Monday, January 25, 2010

Old Man's War: By John Scalzi


With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left him: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry's service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens. The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including fast-clotting "smartblood" and a brain-implanted personal computer. All too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry fights for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds.


I’ve never been a big military science fiction fan. That said John Scalzi thoroughly impressed me with Old Man’s War. It was the work of a great genius and because of this book I’m now trying to read all of Scalzi’s work.

Old Man’s War takes place in a future where there is an intergalactic force that recruits not from the poor, and not from the young, but from the wealthy nation of the United States’ elderly. These old Americans are then transported to space where their consciousness is transferred into a new and improved body. This body is the one they will go to war with, and if they survive, then they’ll be allowed to retire in another youthful body.

The story quickly turns to the war and we soon discover there are many different species out there and few of them are friendly. As such the band of characters we’re introduced to soon becomes much smaller, moving the story along at a startling pace.

Scalzi has taken a used old idea, the military in space, and turned it into a piece of art. The descriptions are sensational and the story gripping, but what readers will be most fascinated with is Scalzi’s superb writing style. Readers really feel like they are being drawn into battle, becoming mesmerized with each minute detail of the intergalactic war.

As you may have guessed I’m a big fan of this book and all of Scalzi’s work at this point, and as such would eagerly recommend it to anyone who wants an engaging and thrilling book to read.


Publisher: Tor

Published: December 27, 2005

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