Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Born to kill

I am happy to report that John Scalzi (Old Man's War) is not a one hit wonder. I just finished Ghost Brigades and it is great. The book is a sequel in that it continues larger plot elements from the first book, but it does not continue the plotlines of the main characters (aside from a reference in the denouement.) Scalzi is often compared to Heinlein for his positive outlook, his well developed future history and action sequences. Another good comparison would be to CJ Cherryh. Some deride the fact that his universe is super-populated by alien species. Most sci-fi authors these days look at the Fermi paradox and say "if they are out there, why haven't we seen them yet." Scalzi actually speaks to this on Amazon. I like it, even if it is to date, unexplained.

The main question of the book is what is it to be human. The Ghost Brigades of the title are programmed soldiers with heavily modified DNA. Are they human? How about the eve more modified soldiers designed to live in the vacuum of space? Will these post-humans turn on the larger human society? Don't worry kids it's not all speculation and sighing, there is plenty of door kicking action, although not as much as in Old Man's War. I'm glad to see the US producing high quality sci-fi again. It gets tireing waiting for all those British authors to get their books released over here.

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