Monday, February 23, 2009

Review: Old Man's War

As I previously mentioned, my husband and I have been tearing through the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi. So I was amused to read, just the other day, a review of Old Man's War by one of my favorite book bloggers, Jen from Devourer of Books. As she makes clear, Jen's not a sci-fi fan, but she enjoyed the book. In contrast, I am a fan of sci-fi and I loved it. My husband? One of the biggest sci-fi fans I know and he adored OMW, calling it one of the best sci-fi books he's read in the past five years, second only to Ender's Game (which he was remiss in not reading until I shoved it into his hands two years ago). All of this is just to say that while Old Man's War is a good read for someone not familiar with the genre, its even better for a reader who is.

So... why? Probably a million reasons, but here's one. Scalzi has done an amazing job of borrowing stealing tropes, characters, scenes, futuristic concepts, you name it, from a dozen or so of the best sci-fi novels (most obviously Starship Troopers by Heinlein, but Heinlein's Time Enough for Love and Friday are in there, too), gutting them, turning them inside out and handing them back to you, saying, yeah, you didn't know it could turn out like this, huh? Which is not to say that this book slaps you upside the head, but its an action book and it moves fast and its making me talk write in run on sentences. I love it when a book does that.

Oh, you want to know what its about? Okay, here's the back of the book blurb:
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce—and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine—and what he will become is far stranger.
So, yeah. It's good. Go read it. Or at the very least, go read John Scalzi's blog Whatever, because he's funny. But seriously, read the book.

Buy Old Man's War on Amazon.


  1. I really should have mentioned in my review that EVERYONE should be subscribed to/read consistently Scalzi's blog because he's just that good.

  2. I've read Zoe's Tale which is part of the series. Need to go back and read the rest!


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