Tag Archives: scalzi

“Redshirts” by John Scalzi


Andrew Dahl is a brand-new Ensign in the Universal Union Space Fleet. He joins the crew of the Intrepid and quickly notices strange things going on. Every time there is an away team mission, one or more of his low-ranking peers are violently killed by space slugs or killer robots or evil aliens. But somehow, the main bridge crew officers miraculously escape any lasting harm.

One of the crewmen figure it out – they are puppets in the hands of a 21st century television series — a rip-off of Star Trek. Their only hope? Travel back in time and confront the show’s producer. Sounds crazy … so crazy it just might work.

Pretty fun read, gave me some chuckles. I think any casual Trekkie would really enjoy it.



“The Last Colony” by John Scalzi

Here’s the sequel to “Old Man’s War” and “The Ghost Brigades.”

John Perry, main character of “Old Man’s War,” and Jane Sagan, the Special Forces soldier appearing in both previous books, are now married and have adopted Zoe, the daughter of Charles Boutin from “The Ghost Brigades.”  They are comfortable living on a backwater world of the Colonial Union, but are asked to lead a new colony, Roanoke (uh, who thought that was a good name for a colony???).  Once arriving there, they soon find that everything the Colonial Union has told them is not exactly true…

Hence we embark on a tale of political maneuvering, manipulation, and secrecy between the Colonial Union, the union of alien races called the Conclave, and the Perrys.  There are many plot twists along the way that completely change the way some characters and situations are initially presented.  Kind of like mystery novels or movies that are impossible to figure out until the end because essential facts are concealed from the reader/viewer.  Oh well.

I thought it was Interesting that the formula of humans = good and scary looking aliens = bad is not strictly followed here…if anything, the Colonial Union is the real bad guy in the story.  Anyway, this was a pretty good read that I stayed up too late last night to finish.  (If that happens, then I know it must have been good!)

My only complaint is a lot of the scheming (on all sides) is elaborate, complicated and would really be logistically pretty hard to pull off, but of course everything turns out perfectly.  And there is always someone saying (Szilard…looking at you), “yes, I expected you to do just that” and then “well, I expected that you would expect I would do that!”  etc.  But the whole trilogy is a pretty entertaining and different view of the future of humanity in space that I recommend to readers who enjoy science fiction.  Most definitely start with “Old Man’s War” – the best of the three, and it sets up most of the background detail for the later books.

“The Ghost Brigades” by John Scalzi

This is the sequel to “Old Man’s War” which I read a while ago … before this blog began, I think.  In the future, elderly volunteers from Earth are recruited to join the Colonial Defense Force, which protects the human colonies from a variety of hostile alien species which are also vying for supremacy in our corner of the galaxy.  CDF volunteers are given new genetically engineered bodies, their conciousness’ transferred into the new body.  Interesting premise, no?  The first book was about such a volunteer.  In it he meets his wife – actually not though.  They both signed up for the CDF at the same time, but she died before she reached the age when she would have received her new body.  The CDF doesn’t waste the DNA they extract from recruits who die prior to being transferred; they make the new bodies anyway and wake them up without a conciousness in place.  BrainPals, computers integrated with the brain, help the new soldier learn quickly, but whether or not they have a soul is up for debate.  The “realborn” CDF are somewhat wary of these “Ghost Brigade” soldiers.

Ok, now you have the background.  🙂  In “The Ghost Brigades” a scientist has turned traitor and the CDF wants to know why.  They have a copy of his conciousness on file, so they load it into a new Ghost Brigader to see if he can tell them anything.  Hilarity ensues.  Wait, no it doesn’t…  The new soldier at first remembers nothing and it seems like the transfer didn’t work.  But then eventually events trigger his memories.  He (of course) then becomes instrumental in stopping the traitor’s nefarious plot to destroy the CDF.

Great story and an interesting vision of the future!  Looking forward to the sequel “The Last Colony.”