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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Bifocals, denture fixative cream, and an AARP membership card are definitely not required to read John Scalzi's brilliant debut novel, Old Man's War -- a story about a group of septuagenarians (a.k.a. the Old Farts) who, with the promise of a new life, join the Colonial Union army and leave Earth forever to do battle against the many enemies of humankind.
When John Perry turns 75, he does two things: He visits his wife's grave and he joins the Colonial Defense Force. The CDF's enlistment contract is incredibly tempting. When a person reaches retirement age, all they have to do is give up all their worldly possessions and promise never to return to Earth. In return, elderly recruits get to take advantage of the Colonial Union's secretive therapy, which somehow reverses aging. In essence, the soldiers exchange a few years of military service for a new life on one of the Union's many colony planets. Without the faintest clue of what he's really getting himself into, Perry realizes quickly that he has just signed up for "an all-expenses-paid tour of hell." With a brand new, tank-grown, super-modified body -- green skin, cat's eyes, built-in cranial computers, etc. -- Perry and his ultra-human cohorts travel from planet to planet leaving dead aliens in their wake. All's well until Perry sees a very real and very familiar ghost…
The overly obvious comparisons to Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers aside, Scalzi's first novel is reminiscent of another genre master: Ben Bova. Effectively blending hard science concepts with powerfully moving interpersonal intrigue, Old Man's War is both a compelling pedal-to-the-metal science fiction thriller and an endearing love story. Paul Goat Allen