Old Man's War

Old Man's War

by John Scalzi

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429914710
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 04/01/2007
Series: Old Man's War , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 11,866
File size: 333 KB

About the Author

John Scalzi is a prolific journalist, columnist, and non-fiction writer whose books include The Rough Guide to the Universe and The Book of the Dumb. His web journal Whatever is one of the longest-established and most widely-read weblogs on the net. Old Man's War is his first novel in print.

John Scalzi won the 2006 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel for Redshirts, and his debut novel Old Man’s War was a finalist for Hugo Award as well. His other books include The Ghost Brigades, The Android’s Dream, The Last Colony and The Human Division. He has won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for science-fiction, the Seiun, The Kurd Lasswitz and the Geffen awards. His weblog, The Whatever, is one of the most widely-read web sites in modern SF. Born and raised in California, Scalzi studied at the University of Chicago. He lives in southern Ohio with his wife and daughter.

Read an Excerpt


I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army.

Visiting Kathy's grave was the less dramatic of the two.

She's buried in Harris Creek Cemetery, not more than a mile down the road from where I live and where we raised our family. Getting her into the cemetery was more difficult than perhaps it should have been; neither of us expected needing the burial, so neither of us made the arrangements. It's somewhat mortifying, to use a rather apt word, to have to argue with a cemetery manager about your wife not having made a reservation to be buried. Eventually my son, Charlie, who happens to be mayor, cracked a few heads and got the plot. Being the father of the mayor has its advantages.

So, the grave. Simple and unremarkable, with one of those small markers instead of a big headstone. As a contrast, Kathy lies next to Sandra Cain, whose rather oversized headstone is polished black granite, with Sandy's high school photo and some maudlin quote from Keats about the death of youth and beauty sandblasted into the front. That's Sandy all over. It would have amused Kathy to know Sandra was parked next to her with her big dramatic headstone; all their lives Sandy nurtured an entertainingly passive-aggressive competition with her. Kathy would come to the local bake sale with a pie, Sandy would bring three and simmer, not so subtly, if Kathy's pie sold first. Kathy would attempt to solve the problem by preemptively buying one of Sandy's pies. It's hard to say whether this actually made things better or worse, from Sandy's point of view.

I suppose Sandy's headstone could be considered the last word in the matter, a final show-up that could not be rebutted, because, after all, Kathy was already dead. On the other hand, I don't actually recall anyone visiting Sandy. Three months after Sandy passed, Steve Cain sold the house and moved to Arizona with a smile as wide as Interstate 10 plastered on his skull. He sent me a postcard some time later; he was shacking up with a woman down there who had been a porn star fifty years earlier. I felt unclean for a week after getting that bit of information. Sandy's kids and grandkids live one town over, but they might as well be in Arizona for as often as they visit. Sandy's Keats quote probably hadn't been read by anyone since the funeral but me, in passing, as I move the few feet over to my wife.

Kathy's marker has her name (Katherine Rebecca Perry), her dates, and the words:BELOVED WIFE AND MOTHER. I read those words over and over every time I visit. I can't help it; they are four words that so inadequately and so perfectly sum up a life. The phrase tells you nothing about her, about how she met each day or how she worked, about what her interests were or where she liked to travel. You'd never know what her favorite color was, or how she liked to wear her hair, or how she voted, or what her sense of humor was. You'd know nothing about her except that she was loved. And she was. She'd think that was enough.

I hate visiting here. I hate that my wife of forty-two years is dead, that one minute one Saturday morning she was in the kitchen, mixing a bowl of waffle batter and talking to me about the dustup at the library board meeting the night before, and the next minute she was on the floor, twitching as the stroke tore through her brain. I hate that her last words were "Where the hell did I put the vanilla."

I hate that I've become one of those old men who visits a cemetery to be with his dead wife. When I was (much) younger I used to ask Kathy what the point would be. A pile of rotting meat and bones that used to be a person isn't a person anymore; it's just a pile of rotting meat and bones. The person is gone — off to heaven or hell or wherever or nowhere. You might as well visit a side of beef. When you get older you realize this is still the case. You just don't care. It's what you have.

