Last Colony Love

Two reviews of The Last Colony today worth noting. The first is from SFReviews.Net, and it’s positive, with a couple of quibbles (be warned that one of those quibbles is a minor spoiler). However, I can personally say I love it for its opening paragraph:

Some writers are prolific. A better adjective for John Scalzi might be “possessed.” You’d think he’d have his hands full churning out novels at a machine-gun pace, editing magazines, maintaining two hugely popular blogs, and being SF’s favorite sitcom dad. Yet he soldiers on, evidently genetically engineered for perfect tirelessness. I suspect that instead of sleeping, he has something like an iPod charger that he inserts in a Cronenberg-like body socket, after which he emerges a couple of hours later fresh as a daisy, with another 100,000 words of writing raring to go.

Dear Lord, if only this were true.

Also for your consideration, this encomium from Pyr Books main man Lou Anders, who among other things says about the entire “Old Man” series:

The complexity & moral ambiguity of the novels build with each one, though they all retain his very readable and distinctive narrative voice. I also think that I like each novel better than the one before, though it may be that I simply like returning to the universe of the Colonial Defense Force and am carrying my previous joy forwards and compounding it with new joy. Joy squared. Joy to the third power.

Interestingly, both the T.M. Wagner and Lou Anders note that, as both of them read Whatever on a frequent basis, it’s difficult not to see some Mary Sue-ness in The Last Colony, given that in TLC John and Jane are married, have a smart, sarcastic daughter, and that I’ve acknowledged that Jane is to some extent modeled after my wife. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I’m pretty sure John Perry isn’t my Mary Sue in the series — I think the character of Harry Wilson is a lot more like me personally — but at this late point I can’t really complain too hard about it. I did it to myself by, among other things, naming the main character “John,” even if he’s actually named for Jonathan Cain, keyboardist for Journey. Note to self: No more main characters named John, ever.

16 Comments on “Last Colony Love”

  1. Hang on, does that mean you actually like Journey? Oh my. This coupled with the cid wash jeans and the shirt tucked into said acid wash jeans. It’s all painting an ugly picture, John Scalzi. A very ugly picture. :-)

    Congrats on the awesome reviews!

  2. Journey became marginally better after John Cain joined them. I remember him well from his days with The Babies. Still, I could never bring myself to but any of their albums.

  3. . . . being SF’s favorite sitcom dad. . .”

    Ooh, that’s an idea. You should try to get a tv show about your life. It could be the next “Dave’s World.”


  4. Hmm. The funny thing here is that I’d always assumed that the John Perry in OMW was named after John Perry the philosopher, who wrote a non-fiction book, “Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality”, sometimes used as an intro philosophy textbook, which touches on a lot of things (thought experiments about the personal identity consequences of brain-switching operations and whatnot) that seem to directly parallel various plot points in the book. I actually thought it was a fairly clever homage, and felt embarassed not to have picked it up until about three quarters of the way through the novel, when we got to (what I took to be) the wink-wink-nudge-nudge revelation that Special Forces members are all named after philosophers. Shame the parallel’s unintentional, actually. It would have been cool….

  5. Also, isn’t Perry from Ohio? And isn’t he TOTALLY MOTHERFUCKING AWESOME, personally blessed by the very hands of God and Fate?

    One can see where he’d be viewed as a proxy for the author.

  6. I usually can get most cultural references even though I’m not a native English speaker, but I confess I’ve no idea of what you are referring to when you talk about “Mary-Sueness” or Mary-Sue… could you explain, please?

  7. My wife had one of those sockets put in after the brain wreck. Unfortunately Microsoft is making us upgrade it to be compatible with Visa. Now she’ll probably need to be rebooted if I leave her on too long, and I’m not the man I used to be.

  8. encomium

    sent me running to (well, using the little search engine widget at the top corner of Firefox). I love that. Thanks for teaching me a new word today!

  9. Nick:

    Unfortunately Microsoft is making us upgrade it to be compatible with Visa. Now she’ll probably need to be rebooted if I leave her on too long, and I’m not the man I used to be.

    Did you mean VISA or Vista? I bet she’d prefer VISA.

  10. Cassie,

    Yes, Vista. Bonnie’s Visa upgrades seem to be working just fine. Nothing like a crucial typo to undermine a joke barely standing on it’s own to begin with. It’s been that kind of a day.

  11. The sense of community that Whatever creates – as well as the conceit that the Whatever readers “know” you and your family (which we don’t) – sort of leads to the feeling as we settle down with your books that we are reading a long letter from a family member. There is a connection with the author that makes us want the book to be good and predisposes us to believe it will be.

    Rainy Pacific NW day, well worn (already) copy of TGB, Norah Jones on the sound system, comfortable window seat – its like visiting beloved family. And one of the many reasons that electronic publishing will never eliminate paper (rant on subject saved for when it is not off-topic)

    Old Jarhead

  12. Do you know, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard a writer admit to Mary Sue tendencies in his works. Amazing. It’s like watching Clinton imitate Mitterand. I think it’s just that you’ve grown too fond of that world, because TAD escapes the trap entirely. It has something to do with the OMW universe and how much you like it. Which is understandable. But not acceptable.

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