The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am, somewhat later in life, developing a fondness for sci fi, having bumbled my way into both James S.A. Corey and John Scalzi within the same year.
Bookshelves: futuristic, action-with-a-body-count, outer-space, space-opera, sci-fi, waxing-philosophical
This book doesn’t pick up where Old Man’s War left off so much as it expands upon it. Old Man’s War was about John Perry, who leaves Earth to join the Colonial Defense Force at age 75, his consciousness moved into a shiny new, souped-up clone of his own aging body. The Ghost Brigades moves outward, focusing on the CDF’s Special Forces, the crack elite units created from the genetic material of those who died before being able to join the CDF and who therefore have no memory of their former lives. Our hero, Jared Dirac, is even more of a special case, created from both the DNA and the experimentally recorded consciousness of the traitor scientist Charles Boutin, in the hopes of hunting Boutin down and stopping a war against humanity by an alliance of three other races.
The writing is descriptive yet spare, the kind of writing you can gobble down like salted peanuts, giving you lots of wry humor and wisecracking, military space action, alien races, and an interplanetary plot with just the right amount of convolutions; delving into such issues as the meaning of being human, and what defines consciousness, and the power and consequence of choice, all without getting in its own way. That is no small feat.
Not for the first time, Cainen reflected that evolution didn’t do this particular species any great favors, physically speaking.
It just made them aggressive, dangerous and damned hard to scrape off a planet surface. A problem, that.
The creature in front of Cainen jabbered at him again and pulled out a short, nasty-looking object. Cainen looked directly into the creature’s optical inputs.
“Fucking humans,” he said.
Yup. Good stuff.
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