For as much as I hate the cemetery, I've been grateful it's here, too. I miss my wife. It's easier to miss her at a cemetery, where she's never been anything but dead, than to miss her in all the places where she was alive.

I didn't stay long; I never do. Just long enough to feel the stab that's still fresh enough after most of eight years, the one that also serves to remind me that I've got other things to do than to stand around in a cemetery like an old, damned fool. Once I felt it, I turned around and left and didn't bother looking around. This was the last time I would ever visit the cemetery or my wife's grave, but I didn't want to expend too much effort in trying to remember it. As I said, this is the place where she's never been anything but dead. There's not much value in remembering that.

Although come to think of it, signing up for the army wasn't all that dramatic either.

My town was too small for its own recruiting office. I had to drive into Greenville, the county seat, to sign up. The recruiting office was a small storefront in a nondescript strip mall; there was a state liquor authority store on one side of it and a tattoo parlor on the other. Depending on what order you went into each, you could wake up the next morning in some serious trouble.

The inside of the office was even less appealing, if that's possible. It consisted of a desk with a computer and a printer, a human behind that desk, two chairs in front of the desk and six chairs lining a wall. A small table in front of those chairs held recruiting information and some back issues of Time and Newsweek. Kathy and I had been in here a decade earlier, of course; I suspect nothing had been moved, much less changed, and that included the magazines. The human appeared to be new. At least I don't remember the previous recruiter having that much hair. Or breasts.

The recruiter was busy typing something on the computer and didn't bother to look up as I came in. "Be right with you," she muttered, by way of a more or less Pavlovian response to the door opening.

"Take your time," I said. "I know the place is packed." This attempt at marginally sarcastic humor went ignored and unappreciated, which has been par for the course for the last few years; good to see I had not lost my form. I sat down in front of the desk and waited for the recruiter to finish whatever she was doing.

"You coming or going?" she asked, still without actually looking up at me.

"Pardon me?" I said.

"Coming or going," she repeated. "Coming in to do your Intent to Join sign-up, or going out to start your term?"

"Ah. Going out, please."

This finally got her to look at me, squinting out through a rather severe pair of glasses. "You're John Perry," she said.

"That's me. How did you guess?"

She looked back to her computer. "Most people who want to enlist come in on their birthday, even though they have thirty days afterward to formally enlist. We only have three birthdays today. Mary Valory already called to say she won't be going. And you don't look like you'd be Cynthia Smith."

"I'm gratified to hear that," I said.

"And since you're not coming in for an initial sign-up," she continued, ignoring yet another stab at humor, "it stands to reason you're John Perry."

"I could just be a lonely old man wandering around looking for conversation," I said.

"We don't get many of those around here," she said. "They tend to be scared off by the kids next door with the demon tattoos." She finally pushed her keyboard away and gave me her full attention. "Now, then. Let's see some ID, please."

"But you already know who I am," I reminded her.

"Let's be sure," she said. There was not even the barest hint of a smile when she said this. Dealing with garrulous old farts every day had apparently taken its toll.

I handed over my driver's license, birth certificate and national identity card. She took them, reached into her desk for a handpad, plugged it into the computer and slid it over to me. I placed my hand on it palm down and waited for the scan to finish. She took the pad and slid my ID card down the side to match the print information. "You're John Perry," she said, finally.

"And now we're back where we started," I said.

She ignored me again. "Ten years ago during your Intent to Join orientation session, you were provided information concerning the Colonial Defense Forces, and the obligations and duties you would assume by joining the CDF," she said, in the tone of voice which indicated that she said this at least once a day, every day, most of her working life. "Additionally, in the interim period, you have been sent refresher materials to remind you of the obligations and duties you would be assuming.

