Writing about Reading: Old Man’s War

November 1, 2012 § 3 Comments

John Scalzi hooked me with his latest book, Redshirts, so I thought I should go back and read the work for which he’s best known—Old Man’s War. (Yes, I’m late to the party. Story of my life.)

Step One was choosing the appropriate bookmark:

Bookmark acquired, I settled in for a good ol’ space opera. And in a nutshell, that’s what Old Man’s War is—a space war story in the vein of Clarke and Asimov. Unlike those venerable masters of the genre, however, Scalzi’s hero wasn’t some fresh-faced young’un off to find adventure in the stars. John Perry, the old man of the title, is seventy-five, a widower, and the newest volunteer in the Colonial Defense Force. Soon, he and many other septuagenarians are leaving Earth for the last time to get their first look at the off-world colonies.

That’s the deal, you see. The CDF only takes recruits after they hit seventy-five. Furthermore, all recruits give up their worldly possessions, any wealth, and all their rights as a citizen of Earth. They are, in a legal sense, dead. No Earther has ever seen a Colonial, and Colonials are never allowed to return to Earth. Perry and his friends have literally no idea what they’re getting into; they only know that they will be made young again.

And that’s where it gets interesting.

Soon, Perry and his fellow recruits are battling a variety of aliens across a dozen worlds. In each fight, Perry proves he’s got what it takes to survive against some of the deadliest creatures in the universe. But is that enough?

Old Man’s War is a lot of fun from beginning to end. While it doesn’t pack the emotional punch that Redshirts does, I have to admit I did get something in my eyes at the end that caused them to tear up. If you like space adventures, this is one of the better ones. Check it out, and if you like it as  much as I did, you’ll be happy to know it’s the beginning of a series.

Pardon me while I go hunt down the rest…

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