Bainbridge Reads TGB
Posted on January 5, 2006 Posted by John Scalzi 11 Comments
Stephen Bainbridge, bless his heart, says some nice things about The Ghost Brigades:
A pre-release review copy of John Scalzi’s new novel The Ghost Brigades arrived yesterday. I started it late last night and barely managed to tear myself away at midnight to go to bed. I polished it off today over a long lunch. Regular readers will recall that I was a huge fan of Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, which would be my pick for the best science fiction novel of 2005. But The Ghost Brigades is even better.
What really makes me happy is he notes the “stand alone” quality of TGB, which is to say you can read it without having read Old Man’s War, its prequel. A number of folks who have read the book so far have picked up on this, which means that my plan to have TGB function as its own book seems to have worked. I’m pleased that’s the case, although I suppose the acid test there would be to have someone who hasn’t read OMW pick up TGB and work through it. It’ll happen sooner or later, I reckon. In any event, follow the link above to get Professor Bainbridge’s full thoughts on the book.
I’m glad you appreciated the review. I’m interested that you highlighted my comment about TGB’s stand alone quality. That quality was one of the things I liked best about the book. I recently finished the latest installment in a popular epic fantasy series by an author who should probably remain nameless (but whose initials are GRRM) and am still annoyed with the author. Five years between installments and then no synopsis? And, worse yet, lots of subplots required one to remember details from the first or second book. So TGB came as a welcome relief. I felt no need to go back and reread OMW, which in some sense may be reason to do so!
I read Mr. Bainbridge’s review. Very nice for you. You owe that man an adult beverage.
I read the first chapter of TGB from the link on Whatever. What a shameless tease! Was that intentional?
I read TGB without having read OMW (still haven’t read OMW, in fact), and found it entirely fine on its own. I’m not sure whether I mentioned that in my review, though; I may not have had room.
Well, yes, of course it’s a tease! That’s the point. It’s not the entire first chapter, however, just part.
Yup, making it easy for people to dive right in was a priority for me. Unlike writer who should go nameless but whose initials start with GRRM, I can’t assume anyone who looks at this book has read the previous one, or will be able to find it on the shelf, so aside from my own personal preference to write a stand-alone book, it also makes good business sense. I’ll be trying to do the same thing with The Last Colony when I start writing it next month.
Where was your review?
It will be appearing in Publishers Weekly sometime fairly soon (though probably not soon enough to be blurbed on the first edition; for some reason we never make that deadline). My draft is limited to 200 words and my editor often cuts it down to 180, the heartless bastard*, so there’s a lot that I just don’t have room to say, but I think I managed to approximately do the book justice. It’s the first of your fiction I’ve read**, and I quite enjoyed it.
* I actually like my editor quite a lot, but as a writer I’m obliged to call him a heartless bastard on an approximately quarterly basis.
** Assuming that this blog is nothing but the gospel truth.
Cool! Thanks, Rose. I’ll be looking for it!
Wow I can’t wait also Warp drive possible but it has to be open, not just U.S. owned.
Actually it’s funny, now I think of it, it was like the governments on earth in OMW were closed systems and they could do whatever they wanted but were somehow outgunned by the CDF. The CDF was laughing at them daring them to catch up with them so in actuality the CDF was a more open or better form of government? Excellent base for an adventure novel to just get the heck off planet and do it yourself.
Yes, the nature of the Colonial Union government (which the CDF serves) is addressed somewhat in Ghost Brigades and will likely be addressed further in The Last Colony.
That hyperdive story is awesome. I won’t be holding my breath to see if it pans out, but man, if it does, there’ll be a Starbucks on Mars before I die! And isn’t that what we all wanted?
At some point during my holiday vacation I was thinking about OMW and this question came to mind. Perhaps it came from watching Episode III one too many times, and for all I know it may be something you address in TGB, but why does the CDF need so many new recruits? Given their technology, why do they need any recruits at all?
Damn you Dr. Pavlov, and damn your bell. Pass me a napkin.
“Given their technology, why do they need any recruits at all?”
Because clone armies are a bad idea. This is, in fact, specifically addressed in TGB.