"At this point, do you need additional information or a refresher presentation, or do you declare that you fully understand the obligations and duties you are about to assume? Be aware there is no penalty either for asking for refresher materials or opting not to join the CDF at this time."

I recalled the orientation session. The first part consisted of a bunch of senior citizens sitting on folding chairs at the Greenville Community Center, eating donuts and drinking coffee and listening to a CDF apparatchik drone on about the history of human colonies. Then he handed out pamphlets on CDF service life, which appeared to be much like military life anywhere. During the question and answer session we found out he wasn't actually in the CDF; he'd just been hired to provide presentations in the Miami valley area.

The second part of the orientation session was a brief medical exam — a doctor came in and took blood, swabbed the inside of my cheek to dislodge some cells, and gave me a brain scan. Apparently I passed. Since then, the pamphlet I was provided at the orientation session was sent to me once a year through the mail. I started throwing it out after the second year. I hadn't read it since.

"I understand," I said.

She nodded, reached into her desk, pulled out a piece of paper and a pen, and handed both to me. The paper held several paragraphs, each with a space for a signature underneath. I recognized the paper; I had signed another, very similar paper ten years earlier to indicate that I understood what I would be getting into a decade in the future.

"I'm going to read to you each of the following paragraphs," she said. "At the end of each paragraph, if you understand and accept what has been read to you, please sign and date on the line immediately following the paragraph. If you have questions, please ask them at the end of each paragraph reading. If you do not subsequently understand or do not accept what has been read and explained to you, do not sign. Do you understand?"

"I understand," I said.

"Very good," she said. "Paragraph one: I the undersigned acknowledge and understand that I am freely and of my own will and without coercion volunteering to join the Colonial Defense Forces for a term of service of not less than two years in length. I additionally understand that the term of service may be extended unilaterally by the Colonial Defense Forces for up to eight additional years in times of war and duress."

This "ten years total" extension clause was not news to me — I did read the information I was sent, once or twice — although I wondered how many people glossed over it, and of those who didn't, how many people actually thought they'd be stuck in the service ten years. My feeling on it was that the CDF wouldn't ask for ten years if it didn't feel it was going to need them. Because of the Quarantine Laws, we don't hear much about colonial wars. But what we do hear is enough to know it's not peacetime out there in the universe.

I signed.

"Paragraph two: I understand that by volunteering to join the Colonial Defense Forces, I agree to bear arms and to use them against the enemies of the Colonial Union, which may include other human forces. I may not during the term of my service refuse to bear and use arms as ordered or cite religious or moral objections to such actions in order to avoid combat service."

How many people volunteer for an army and then claim conscientious objector status? I signed.

"Paragraph three: I understand and agree that I will faithfully and with all deliberate speed execute orders and directives provided to me by superior officers, as provided for in the Uniform Code of Colonial Defense Forces Conduct."

I signed.

"Paragraph four: I understand that by volunteering for the Colonial Defense Forces, I consent to whatsoever medical, surgical or therapeutic regimens or procedures are deemed necessary by the Colonial Defense Forces to enhance combat readiness."

Here it was: Why I and countless other seventy-five-year-olds signed up every year.

I once told my grandfather that by the time I was his age they'd have figured out a way to dramatically extend the human life span. He laughed at me and told me that's what he had assumed, too, and yet there he was, an old man anyway. And here I am as well. The problem with aging is not that it's one damn thing after another — it's every damn thing, all at once, all the time.

You can't stop aging. Gene therapies and replacement organs and plastic surgery give it a good fight. But it catches up with you anyway. Get a new lung, and your heart blows a valve. Get a new heart, and your liver swells up to the size of an inflatable kiddie pool. Change out your liver, a stroke gives you a whack. That's aging's trump card; they still can't replace brains.

Life expectancy climbed up near the ninety-year mark a while back, and that's where it's been ever since. We eked out almost another score from the "three score and ten" and then God seems to have put his foot down. People can live longer, and do live longer — but they still live those years as an old person. Nothing much has ever changed about that.

