And now, as Rocky (of & Bullwinkle fame) would say, for something completely different. American novelist and blogger John Scalzi has taken a break from his long-running Old Man’s War series to pen a diverting stand-alone near-future sci-fi detective thriller.
My full review ran in the WFP yesterday. The five-syllable or less summary: it’s pretty good. The top spot for Scalzi novels I still assign to Old Man’s War itself, but that’s a pretty difficult one to dislodge, so that’s no sleight. After all, I put it in a category with Heinlein’s original Starship Troopers and Haldeman’s brilliant The Forever War, august but appropriate company, to be sure.
We have the potential, each of us individually and in our species and society as a whole, to do great good as well as great evil. Anyone can be a slave or a master if we allow the liberal values and civilized trappings we’ve painstakingly built up over human history to slip back just a little. It takes effort and slow, steady social improvement to overcome our worst natures. [And there’s] nothing natural or inevitable about one ethnic group being on top and another being on the bottom, as even a cursory study of the history of nations makes clear.
For a taste of Heinlein’s dark side, read on for a little about Farnham’s Freehold.
This is the last juvenile I’ll be covering for the time being, however, I do have two more Heinlein reviews coming up. Today we have my review of The Star Beast. Read the post first if you like and then you can click through to the review.
Continuing my Heinlein series: you can read my post at Green Man Review for a little context on where the novel sits in the grandmaster’s corpus and the particular point he was at in his career, or you can dive straight into the review here.