Book Review: To Stand or Fall by John Scalzi. (Three Stars)

Book Review: To Stand or Fall by John Scalzi.

Three stars out of five.

Disappointing. Oh, it’s good and I liked it, but I expected better. It’s all so predictable. In fact, even the writing has a dashed-off feel. Not the sly wit and plot twists one expects of John Scalzi. No battles, no conflict (really), just lots of talking.

This novella concludes Scalzi’s great work: The End of All Things. He told us in advance that he’d grown tired of the Old Man’s War universe and would write no more in it after this. This volume lowers readers’ expectations enough that he doesn’t need to worry about popular demand. A more effective way to kill a series than Arthur Conan Doyle’s approach.

Still, it’s a good read, if a bit of a yawner.

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The Life of the Mind by John Scalzi (Five Stars)

The Life of the Mind by John Scalzi

Five stars out of Five

Scalzi does it again. I was concerned after his misfire with Locked In. But Life of the Mind is a satisfying, self-contained story despite being the first quarter of a larger novel: The End of All Things, which occurs in Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe. Scalzi can do it, why can’t all you other series grinders? Well, because he’s Scalzi. Aside from that I mean.

Rafe Daquin is the victim of the dirtiest trick. Ever. He could just freak out forever. (He does freak out for a while.) Or he could fight back. This is a Scalzi novel; you know what he does.

Quibble: While Rafe tries to decide whether he’s alive, he considers and discards dead because the existence he finds himself in doesn’t correspond to any afterlife he’s ever heard of. Perhaps it didn’t occur to Scalzi, but Rafe’s circumstances sound very much like some SF/F descriptions of Hell.

Scalzi delivers the goods. Thanks, John.