Look, you: When you're twenty-five, thirty-five, forty-five or even fifty-five, you can still feel good about your chances to take on the world. When you're sixty-five and your body is looking down the road at imminent physical ruin, these mysterious "medical, surgical and therapeutic regimens and procedures" begin to sound interesting. Then you're seventy-five, friends are dead, and you've replaced at least one major organ; you have to pee four times a night, and you can't go up a flight of stairs without being a little winded — and you're told you're in pretty good shape for your age.

Trading that in for a decade of fresh life in a combat zone begins to look like a hell of a bargain. Especially because if you don't, in a decade you'll be eighty-five, and then the only difference between you and a raisin will be that while you're both wrinkled and without a prostate, the raisin never had a prostate to begin with.

So how does the CDF manage to reverse the flow of aging? No one down here knows. Earthside scientists can't explain how they do it, and can't replicate their successes, though it's not for the lack of trying. The CDF doesn't operate on-planet, so you can't ask a CDF veteran. However, the CDF only recruits on-planet, so the colonists don't know, either, even if you could ask them, which you can't. Whatever therapies the CDF performs are done off-world, in the CDF's own authority zones, away from the purview of global and national governments. So no help from Uncle Sam or anyone else.

Every once in a while, a legislature or president or dictator decides to ban CDF recruiting until it reveals its secrets. The CDF never argues; it packs up and goes. Then all the seventy-five-year-olds in that country take long international vacations from which they never return. The CDF offers no explanations, no rationales, no clues. If you want to find out how they make people young again, you have to sign up.

I signed.

"Paragraph five: I understand that by volunteering for the Colonial Defense Forces, I am terminating my citizenship in my national political entity, in this case the United States of America, and also the Residential Franchise that allows me to reside on the planet Earth. I understand that my citizenship will henceforth be transferred generally to the Colonial Union and specifically to the Colonial Defense Forces. I further recognize and understand that by terminating my local citizenship and planetary Residential Franchise, I am barred from subsequent return to Earth and, upon completion of my term of service within the Colonial Defense Forces, will be relocated to whatsoever colony I am allotted by the Colonial Union and/or the Colonial Defense Forces."


Excerpted from "Old Man's War"
by .
Copyright © 2005 John Scalzi.
Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

