The First Last Colony Review; Intriguing Pre-Review Comment

It looks like someone out there has read the ARC of The Last Colony and reviewed it on their LiveJournal; the review said “It’s like reading a well-done episode of Deep Space Nine.” This is not how I would have described it, personally, but I always did like DS9, so I’ll take the compliment. The reviewer does think I larder the book too much with characters that have friends’ names, which I suppose is a fair call, although this often has less to do with shoutouts and more to do with the fact I’m just bad at coming up with character names.

Not a review, but interesting all the same, a fellow who is about to review Coffee Shop says this: “I’m still trying to work out my reaction to it. All I will say is that pundits are getting younger.” Well, you know. I’m 37. Don’t know if that actually qualifies as young anymore, even for a pundit. In any event, with a delightfully ambiguous lead-in like that, you know I’m looking forward to the actual review.

39 Comments on “The First Last Colony Review; Intriguing Pre-Review Comment”

  1. Just finished reading the ARC, as well. Last night, in fact. Congratulations, John. You took the larger themes that you’d hinted at in the first two books and fleshed them out very nicely, while leaving enough up in the air to come back to this universe if you ever feel like it. I read Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, and The Last Colony back-to-back, and it was a fantastic experience. Thanks for giving us the OMW Universe. It’s been a helluva ride.

  2. Dammit, John! You’re 37, and I’m 38. You’re young. And, so long as you keep saying you’re young, we’ll never get old.

    So, stop making me feel old. Stop it.

  3. Dan:

    I didn’t say I was old. I’m just not, you know, young. There’s an entire generation of adults younger than me, and another one in the process of loading up. Time to deal, my friend.


    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed them.

  4. Hey, John, a question. How much worldbuilding do you do for this series of books? A lot, like right down to the tie color of the various politicians or a pretty loose general idea of how things are? I’m re-reading Alastair Reynolds’ Redemption Ark and I know he fully maps stuff out. Just curious.

  5. Pandemonium is the local (Cambridge, MA) SF bookstore, so that review will be reasonably widely read.

  6. Damn! Someone beat me to the MP reference…

    Of course, there are only twelve months in your lifetime where you can honestly say, “I’m 37! I’m not old!”

    As far as the review goes, there wasn’t much substance to it. Other than chiding you for character names he really didn’t say much…

  7. 37 is not really old, although the military’s tendency to skew towards the young end of the scale means that I frequently deride people in their mid-thirties as being old. A man who joined the Army at 17 can retire with full benefits at 37, which in some ways makes that age roughly analogous to 65 in the civilian world. That’s mostly just a perception, though, rather than an actual assessment of relative abilities.

    (No, I probably didn’t make anyone feel any younger. Sorry.)

  8. Does this mean there’s some acceptable minimum of naming characters after friends (or as an homage), or that it’s just not especially well tolerated in general?

  9. The last four seasons of DS9 were the best of the five Star Trek series, hand-down. How many other shows could successfully pull of a plot arc over four seasons?

  10. John Scalzi:

    I don’t know how to answer that, Chang. I just make stuff up as I go along.

    I’d say that’s a pretty damn good answer. I make isht up as I go along, too. Outlining is for humps. Though, this is Humpday.

  11. Darnit. I’m going to have to get TGB and read it in hopes that TLC hits bookshelves soon. I picked up OMW a few days ago and I was very impressed with it. It made me go back and pull out some of my other Sci-Fi – then put it down in favour of something else, as it didn’t read the way I wanted it to after reading your stuff John.

    I was going to wait for TGB to hit softcover before I bought it, but now I’m jonesing. That’s a good sign. Keep it up John!

  12. Gordon: (No, I probably didn’t make anyone feel any younger. Sorry.) No, no you didn’t, since I’m a good ten years older than your high end mark for “Old” in the military. Of course, I’ve replaced speed and flexibility with cunning and experience… I leave it you to determine which model is more effective.

    I’ll give you guys a new metric for age: Years have nothing to do with age – you know you’re getting old when you go to get a haircut and the barber not only clips the hair in your ears WITHOUT ASKING, but he spends more time doing it than trimming the little fringe around your bald melon. When THAT happens, men, then and only then are you getting old.

  13. Jim Wright,

    First you make me feel old. Then you make it kinda better. Then you finish it off with the hair thing.

    The hell with cunning and experience. I need a nap.

  14. I’m 37 and can’t honestly say I feel young anymore… but 37 isn’t “old” (unless you meet King Arthur ;-)).

    Of course, one can age gracefully… or age like Elvis. Don’t smoke, don’t drink hard, don’t overeat, and you’ll look a lot younger than those your age who “lived hard” and tanned too much…

  15. My eldest child turned 38 this past September. So, since I have a kid who is older than you, you must therefore be young because otherwise that would make me semi-middle-aged when I am merely in the prime of the advanced stage of youth.

  16. I’m 25 and I actually got an AARP card in the mail. Now I don’t know if that was a mistake or fraud going on…I probably should look into it.

  17. While 37 (my age too) ain’t exactly young and ain’t exactly old, when it comes to the world of SF writing (especially nowadays), you’re practically a child prodigy!

  18. Jim Wright-

    Well, you know, we’ve got “old,” and we’ve got “was around when rocks were invented.”

    Nah, I’m kidding. I’d like to think that my lack of cunning and experience is somewhat tempered by my willingness to listen to those who’ve been there and done that. And plus, you know, speed is nice.

    And I’m pretty sure I’ll never be bald, but I’ll be completely gray in a few years, when I can continue my father’s proud tradition of not acting of an age appropriate for one’s hair color.

  19. My Grandmother is 103. SHE is old. When she was born, women weren’t allowed to vote. Cars? pfft. Electricity? Nope. Well, not in the house she was born in. On a good day, she REMEMBERS when the Titanic sank. Women who went to university were an oddity. Perspective people! ;) At her rate, I won’t hit middle age for another 15 or so years. And since I plan to live longer than she will, you had better believe I’m investing in my rrsps. I believe that is a 401k for you Americanos?

  20. Funny. All you all never cease to make me laugh.
    Old..It is all a state of mind. I am 40 going on 12. My daughters friends think I am cool because I play video games, make loud music with cool guitars, and watch Manga (FMA and GITS). The day I actually admit I am not 12 anymore is the day I move to the retirement home.

  21. “I refuse to admit that I am more than fifty-two, even if that does make my sons illegitimate.”-Lady Astor.

    On the other hand, I’m the one that makes people feel old on their birthdays. I asked my cousin how it felt to be starting his third decade of life when he turned twenty, and thirty-six, to me, is more than halfway through your fourth. My mom’s a score of years, or two decades, older than me and if she’d been born in the year of the Declaration of Independence she’d’ve been able to meet Abraham Lincoln at the age of seven years at her current age. She just finished paying off her college loans (and she went to a business college) while I was midway through my first year of college.
    And you’re a year older than she is!
    I never understood why age was so important, anyway. How many revolutions has your (presumed) planet of birth made around its primary since you were expelled from the womb? Why does it matter?
    Now if we were able to keep track of how many years a person had left until their death, that could mean something.

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