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The Old Lie

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  232 ratings  ·  63 reviews

Shane Daniels and Romany Zetz have been drawn into a war that is not their own. Lives will be destroyed, families will be torn apart. Trust will be broken.

When the war is over, some will return to a changed world. Will they discover that glory is a lie?

Claire G. Coleman's new novel takes us to a familiar world to ask what we have learned from the past. The Old Lie might no

Kindle Edition, 342 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by Hachette Australia
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 ★s
The Old Lie is the second novel by award-winning Australian author, Claire G. Coleman. A fighter pilot, a soldier, a fugitive, a prisoner, a mortally-infected man: the opening chapters introduce these five ostensibly-unconnected characters and detail their situations. The fighter pilot has been flying for the Federation since Conglomeration forces began attacking Earth. The soldier left a spouse and children to fight for the Federation, for her family, her Country. The fugitive is on the r
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Back when I was a teenager, I was obsessed with a PC game called Wing Commander. A wild, enormously enjoyable but politically conscious space flight sim, it kept me up through many nights when I should have been doing homework. Or sleeping. The Old Lie is basically Wing Commander in print, which isn't to suggest that it's in any way derivative of the game but it gave me all the same feels. Perhaps even more, given its thoroughly Australian context and my more mature understanding of our deeply f ...more
Rebecca Bowyer
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Old Lie, by Claire G. Coleman is one of those brilliant but infuriating novels that you really want to tell other people to read, but is really hard to describe properly without including at least a couple of almost-spoilers.

I can tell you that it’s a wonderfully imaginative, dark novel set in the future (mostly in outer space, but also on Earth in Australia), told from multiple points of view about humans trying to find their way back to Earth and make sense of what’s happened to their home
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gifted
In depth ★★★★

In The Old Lie, Coleman subverts reader expectations to deliver a biting critique of colonial Australia, with a creative twist. Coleman excels at putting the audience in her characters' shoes, while telling a story that's both frightening and compelling. Readers should note triggers for graphic descriptions of war-related violence and dead bodies, racism, and violence towards refugees, including children.

Told from a range of perspectives, The Old Lie follows a core cast of First Nat
Trigger warnings: war, violence, death, systemic racism, death in custody, suicide, removal of children by authorities/Stolen Generations, incarceration, mistreatment of refugees, radiation poisoning, testing of weapons of mass destruction on Indigenous land (a la Maralinga).

Wow. This book, much like Terra Nullius, blew me away. It was a slow burn though - for the first half of the book, I enjoyed the characters and the writing but wasn't sure where the story was going. But as more a
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Following the success of her debut novel, Terra Nullius (including its shortlisting on the Reading Women Award fiction shortlist in 2018), I was so excited when I first heard that Coleman had a second novel coming out. I pre-ordered and began reading on publication day, and am happy to report that it did not disappoint!

Coleman is a writer from Western Australia and identifies with the South Coast Noongar people. While still within the realm of speculative fiction, The Old Lie is a very different
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
So to be clear, this is certainly an SF novel, and has all the usual spaceships, battles and alien races that you expect, but, BUT, this is also a gut-punch of a novel, as the horror of the story, and the truth of the allegory slowly dawn on the reader. This one is going to sit with me for a while I feel, and has made me look more closely at parts of Australian history that I have only slowly been fully appreciative of.
This book holds up a dark mirror to the world (and the reader), I also feel t
Maree Kimberley
If I'm being honest, I found The Old Lie a bit of a struggle and almost abandoned it. I'm glad I didn't because in the end I enjoyed the novel but it was a hard slog for at least the first half. Still, by the end I was absolutely hooked. It was a real race to the finish as the main characters fought to attain their final goal, and the horror of the new reality they faced was revealed.

I'm not a fan of space opera as a general rule, and perhaps that's why I didn't enjoy the first half of the book
G Batts
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really struggled with this one. The prose was clunky, some metaphors seemed mixed and paragraphs lacked progressive flow. As an example of the last point, at the beginning of the paragraph Kelly noticed a drop of water on her phone. Next sentence was that her eyes were pouring tears. By the end of the paragraph her tears were red, presumably with blood. There was no process of escalation between the three descriptions of tears.
The story was also remarkably unimaginative. My guess is that this
Andi C Buchanan
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Old Lie is, at its core, a combination of space opera and military SF, and like most of that genre it has something to say about actual war and history. I received a proof copy as part of a publisher giveaway (thank you!) with no expectation of review - it's odd that as someone who tries to stay on top of SFF releases I don't think I'd otherwise heard of it. I'm more intrigued by what appears to be a decision to market it more as literary/historical fiction than science fiction, and how a no ...more
Starship Troopers meets Australian space opera.
There's a definite message here about the shoe being on the other foot with our treatment of indigenous people.
Aliens invade and to fight them off we must form an allegiance with other aliens, but the alliance is not an equal one and while we're fighting what are we losing at home.
Fabulously done on so many levels.

Wendy Ryan
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very readable, with a vivid immediacy and a serious underlying purpose. If it's not too shallow of me, I would also really like a sequel because I became so attached to the characters and their story but I guess the old lie always goes on.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To be honest, I started this book with an entirely misguided idea of what it was. The opening chapters left me a little confused as you jump from character to character with little context, but all it made me want to do was keep reading, and that's just what I did.

