Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1)Title: Old Man's War
Author: John Scalzi
Publisher/Publication Date: Tor Books, January 15, 2007
Genre: Science Fiction
Format/Source: Paperback, Purchased

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce-- and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You'll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You'll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you'll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine--and what he will become is far stranger...

My Thoughts:

With Old Man’s War by John Scalzi I had really high expectations—I kept seeing the series come up in various places, so I decided to go ahead and just give it a try. And you know what I was pretty impressed by it. Everything from the concept to the characters, even the various (often time’s completely alien) places were interesting and what ultimately kept me reading. I was invested in the story and eager to see where the characters ended up by the end of the novel.

Old Man’s War was exactly my kind of book.

The story is basically told from the perspective of John Perry, and at the age of seventy-five he decides to join the army. Well, this wasn’t any old army, because it primarily dealt with conflicts in the far reaches of outer space. The beginning was solid and introduced the concept, and I especially liked the parts that explained what really happens when you join the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF). There were a lot of stipulations that came along with the numerous benefits, and it was interesting to see how it played out later on in the story. I can’t say much about the other characters, because it’s a spoiler
— or there wasn’t much about them. The focus of the story remained primarily on John and his experience in the CDF.

The technology—ships and weapons—were also cool. Other aspects that I enjoyed was the way that the CDF operated, and the numerous missions that the recruits had to do under their specific orders. I also liked being able to see some of the training they underwent. I think that this book worked because it blended science fiction elements with strategy and war. So on that note, I look forward to eventually getting more of Scalzi's novels.

Rating 5/5

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