A bit of a strange one this, I’m not sure I should be reviewing a part of a book, but this is how this one is coming. Scalzi is delivering a serialised novel, a chapter at a time. Regularly released to a number of e-book platforms (69p each in the UK, and there are 13 of them which brings it in about the price of a normal book) I guess the idea is to hook you in and keep you turning on the Kindle for the next episode to land.
I’m a Scalzi fan, really, I follow his blog, think he is great on Twitter, so he can do no wrong for me. He’s even addressed recently on his blog whether his popularist science fiction makes him a ‘sell out’.
If you’ve not read Scalzi’s work before (in this particular Universe, a series which started with the excellent ‘Old Man’s War’) then the best thing to do is imagine Starship Troopers (the first film) and then commit that in book form (yes pedants, I know there is already a book on which the film was based!). Militaristic, gung-ho genetically engineered and amped up humans fight to save the colony worlds from alien doom-mongers.
The thing is Scalzi writes with great humour and all his stuff is page-turningly enjoyable. This chapter – well double length opener – gives us the lead in to what I hope will be another cracking book. A diplomatic mission, which should have been top secret, goes very wrong. Against a turbulent time in the history of humanity and the outlook for our race looking like it might be getting a lot worse a lot more quickly than imagined, our ‘B team’ end up subbing for the missing diplomats, mixing treaty making, with the less endearing prospect of finding out what happened to the ship that should have been there to make the deal…
5 stars, and why not.