So, I've now finished all the novels on the Hugo shortlist, and can get started on the short fiction. Some of you will remember my exchanges with Scalzi on the first book in this series, Old Man's War, which I took as an endorsement of kick-ass militarism and a mockery of the concept of conflict resolution. (refs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Scalzi explained to me then that his narrator was unaware of the true facts of the situation, and indeed the political message of The Last Colony is one I have much more sympathy with: humanity is dragged into an unwinnable war with the rest of the galaxy by the lies of its own political leadership, and our hero ends up as the one man who can resolve matters. So no complaints on that score.
However, I find Scalzi's narrative style rather wearyingly unvarying; almost all the characters speak with identical voices. And the plot is both complex and reliant on fortunate accidents of timing. There are touches I liked - Charles Stross makes an appearance as a genetically engineered super-soldier, and I appreciated the subtle "Commodore Perry" riff at the end of the book - but this is going fourth on my ballot.