5.0 out of 5 stars You get to 75 years old and join the military to fight aliens. One man's funny journey.
John Scalzi has a wicked sense of humour. Although this is a space opera, and all about fighting aliens, it also is whimsical and funny at times.
Humanity is out and about in the universe and establishing colonies anywhere it can. However, there are other races that have the same idea and just like in real estate it's all about location, location, location...
Published 9 months ago by fastreader
3.0 out of 5 stars Like Heinlein--Good and Bad
Reviews which compare Old Man's War with Robert Heinlein's classic science fiction--not the kinkier, later stuff--are on the mark. Like Heinlein's Starship Troopers, this book takes us on a coming of age journey as the protagonist joins the military and leaves the familiar atmosphere of Earth. In this case the age-coming is in reverse, as a senior citizen is restored to...
Published 9 months ago by John M. Ford
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling,
This review is from: Old Man's War (Mass Market Paperback)This is a mix between Starship Troopers and Altered Carbon. Excellent stuff. Page turner. A very fun and very well written book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story about future war,
This review is from: Old Man's War (Mass Market Paperback)The Old Man's War is really the old person war as both men and women from the distant future are invited to leave Earth and join the Colonial Army. Earth is a relatively technological backwater, largely thanks to the Colonial Government not sharing its alien-related technology. As humanity discovered faster-than-light travel they also discovered a host of alien species. Some were friendly, most were not as habitable planets became resources to compete over. One advantage of that has been the gain of technology, and it is this technology that the Colonial Army offers to old Earth humans. Join up and become young again.
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. Also, I was very disappointed in how one of the most important ideas in the book was handled. It was the question of "Why are we investing so much in war versus diplomacy?" The author handles it very clumsily and then essentially avoids that question. Which is a pretty important one, especially considering what is revealed about the most powerful alien species encountered.
So overall, I consider this a fun but of sci-fi reading. There is some depth to it in terms of themes and ideas to think about, but it's not nearly as cerebral or thought-provoking as many other sci-fi stories. With that in mind, I think I can safely say this is a book I liked to read, but not loved to read. That means that four stars seems like a good rating for this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual concept,
This review is from: Old Man's War (Mass Market Paperback)Most unusual story .... I thought it a bit slow at the beginning but later realized it was necessary. Good read.....
5.0 out of 5 stars You get to 75 years old and join the military to fight aliens. One man's funny journey.,
This review is from: Old Man's War (Mass Market Paperback)John Scalzi has a wicked sense of humour. Although this is a space opera, and all about fighting aliens, it also is whimsical and funny at times.
Humanity is out and about in the universe and establishing colonies anywhere it can. However, there are other races that have the same idea and just like in real estate it's all about location, location, location. Every race is after the same great planets, and they are willing to do whatever it takes.
In a turn around to the traditional sending the young men off to fight, Scalzi envisions a system where when you reach 75 you join up and go off planet to fight. You are regenerated as a younger physically enhanced version of your self but still have your memories of the first 75 years of your life.
Technology off Earth is superior in all respects to what you can get on Earth, however that's just a rumour as after you sign up for military duty you can never return to Earth.
Great action scenes, great humour, great character development and overall a GREAT read.
Highly recommended as is Scalzi's latest Redshirts, another irreverent space opera novel.
3.0 out of 5 stars Like Heinlein--Good and Bad,
This review is from: Old Man's War (Mass Market Paperback)Reviews which compare Old Man's War with Robert Heinlein's classic science fiction--not the kinkier, later stuff--are on the mark. Like Heinlein's Starship Troopers, this book takes us on a coming of age journey as the protagonist joins the military and leaves the familiar atmosphere of Earth. In this case the age-coming is in reverse, as a senior citizen is restored to youthful combat-readiness. The "BrainPal" computer implant and physiological enhancements are recognizable Heinlein influences, but different enough to be engaging. The reader will enjoy discovering other similarities without becoming distracted by them.
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book,
This review is from: Old Man's War: Old Man's War Series, Book 1 (Kindle Edition)Loved this book, very easy to get into and a very tight, well written story. Recommend to anyone who loves a light sci-fi military adventure
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Fun!,
This review is from: Old Man's War (Mass Market Paperback)This one is a great ride! Clever concept, well thought out details and great fast paced action. You can't help but cheer for the heroes and enjoy the journey. Can't wait to read the next book in this series. You can't go wrong with this one, if you love a great Sci-Fi adventure then this one is a can't miss read!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Classic Science Fiction Adventure,
This review is from: Old Man's War (Mass Market Paperback)I really enjoyed some of the original ideas in this story, found the characters and writting compelling and have already bought the sequals. I plan to read more from this author. This is what classic science fiction adventures are about.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read,
This review is from: Old Man's War (Paperback)Good pace, simple, but believable portrayal of characters.
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.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Breathtakingly Fresh Take on Military Space Opera Science Fiction,
This review is from: Old Man's War (Mass Market Paperback)John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" is indeed a "Starship Troopers" for our time, but one replete with echoes from the 1960s New Wave and 1980s cyberpunk literary movements in Anglo-American science fiction. While it isn't great science fiction literature comparable with the best from Ursula Le Guin, Samuel Delany, J. G. Ballard, William Gibson, Michael Swanwick, Iain M. Banks, and China Mieville, among others, it is nonetheless a surprisingly original example of the genre pioneered by Murray Leinster, E. E."Doc" Smith, and Robert Heinlein. Though Scalzi's vivid prose doesn't match Heinlein's - I would say that it surpasses it - there is indeed a very strong emotional and artistic resonance to such classic works by Heinlein as "Starship Troopers" and "Methuselah's Children". Scalzi's debut novel is an exhilarating, captivating tale about a plausible future for humanity, set in a universe far more fascinating and dangerous than Heinlein's grim alien "bug" war depicted in "Starship Troopers". It is also a compelling exploration on the nature of humanity as seen through the eyes of Scalzi's protagonist John Perry who will question his decision to enlist in humanity's Colonial Defense Forces, serving in one bloody conflict after another against relentless alien foes challenging humanity's right to colonize the relatively few habitable worlds orbiting nearby stars. Without question, Scalzi demonstrates that he is among the better literary stylists and a most distinctive new voice working within the old-fashioned, yet still honorable, traditions of military space opera science fiction.
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Old Man's War by John Scalzi (Mass Market Paperback - Jan. 15 2007)
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