John Perry Did Two Things On His Th Birthday First He Visited His Wife S Grave Then He Joined The ArmyThe 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, UnyieldingEarth 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 PlanetsJohn 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 A few weeks ago, I was at one of my children s friend s homes, watching the two of them do a dubious job on a joint project and nattering away about fiction with the friend s father At the end of the day, he pressed Scalzi s Old Man s War into my hands He didn t pitch it He just said I d like it.I wasn t sure what to expect I knew Scalzi I follow him on Twitter, we ve sat on panels together, I could pick him out in a line up with confidence but none of these things necessarily translates into someone s fiction Can you tell what my novels will be like after reading my Twitter feed, after shooting the breeze with me over a school project, after seeing me stride across a parking lot Who knows But it turned out that that it did translate Online, Scalzi is a warm, unflinching, sentimental, humorous shit stirrer And Old Man s War is a warm, unflinching, sentimental, humorous shit stirring sci fi It has a good hook in the future, old folks can sign up to be young again in exchange for fighting in a galactic war but lots of novels have good hooks What Old Man s War has is an enormous beating heart powering all the training montages and alien action sequences The novel is interested in training montages and alien action sequences, but it is also very interested in friendship and in being deeply, madly, truly in love with your wife The combination is sparkling, whimsical, and infinitely readable.I read this not too long after reading The Sparrow and quite a long time after reading Ender s Game, and I think they d be a kind of charming threesome to read altogether a month of training montages, ethically complex aliens, friends, friends who are actually people you d like to have carnal knowledge of, linguistics, and light space ship action My first Scalzi but not my last. Do not mourn me, friendsI fall as a shooting starInto the next life Holy Mother Of Graham Crackers This book was awesome When you re an old person, you can sign up to go out into the galaxy to fight in the alien war WHAT John Perry decided to do this when he turned seventy five His wife had been dead for awhile so he had nothing to lose Or did he He went through this process and had to leave the Earth forever Dead to the Earth John found some good friends on the way to their destinations It took a bit to get there so this group spent some time together They were upgraded together and so on and so forth They even gave themselves a name, The Old Farts They were separated when they went to combat training Only two of each went to the same place But they kept in touch by their brain things I was sad when some were killed Overall I loved the book and the whole creepy concept Mel EDIT 07 22 17 It has been brought to my attention that I may not have the proper Science Fiction background to understand what this book s purpose is It s been said that it s poking fun at the genre specifically Heinlein s work in a way I don t have the context for I m often frustrated when I see others misunderstanding The Magicians trilogy in the same way I seem to have misunderstood Scalzi s work I m going to leave my original thoughts rating posted because they are genuinely how I feel, but I wanted to post this disclaimer so that other readers may take my opinion with a grain of salt I ve been wanting to pick up something by John Scalzi for a very long time now He s a pretty big name in Science Fiction Old Man s War seems to be one of the most highly praised of his series, so I figured that would be a promising place to start Unfortunately I just didn t like this book.There s nothing I found glaringly wrong with it but I can t really tell you anything amazing about it either I am disappointed because I expected a premise that involves 75 year old men and women raging an intergalactic war against a multitude of alien species to be wonderful and hilarious.I imagined arming bitter, old grandparents, who curse loudly at the dinner table rail on endlessly about the entitlement of the younger generations, with a renewed sense of purpose enough high tech firepower to blast E.T into the next life That isn t what I got here.To say that my expectations were not met is a bit of an understatement.This is not a tale of Earth sending waves of savage senior citizens into the stars to defend their home planet I should ve realized what I was in for when I came across the following quote inside the bookThe universe isn t going to be conquered by legions of geriatrics What I did get from this book was some decent humor And that s about it.There is a strange juxtaposition between humor and brutality here that didn t necessarily work for me.I guess when I read a Science Fiction book, I don t expect the most interesting parts to be the multiple, creative ways in which different alien species inflict death upon their enemies.This, coupled with a rather boring plot characters I couldn t feel connected to at all left me with little to praise.Around the 90% mark I felt an overwhelming apathy to see the book through Painfully, I did finish it I may give Scalzi another shot later, but I won t be continuing on with the next book in this series This review and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest sometimes a first novel gets everything right writing that is clean, clear, and fluid characterization that is simple, straightforward, and real a narrative that hurtles forward but does not feel rushed or incomplete ideas that feel new and that are conveyed with enthusiasm and a brisk, unpretentious freshness such is Old Man s War.this is a military science fiction novel and the first of a series that probably brings up a whole host of automatic preconceptions about what will be happening and how the protagonist a recruit in the interstellar wars of the future will be quickly introduced to his new life initial bonding with his fellow soldiers training with a tough drill master the first battle the first kill the death of comrades cynicismbattles, and the promise ofto come and somewhere in there, perhaps, a bit of unlikely romance the template has been around for a while, Starship Troopers et al, and Old Man s War doesn t stray from the tried and true.but as anyone even slightly familiar with the novel s premise knows, this traditional narrative gets a shot of adrenalin by having the hero be a 75 year old man who finds not just a new life, but a new body by joining up with humanity s defenders actually, adrenalin is the exact opposite of the word that should be used because of new soldier John Perry s past life, the novel has actually been injected with a massive dose of wry introspection and not a little melancholy and so many of those traditional stops on the military scifi journey are likewise transformed into something different even the inevitable unlikely romance has become a rather original new thing.oh how i enjoyed the opening chapter rather than a youngster