bookrev: The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

5 stars: That does it, I am officially envious of Scalzi’s talent

†John Scalzi won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Gee, I wonder why?

While not as fantastic as his debut, Old Man’s War, Scalzi still sets the bar high with his followup novel, set in the same universe where mankind has ventured out into a hostile universe populated with hundreds of alien species, and responds with engineering, perserverance, and small feats of bio engineering like the Ghost Brigades.

The Ghost Brigades were introduced briefly in Old Man’s War in the form of Jane Sagan, a nine year old with some of the DNA of the lead character’s dead wife. The soldiers in the Ghost Brigade are grown, given “BrainPal” computers in their head, and then linked to their squad mates.

Jane Sagan plays a back-up role here. The main plot follows Jared Dirac, a Ghost Brigade soldier who is built to put a presumed dead traitor’s consciousness inside his head. It doesn’t take at first, so he becomes a member of the Ghost Brigades. It does take later, but to detail more would mean spoiling the story.

Scalzi continues to expand upon the universe of aliens he has created, and to explain the science the humans are using to combat them in clear, logical terms. (Science and fiction, get it?) The humans seem to be beset on all sides by agressive aliens, but which side is really the aggressor?

John gets into some excellent philosophical discussions about choice and right to choose, which is right in line with the “created for a purpose” ghost brigades.

An excellent story, a quick read, a new fav author. On to the third in the series.
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