Possible spoilers:
The Old Lie is set in the future, but the heart of the story echoes from Australia's history. It's a story of wars fought for others' causes, children ripped from their families, prejudice, inequality, oppression, so
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book operates on several levels. It's most straightforward is space opera. Coleman is a tense, taut scene writer, and the novel is packed with chase, battle, heist and escape sequences, with clever use of imagined-but-plausible tech.  John Scalzi's Old Man's War came to mind a number of times during the battle sequences, and the Old Lie will appeal to fans of that series.
At another level, the book operates as a series of challenges to the reader's assumptions. Coleman does love exploiting a
Timothy Dymond
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
‘Corporal Shane Daniels was lost, the grey uniformity of the sky and dirt, the rain, the muck, had rendered the flat, bomb-wracked plain featureless … Tangled barbed wire was a constant obstacle, tangling, tearing, hidden, trampled into the soupy mud …’

Claire G. Coleman's ‘The Old Lie’ is a space opera that evokes the trenches of the First World War. The hard slog of battle for ordinary soldiers is front and centre, along with the results of war, such as the proliferation of refugees.

This is all
Liz Murray
Claire Coleman is an expert storyteller with the different threads in this book not fully coming together until the end. Many different people and places are described with each as compelling as the next. Claire Coleman identifies with the South Coast Noongar people in Western Australia and the story is inspired by her own family history. Her grandfather fought in the second world war, at a time when the Australian government didn't recognize Aboriginal people as citizens. The treatment of Abori ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A powerful allegorical story with significant links and meaning to Australians.

The major part of the story is the Intergalactic war between the Federation and the Conglomeration. However the subplots reference to the stolen generation of Aboriginal children; the acceptance of Aboriginal people to fight in the war, then the non-recognition on their return; the plight of refugees trying to find safe havens as they are rejected from one location after another; the nuclear testing at Maralinga is ec
Kate Cuthbert
A familiar specfic storyline opened and unpacked by a population of diversified characters not restricted by familiar specfic character tropes. There are several separate story lines, so the book takes a few chapters to get into (and a few more to keep the characters straight!), but will carry you through to an appropriate (if not entirely emotionally satisfying) end.

Claire Coleman is not subtle, and nor is her use of science fiction tropes groundbreaking. But the underlying argument to her fic
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Old Lie is a brilliant work of military science fiction and pertinent social justice writing. Coleman explores old themes of the costs of war, colonization, and weapons testing in a far flung yet all too recognizable setting, a near future that has seen humanity join an intergalactic Federation and enlist in fighting their war. Imagining a grim future for mankind alongside reflections on layered parallels in our real history, this novel shines beautifully with its cast of dazzling, tenacious ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
'The sadness wafted over him like the smoke of a guttering campfire, there was a smell to the grief, like a wind bringing the aroma of death, like his memory of the time after a bushfire had passed, ash, cooked animals and rot.'

I am not normally a reader of speculative fiction but always make an exception for Claire G. Coleman. Nobody can make such a powerful point about colonisation while using outer space and alien species.
The Earth is part of the Federation who are at war with the Conglomerat
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think I enjoyed this a bit more than Terra Nullius, at least this novel didn't masquerade as something it wasn't (i.e. a history of Australia), and it seemed to be a lot less preachy, although to be honest I would have loved a bit more about Maralinga in the postscript (I know quite a bit about Maralinga and the British nuclear program in Australia, but I think many Australians don't, and a little education in the postscript for those who wanted it would have been good). Having said that, thou ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A good character study of war in space set amongst great social and political commentary with a slight Australian historical influence. Never been massive into specualtive fiction so needs to blow me away to really hain my attention. Love supporting local talent so gave it a read. Will hit the sweet spot for speculative fiction fans.
Martin Barrett
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As with the briliantly original "Terra Nullius" Claire Coleman has delivered an exciting SF thriller set in humanity's uncertain future, while at the same time illuminating a dark period in our history and explaining why those wounds are still raw.
Shannon McLeod
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for a dystopian futuristic blackfella book this is it! Made me cry and cringe in some parts and really enjoyed seeing the story cone together towards the end.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent piece of Indigenous sci-fi.
Moving, troubling and thought-provoking. Strongly recommended.
Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So good! I couldn't stop reading. With a message that has such relevance in contemporary Australia and characters that will not rest until they are heard, this has seriously been a breathtaking read.
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Very unusual read and at times I struggled with it but enjoyed the faster pace at the end when I began to pull the threads together and understand what the author was working to achieve . The Old Lie is the first book by Claire Coleman that I have read and her writing is clear , and concise as she conveys her thoughts about the plight of indigenous Australians. I will certainly be looking for more work by this author .
Larry D'librarian
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
My review in Newtown Review of Books

Claire G Coleman is a trickster; her writing is cunning and she is skilled in illusion; she challenges our perceptions and assumptions; my mindset was thrown several times by plot and character revelations. This is ambitious speculative literature that messes with genre and respects history. We are reading a story set in space, a story that also reflects the politics of World War I and the alliances that caused it. The
Graham Senders
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was worried part way through this that I was getting left behind. I shouldn't have worried. This story knew exactly where it was going. And if that is enigmatic, well, as with Terra Nullius a good deal of the journey is not knowing where we are going. So I'm not going to be specific.
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cleverly subversive. Initially I felt it was a bit slow to set everything up, especially with several different and at first seemingly unrelated plot lines. Some of these plot lines seemed a bit out of place right until the end when everything comes together. But when it did all come together, it was compelling.

I enjoyed the pace of the story, particularly as it started to pick up along the way. I enjoyed the creativity of taking a future sci-fi setting and using that to explore aspects of our
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