TOC not available

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Old Man's War 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 405 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Old mans war has to be the best book that i have ever read. I stumbled apon it in the airport on one of my journeys across the country the last summer. The book was marveing and i found it to be so interesting that i couldn't put it down. The story of John Perry giving up his 'old' body for a new military green one to fight for the CDF. As the book moves on you will became attached to the characters as they went on missions against alien species bent on destruction of mankind and the aquisition of planets that bare natural resources. I won't tell about the book because it would give away the book, but i will tell you that if your a sci-fi/action&adventure lover that this book is definently for you! Be warned that this book and the sequels to this book(The Ghost Bridgades, The last Colony) are extreme in detail to violence/gore and love/sex. But all in all one of my favorites along with the sequels. !!!Enjoy Them!!!
harstan More than 1 year ago
When he turned seventy-five, earthling John Perry visits the grave site of his wife of forty-two years Kathy interred in an Arizona cemetery. He reflects how much he misses her, how he hates coming here, and that her last words dealt with finding vanilla as she was making pancakes when she stroked to death. With nothing to keep him here, John abruptly decides to join the Colonial Defense Force struggling to defend or annex other worlds in deadly competition with alien races for control of the few hospitable planets....................... As a recruit, John receives standard gear to include a much younger healthier body that is beyond the ability of most non government citizens to buy except the affluent. Like his brothers and sisters in arms, he bonds with them as they are his family and his hope to survive one skirmish after another in many cases against superior aliens. As his comrades die and collateral damage devastate civilian population, John begins questioning the worth war that enables a few to economically gain a lot at the cost of others even as he begins to ponder whether he is still human.................... Paying homage to Heinlein (Starship Trooper the book not the movie), John Scalzi provides a tense anti-war military science fiction thriller that will leave fans pondering what is war good for. Readers will also wonder about who benefits from scientific advances and military operations and what actually a human is as science changes Homo sapiens. The story line is action-packed once John enlists as the audience get inside his head while he goes from ¿youthful¿ awe to experienced cynic. OLD MAN¿S WAR is a terrific tale of a belligerent future in space.......................... Harriet Klausner
LaKitteh More than 1 year ago
When I saw this book compared to 'Starship Troopers', I was skeptical. As a lifelong sci-fi reader I can honestly say that not many books can be compared to Robert A. Heinlein books... but this book, this ENTIRE series of books, is the exception! Once I picked it up I was unable to put it back down. Imagine a future where the OLD are encouraged to go into the army while the young stay behind... the lure? To be young again. Follow along as John Perry leaves behind Earth and old age, to be a soldier for the Colonial Defense Forces.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Way back when I read the classic 'Starship Troopers' as a sci-fi fan and always rated it one of the best. Old Man's War takes it's place as my favorite in this style. All of it is very believable which makes for great sci-fi. Especially the problems of traveling great distance in the universe. And how old men and women can live another life starting at age 25 with the wisdom of age 75.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a refreshing change for me after reading a couple of so-so (non-scifi) books from my favored authors. I rember reading scifi back in the 5th grade and had forgot how good credible scifi can be. I have to believe this one is among the better modern scifi novels availbale today - if you've been away for a while, here's a book that could bring you back - highly recommended!
BigLazyTomcat More than 1 year ago
Unique story with interesting concepts. If you like stories where the morality of the "Good Guys" comes into question, you'll like this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I stumbled across this book about a month ago. This was an enjoyable read for me. I especially liked the way Scalzi explained how technology worked in his universe, without getting too technical. I have since read the Ghost Brigade and Lost Colony and I'm currently reading Zoe's Story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fellow employee showed it to me and the first two sentences sucked me in. A very original story and the writing style made me really like the main character. I like scifi and this was pretty good. Looking forward to reading more by this author.
Jonathan_Stewart More than 1 year ago
The first of Scalzi’s series, Old Man's War, pays obvious homage to Heinlein, himself a master of the Science Fiction genre, but does so with such originality and such a careful touch of modernity that you don't feel like you're reading a retread of a classic, instead you see what it means for someone to stand squarely on the shoulders of a giant. The power of this book comes from the immense universe it imagines, one that goes far beyond the Star Trek universe, even the Ender's Game universe (which itself is paid clear tribute to in book two of this series). It supersedes those universes in its imagination of worlds and races -hundreds of them, not just dozens. And it puts humanity in a relative underdog position against the universe, rather than at the center. In sci-fi, we are typically governors or rebels against the invading force, but in this series we’re just on the periphery, exactly as our placement in the Milky Way Galaxy would suggest. It's a healthy bit of humility that sci-fi doesn't always force us to face Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think of it like a cross between "Avatar" and "Cocoon"! Characters are fun and the book seems to fly by. Wasn't quite sure what to expect, but the plot really drew me in. Enjoy!
