Old Man's War Hardcover – Dec 9 2004
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Though a lot of SF writers are more or less efficiently continuing the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein, Scalzi's astonishingly proficient first novel reads like an original work by the late grand master. Seventy-five-year-old John Perry joins the Colonial Defense Force because he has nothing to keep him on Earth. Suddenly installed in a better-than-new young body, he begins developing loyalty toward his comrades in arms as they battle aliens for habitable planets in a crowded galaxy. As bloody combat experiences pile up, Perry begins wondering whether the slaughter is justified; in short, is being a warrior really a good thing, let alone being human? The definition of "human" keeps expanding as Perry is pushed through a series of mind-stretching revelations. The story obviously resembles such novels as Starship Trooper and Time Enough for Love, but Scalzi is not just recycling classic Heinlein. He's working out new twists, variations that startle even as they satisfy. The novel's tone is right on target, too—sentimentality balanced by hardheaded calculation, know-it-all smugness moderated by innocent wonder. This virtuoso debut pays tribute to SF's past while showing that well-worn tropes still can have real zip when they're approached with ingenuity.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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. Scalzi's blending of wry humor and futuristic warfare recalls Joe Haldeman's classic, The Forever War (1974), and strikes the right fan--pleasing chords to probably garner major sf award nominations. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Inside This Book(Learn More)
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Reading this felt similar to reading The Forever War. Both are war based without all the annoying "Hut-2-3-4" and "Hooyahs" and all the other "real-life" military stuff that I find bores me to tears. This was full of science, aliens, genetic manipulation and everything science fiction is supposed to be with a dash of humour. That's right...this book has it all!!
Meet John Perry...he's a 75 year old widower from Ohio. Ten years earlier he signed up for the Colonial Defence Force and they only take recruits who are 75. The CDF operates in space protecting Earth from....who knows, as no one on Earth has been told anything. Citizens of Earth aren't allowed to go into space, except 75 year olds who join the CDF but once you join, you're never allowed to go back to Earth.
As it turns out, a lot is happening in space. Aliens are all fighting each other over the prime planets and no one wants to give up what they have. Essentially this is a real estate war.
I enjoyed all of the characters. You don't get to know many very well, aside from John Perry, but after 75 years of life they are interesting, funny, a bit sarcastic, and basically they were people you were sad to see killed off in this war. As I mentioned before I really shouldn't have read this because now I have to run out and get the next books in this series and there are a few of them.
Brisk description of technologies.
Not for the 1st time mind transfer makes an appealing appearance.
Fun battle drops and overall good feel to the story, despite some horrors of death and destruction.
The recruits aren't sure how this happens, but they sign up largely because the alternative (getting even older and dying) is less appealing. Well, the book does describe a way of making them younger that's quasi-realistic. In fact, it can make them even healthier than ever. Unfortunately, it also means participating in military service with only a 10-25% chance of survival. If they live, they get to "retire" in young bodies as colonists on some distant planet.
The strength of the book lies in the details of how John Perry interacts with the people around him. At 75 years of age he's a widower with only one child whom he leaves behind on Earth. He meets fellow seniors and quickly forms a bond with them. There is a fair bit of Starship Troopers-type discussion of what military service means and entails. There's also a reasonable exploration of what it means to be human. Finally, there's also quite a bit of action which keeps the book moving along at a good pace.
The weaknesses of the book is that the rapid body count keeps you from getting too attached to anyone other than John.Read more ›
Some Heinlein weaknesses are there, too. I say this with affection, because they are sentimental reminders of Heinlein's voice. The gadgetry and action are stronger than the characters, who sometimes seem shallow in emotionally complex situations. In the first chapter, there is a well-written melancholy to the protagonist's description of his late wife. This depth does not transfer well to his later reactions to her memory. And this isn't credibly due to a change in the character. It's worth exploring for yourself, though. If you have lost a spouse, I suggest comparing Scalzi's grasp of your experience with Stephen King's in Bag of Bones or Lisey's Story.
Never mind the impefections. :) It's a good story you can enjoy while remembering Heinlein. Buy it, read it, and keep it around to read again right after Thanksgiving dinner.
Most recent customer reviews
Don't bother. Characters might have been great in a book with a plot.Published 11 days ago by J. Cote
John Scalzi is a good sci-fi writer, with an interesting concept that is developed in a readable manner. I look forward to his next volume.Published 6 months ago by Richard Walthall
Sort of like Starship Troopers meets The Forever War with more killing. All in all a good read and I'll be picking up other titles by this author.Published 7 months ago by Jeff Brownridge
It took me a little while to get used to the quick smarmy dialogue but once I found the pattern I liked it. Good scifi with a challenging subtextPublished 8 months ago by C. mcalister
I've been told by many people -relatives, authors, friends- that this is one of the science fiction books I must read. They were assuredly correct.Published 10 months ago by Brian Bancroft