have been a deliberate choice to name his colony after the original Lost Colony! ... look, if the Colonial Union had a secret nefarious plot for this colony, which it did, and it wanted to keep this plot a secret from the colonists until it was too late, which it did, why would it drop such a broad hint to everyone in the form of the colony's very name?

The decision to call the colony Roanoke only makes sense to me if I interpret it as a literary decision by Scalzi, instead of a tactical decision by anybody inside the book. Every time I saw the colony's name (or the name of the colony's first village, Croatoan, or other related names given to geographical features) I was jolted straight out of the story.

3. The characters. Perhaps because he doesn't learn anything in this book apart from political secrets, I found John Perry really boring to read about this time. I kept wanting to read more about Jane Sagan (a Special Forces soldier from the first and second books whom John married between books two and three), Zoë Boutin (John and Jane's adopted daughter, who appeared as a child in book two and is now a teenager), Savitri (a new character in this book, who works as John and Jane's assistant), and Hickory and Dickory (two Obin beings who hang around to keep an eye on Zoë, for reasons explained in book two). But there was never enough about these characters; I felt like the attention of the narrative kept getting yanked back to John. I guess that's inevitable since he's the first-person narrator, but I rather resented it!

Jane gets a few moments of awesomeness, but although she's actually co-administrator of the colony with John, he seems to make most of the decisions and it feels like she's "just" his wife. It's easy to forget that when they first worked together, in Old Man's War, it was in an exciting combat situation in which Jane was totally in her element. Zoë was fun to read about, but I just wanted more of her. I really liked Savitri's personality, but we never really got any insight about her motivations. She insists on accompanying John and his family to the new colony and beyond, and I have no idea why.

4. Hickory and Dickory get their own point. The Obin have technology that allows them to communicate (as a sort of group consciousness) with other Obin. Hickory and Dickory (named by Zoë as a little girl; I was uncomfortable throughout the entire book with these names, although it makes sense that they would want to keep these names and probably didn't even have personal names of their own before they took on their current role) reveal early on, in the course of a disagreement with John, that they know way more about the interstellar political situation than anyone else in the colony. John's reaction is simply that they'll have to agree to disagree -- it doesn't seem to occur to him to ask them to explain their reasoning or tell him what they know. John spends most of the book treating the Obin like pets or servants instead of the powerful potential allies they really are. To add insult to injury, even after being reminded by Jane that Obin do gender differently than humans -- each individual is both male and female -- he unsystematically refers to Hickory and Dickory as "him" as well as "it."

5. [This one has spoilers] So, the real conflict of this book is that the Colonial Union (the humans' governing unit in the universe) opposes the Conclave, a coalition of hundreds of other beings whose purpose is to share out sites for colonizing without war. In order to assert its authority, the Conclave insists that new colonies from non-Conclave groups either go home, join the Conclave, or be destroyed. The Roanoke colony's purpose is to refuse all three of these choices and to make the Conclave look bad. The colonists don't know about this purpose until they've already set up Roanoke, and by the time the Conclave fleet shows up to enforce its ultimatum, the colonists have no choice but to help the Colonial Union thwart the Conclave.

This would work a lot better if, as John Perry was unpacking all of the political secrets, he and the reader were really able to constantly re-evaluate this conflict and make judgments about whether the Colonial Union, Conclave, or some other position is right. I think that might have been Scalzi's intent. The problem is that the previous two books had done too good a job of calling the Colonial Union's ethics into question and making it clear that other races have just as much interest and rights as humanity. From the start, it seemed really obvious to me that the Colonial Union was lying about the Conclave and that the Conclave was a much better plan than anything else available. The only things really holding humanity back from joining the Conclave were ignorance and chauvinism. That doesn't make for a good conflict, especially when the conflict is presented as humanity vs. enemies instead of humanity vs. humanity's own problems.


I think this could have been a much better book, and after reading the first two books I think Scalzi is a good enough writer to have fixed all of the problems I've described here. But he didn't, and it's too bad.
Profile Image for Tanabrus.
1,857 reviews163 followers
May 7, 2022
Questo terzo volume della serie mi è sembrato un poco più debole degli altri due, ma è comunque un buon tassello nel quadro generale, e una lettura piacevole.

Abbiamo John Perry e Jane Sagan intenti a vivere la loro nuova vita da ex soldati in una colonia tranquilla, assieme alla loro figlia adottiva Zoe (ora adolescente) e ai due Orbin che come da accordi con la loro gente la seguono ovunque, un misto tra guardie del corpo, reporter galattici e ferventi adoratori dell'eredità bioogica dell'uomo che gli ha donato una qualche sorta di coscienza.
E una nativa della colonia, la caustica e divertente segretaria di John, posto a capo della colonia (mentre ovviamente Jane si occupa dell'ordine pubblico).

Tutto questo finisce molto presto quando la CDF arriva a offrire\richiedere che la coppia si diriga altrove a guidare la colonizzazione di un nuovo pianeta, una questione politica molto spinosa per la federazione coloniale visto che a causa delle grandi pressioni è stato deciso di consentire ai coloni dei pianeti più popolosi di inviare gente a colonizzare un nuovo pianeta.
Abbiamo quindi quello che potrebbe essere il primo di una nuova serie di impulsi coloniali di seconda generazione, con una popolazione equamente suddivisa tra le colonie più vecchie degli umani, con un consiglio composto dai loro rappresentanti e sopra di loro due ex soldati della CDF.
Su un pianeta che dovrebbe essere stato offerto agli umani dagli Orbin... solo che ovviamente c'è molto di più dietro a tutto questo.

E quello che c'è dietro è il Conclave, adesso diventato realtà e intento a flettere i muscoli in giro per la galassia, bloccando le colonizzazioni delle specie non affiliate e isolandole, mentre gli umani intendono sfruttare la nuova colonia per mostrare a tutti che si può sconfiggere questa alleanza di centinaia di razze aliene.

Seguono macchinazioni politiche da parte dei coloniali e da parte del Conclave, complotti e macchinazioni con in palio non solo la sopravvivenza della colonia di Roanoke (e si, il nome non è scelto affatto casualmente...) ma pure quella degli umani come forma di vita (un po' come nel secondo libro, insomma).

La parte che mi ha convinto meno è stata quella finale, con una soluzione che pare un po' troppo forzata, con scelte un po' troppo obbligate "per fini di trama" (a differenza di altre scelte compiute prima, che per quanto palesemente sbagliate e dannose trovavano comunque un senso logico dal punto di vista di chi le intraprendeva).
Altro punto non ben riuscito è quello dei "licantropi": accennati, mostrati, con annesso un interessante bagaglio di risvolti etici e morali... e poi caduti nel dimenticatoio. Pensavo sarebbero potuti tornare in scena almeno nel finale, per dare un senso alla loro comparsa, invece dopo l'incontro con i coloni e con il leader dei pacifisti, niente, spariti del tutto. Ma perché? E a quel punto, che senso ha avuto "perdere tempo" a costruire la loro presenza e il loro primo contatto con i coloni?

Benissimo invece John e Jane, ormai delle certezze, così come i personaggi di contorno (il generale del conclave sembra davvero un buon personaggio, forse un po' troppo idealizzato per essere davvero reale, ma immagino che questo lo scopriremo in seguito), e tutto quanto stava dietro le macchinazioni e i piani e contropiani che John e Jane dovranno scoprire per poter rivoltare a loro favore salvando i coloni dal massacro che tutti vorrebbero far piovere sulle loro teste.
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