The Ghost Brigades - John Scalzi

This is the sequel to Old Man's War, and for the most part fits into the generic brain-free space opera mould used for its predecessor (although not quite as bad as Asher). While there's little overlap in characters with the previous book, it does make use of the fact that it has a world set up already, and generally works pretty well in that framework. However, it does take the hand-wavy 'here comes the science bit' mind-transference technology of the first book, and attempts to expand upon it. I think this is a mistake, since although it was intriguing, it would have been best left blurry and in the background. Making it a central plot element without a believable scientific framework just makes the whole book... woolly.

Having said that, the book works pretty well in spite of this, perhaps because of its brain-free space opera nature. It's obviously the middle book of a trilogy, though. There are dark political clouds on the horizon, and the ending is one of those 'some good, some bad' ones. It may well be paint-by-numbers sci-fi trilogy book two, but at least it's well-executed.

Posted 2008-07-31.