I have to thank the Master Chef for sending me what have turned out to be two great reads, both from the same author...The Last Colony and The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi.
A major and unexpected downside of introducing the kittens has been that I have quite unexpectedly been increasingly debilitated in the evenings by an astmatic allergic reaction to them.
The only respite has been to retire to bed and lie on my side till the rasping in my chest subsides. The upside has been that it's been a perfect opportunity to read these books.
It's been a long time since I've read a book that I couldn't put down and the The Last Colony is such a book. It's a well written, intelligent and entertaining space opera.
Our main protagonisti being a war veteran turned colonial administrator presented with an opportunity to start a new colony on a newly charted planet. Only, it's a strange mix of colonists, the equipment in the manifest is antiquated and supplies in the stores don't add up. When they make the jump into hyperspace they come out in uncharted space and are faced with landing on an uncharted world. And that's only the first of many interesting and thoughtful twists in the story.
Bloody excellent, it turned out that Last Colony is the third and last of a series of novels by John Scalzi which explore interstellar politics and warfare through the eyes and experience of the principal characters who tie the stories together.
I'm about half way through The Ghost Brigades and enjoying it just as much. It starts with a bang and a subtle but exciting twist in the storyline. Basically, two alien species have been fighting each other for 30 years but now joined forces to wipe out mankind with the help of a renegade human scientist whose field of expertise is DNA.
The 'ghost brigades' are the Colonial Defence Forces elite. DNA engineered militarised clones given the consciousnesses of the old and dead. Born again as fully grown adults without memories or moral self, they can be given the jobs ordinary human soldiers with life experiences, hopes and aspirations would baulk at.
An interesting premise for Sci Fi wargames' human troop types and opens an intresting debate on what 'human' soldiers would be like in the future!