twelve_gauge More than 1 year ago
The book started a little slow but picked up quickly, and I was totally engrossed for the first few chapters. Then suddenly, it became a chore to read. The descriptions of the aliens was a total turn off. Some were described as a cross between a bear/giant flying squirrel and deer like. Not what I would imagine alien species would resemble. I lost confidence in the book at that point, and almost stopped reading. Turns out I should have, because it got really boring toward the end.
Skylinesend More than 1 year ago
Gritty Military Sci-Fi. In the future, the Colonial Defense Forces protects the planets that have been colonized by humans from aliens that want to kill, or even eat us. (Humans are a delicacy in space.) The recruits come from Earth, and the only requirement for joining is that you are 75 years old. Fun and fast paced. I really enjoyed this book.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
“Old Man’s War” is a good old fashioned sci-fi book. Take 1 parts future, 1 parts spaced aged technology, 1 part aliens and mix well. Throw in a couple of twists and good characters and you’ve got yourself a winner, and that’s what we have here. The characters are well written (if a bit too fortunate at times) and easy to connect with despite being old. There is enough action to keep you interested and the overall story does well to pull you into this brave new world. Highly recommended for the Sci-fi lover in you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want my SF/Fantasy hard, epic and spanning multiple books. This book delivers without getting long winded or depressing even though main characters die. The author takes a balanced approach to war and rightly takes a potshot at belliphobe and belliphile alike. The ending is paced well, satifying and wraps up optimistically.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just not good. Boring and stilted. Weak action.
Mardel on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I've seen this title around for quite a long time. Old Man's War. I have to admit here that from the title (you should never ever judge a book by either its cover OR title, though it's mighty tempting) I thought it was going to be about a war that was caused by the usual - rich old men who want to get richer or keep rich or hide something. The usual. I was pleasantly surprised about the way the soldiers came into being. Sure, the reasons for all the wars and military actions are still about greed, etc. But the fighters, refreshingly, are old men at the end of their life expectancy. This is refreshing. In a way.The reason I even picked up this book, was because on a whim, I bought Zoe's Tale, though I didn't read it until after I - on another, later whim - bought Fuzzy Nation. I read Fuzzy Nation and loved it. Even though Scalzi warns that Fuzzy Nation is unlike any other novel written by him, I still went right from there to Zoe's Tale. Now Zoe's Tale is also reportedly unlike his other books....still I liked it enough that I thought I would buy the very first of this series and try it. I did like it. Not as much as I liked Zoe's Tale or Fuzzy Nation, but I like it enough that I'll be looking out for the next novel - The Ghost Brigades.Old Man's War seemed to me, to read more like an account of a man's journey from old man to soldier than a story. It was interesting, though I'm still not sure if I quite enjoyed the style of narration. It was first person, which I enjoy - but seemed a bit dry. That's okay, though once in a while. It was, after all, an interesting account. The premise was good - when people turn a certain age, they are given a chance to sign up to join the army at the age of 75 years. It's a mystery to everyone on Earth what happens then, because people who join the space army - or Colonial Defence Forces never return to Earth. Joining with the CDF means you give up your entire life. All assets go to relatives, you're declared dead and you never ever return to Earth or expect to see your past family/friends. But in return you are assured a new life, and after two, possibly ten years, you are given the option of retiring from the CDF and living a new lifetime on a settled planet. The first part of the book is about how John Perry turns 75, joins up with the CDF, gets his new life and goes through training. Things are very different now - the least of the changes is his new green skin. After training, he and thousands of other recruits - after some changes - begin a tour of Colonial Defence - with the emphasis on Forces. He's not entirely proud of the way the CDF runs business. However, he's joined and now is part of a squad, so makes the best of it. Afterall, at this point, you're fighting with your troop, your co-soldiers and that's what you focus on. Interesting.The other section of the novel is where he meets Jane Sagan and has an encounter with the Special Forces - aka The Ghost Brigades. The ending of the book leaves an opening for a future as a person - possibly with a mate, possibly farming.There's way more to the novel that the above. There are computer like brains, smartblood, the green skin which has a purpose, and lots of fighting sequences. Some battle strategy and sadly (for me) a little bit of infodumping in the guise of conversations about things such as skip drives, politics, etc. Thankfully, these infodumping conversations were short enough that I wasn't quite tempted to quit reading and each time I almost got the point of the burning stomach feeling, these conversations would end. Those were the only real drawbacks to the novel for me. The rest of the novel, though written a bit dry or emotionless (hey - I enjoy just a touch of feeling, not too much, but not a complete lack, either) was still interesting enough with the SciFi elements that I had fun reading it. So, while I don't quite give it my highest score of six stars, I do rate it at a four stars. It's app
chellerystick on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I picked up Zoe's Tale when it showed up on the new books shelf, and D informed me that it was loosely a sequel to the Old Man's War stuff, so we went back to the library to check it out to read first. Like his Android's Dream, he writes in a plain spoken, clear-as-a-bell style, just straightforward enough to plausibly make his protagonist, John Perry, seem like a real, normal human. Perry is a man looking back on his first couple of years of service in the Colonial Defense Forces, and he spins out his story simply, embellishing with the details of everyday life rather than with exaggeration or high rhetoric. The retrospective timeline also serves to make the story work. Prospectively, the average story should end in a quick and gruesome death, but in this case history is written by those who are both clever and lucky: the winners, or at least the survivors.The book also has a nice amount of friendship and romance. I have to wonder about the romance part, because the protagonist is a writer, and I wonder if Scalzi is nodding towards how happy he is to have "gotten the girl" in real life. (8
jlynno84 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Gritty, but good sci fi. Scalzi's battles are graphics, his tactics are interesting and unpredictable. John Perry had no idea what he was getting involved in when he joined the Colonial Defense Force. But he becomes a surprisingly good soldier at the age of 75. He is a good character and you can't stand to put the book down because you want to see what he is going to do next.
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I was very impressed by this book. A space war book with a whole new twist & look. The writing was excellent, the plot tight & the characterization was wonderful. I could really identify with the main character & understood the motivations of even the oddest aliens, as much as the character could anyway. There was plenty of action, but that wasn't the main thrust of the book. It carried along a lot pretty neat ideas on what our future might be like & took a sideways look at what constitutes a 'man'. Definitely worth reading & I'm looking forward to other books by the author.
woodge on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I took a slight detour from the fantasy neighborhood into the world of military sf* with this story. At the age of 75, John Perry visits his wife's grave and then enlists in the Colonial Defense Forces. The CDF only takes recruits who have reached the age of 75 -- they only want people with a lifetime of experiences to draw on. Then these recruits are whisked off Earth to one of the many CDF spaceships and given new genetically-enhanced bodies. Soon after that they are off killing aliens and protecting human colonists on other worlds. Moves quick enough and kept me interested, but not so interested that I'm rushing out to get the sequel. I think it's time for some non-fiction next. * Those in the know refer to science fiction as "sf", never "sci-fi."
santhony on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Perhaps Cory Doctorow described it best when he wrote, ¿Old Man¿s War is Starship Troopers without the lectures and Forever War with better sex.¿ That just about says it all, though it speaks more to the juvenile nature of the sex in Forever War than to any sex which may be present in Old Man¿s War, which is pretty negligible.An elderly widower, with little else to live for, joins the army. At the time, many elderly humans join the Colonial Defense Force because of the promise of a return to their youth. The Colonials are apparently technologically superior, owning the secret for interstellar travel (the skip drive) as well as the secret for eternal youth.While the science in this novel is outstanding and the premise is good, much of the dialogue is contrived and trite. This is the first in a series of three novels and well worth proceeding to the second, The Ghost Brigades.
dbeveridge on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Wonderful classic scifi/war opera. A great first book. Can't wait to read the next one.
SwampIrish on LibraryThing 5 months ago
John Perry is joining the Colonial Defense Force at 75 years old. They claim that they will make him young again but he is not exactly sure how. In order to find out he is going to have to leave Earth and agree to never come back. He will be effectively dead to all those who knew him.Reading Old man's War is like reading a Heinlein novel devoid of the heavy politics. I think I will stop reading this series right here before the politics kick in.
Unkletom on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I really liked the premise of this book and enjoyed the plot. My only problem that the personalities of all of the 'old farts' seemed to be exactly the same. I look forward to reading Ghost Wars.
conformer on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Heinlein in everything but name, and the author even refuses credit for writing the story, deferring to his influences. A strong and amiable debut which doesn't bring anything really new to science fiction, unless you count readability and sympathetic characters. The sequel isn't that good, I hear.