fit to jump into conflict and other forms of excitement, we get the calm and thoughtful musings of an old man looking back with fondness and sadness on his rich but quite regular life, and getting ready to start that life anew a contemplation colored with all of the amused and slightly cantankerous distance that a gentle grandfatherly type would have and much later in the novel, as John Perry spends time with the unusually intriguing romantic interest, we get another warm and often unsentimental portrait of this past life all quite moving i did not expect to be so moved by Old Man s War despite everything i ve mentioned so far, this is still a tough minded book that is rooted in classic military tropes there are a lot of fascinatingly exotic and often horrible aliens there are battles on the ground and up in space there is blood and guts and a huge body count and yet the word that comes to mind after reading the novel is lovely. Old Man s War by John Scalzi has been described as an exciting new take on the work of Robert A Heinlein.Scalzi himself acknowledges being inspired by the late grandmaster Much of the tone and style of the book does seem to not only imitate RAH, but somehow channel his genius into a new voice for a younger generation Most evident is that Scalzi has recreated Heinlein s corny but endearing dialogue, espousing an approachable and likable optimism A Heinlein fan will compare this most readily to Starship Troopers and Scalzi has brought this classic into vogue with some innovative twists I also think about Spider Robinson s RAH co authorship of Variable Star but where Robinson s trashy dialogue was a blasphemy of Heinlein s conservative though sexist etiquette, Scalzi s profane script appears fresh and edgy and absolutely contextually correct Essentially he has taken the best of Heinlein and modernized it for readers of today.I enjoyed the book, especially from the perspective of a Heinlein fan and as a veteran the scene where the new Colonial Defense Forces meet their drill instructor, Master Sergeant Ruiz, is a classic that will make anyone who has ever been to basic training howl when reading Scalzi, through Ruiz, makes a subtle but distinct twist on the stereotypical humorous drill instructor spiel Finally, Scalzi has done a fine job of world building, where even Poul Anderson or Frank Herbert would be proud the Consu are particularly akin to something Herbert would come up with This is simply and enjoyably a very good read. 2.99 Kindle sale, October 7, 2018 Old Man s War is about military life in the future, fighting aliens over planets to colonize The mysterious Colonial Defense Force recruits 75 year old men and women to fight its wars, and many sign up because some sort of second shot at youth is involved, and at this point in their lives they figure there s nothing to lose But exactly what are they getting themselves into And how is the CDF going to turn all these old farts into fighting machines I was really proud of my deductive reasoning in figuring out that this book was an homage to Robert Heinlein s Starship Troopers, but then I realized I m like the umpteenth millionth person to figure that out, and anyway there it is, right in Scalzi s acknowledgements at the end of the book In any case, it s a lot less didactic and preachy, and much easier to read, than Heinlein s book for me, anyway , if not as realistic about military life There were some philosophical questions about war that I was expecting this book to grapple with in ameaningful way, but the book kind of breezes past all of them, with just a nod to the question of Why are we fighting all these aliens anyway Seriously, with all these alien races out there, are there no better ways to settle interstellar differences I wish this had been addresseddeeply, and I m not certain whether Scalzi just decided this isn t that kind of book, or whether he saved these issues for the sequels Maybe I ll find out one of these times Whatever the reason may be, if you hate war, this won t be your kind of book.So just understand that this is an action packed, imaginative book with lots of violence, and have fun and roll with it I started it yesterday, intending to read only a chapter or two, and ended up reading the whole thing, even though I have a shelf full of other books I meant to read first, which says something.It s kind of a great action movie Except a book But all books can t be War and Peace, and I think there will always be a place in my heart for the ones that are sheer fun and adrenaline Kind of like how The Avengers is one of my favorite movies, even though it s not terribly profound Puny god Look He s even green Content advisory Scattered F bombs it s the military , lots of fighting and maiming, and one mildly explicit sex scene. I m about to say something I wasn t sure I d ever say about a science fiction novel about interstellar war this book is warmly humanist in its approach From the first time I sat down to read it, I felt invited and welcomed into the world Scalzi was creating I enjoyed meeting and spending time with the characters he creates, who are mostly interesting and intelligent people that you d want to know I loved the digressions about the morality of following orders, and war as the easy way to deal with conflict.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook There wasn t anything horribly wrong with this book, but I found myself unattached to any of the characters And even for a science fiction novel I thought a lot of the plot was just unbelievable the main character seems to excel at and have the answer to everything while his fellow soldiers get killed left and right The people he meets are littlethan cannon fodder and you don t really get a chance to like them so it s not that big a deal when they bite it Scalzi chooses to barely describe the various characters, and when they get their upgrades, they all are young and beautiful and even harder to tell apart It also doesn t help that every single character has the same snarky voice even the women.Almost a full half of the novel is spent on setup and getting the soldiers ready for battle A lot of the technology was interesting and also easy to understand, but I felt like too much time was spent on leading up to the main story And then, when the characters finally enter into battle and start fighting for humanity s right to colonize, each chapter reads like this girl died, then that guy died, then this girl got eaten, then that guy got vaporized, now let s go kill some aliens and act like complete dickwads because if we don t kill them first, humanity is DOOMED I was continuously bored because I didn t even care if the humans won or if the main character lived to see another day.The first and last chapters did make me a little teary eyed, and this was mostly due to the relationship the main character had with his wife Scalzi s focus is never on characterization though, so these brief interludes add only a small amount of charm to an otherwise emotionally bereft story.I m hoping that this was just a case of first book syndrome since this is the beginning of a series I ve heard it gets better, although I ve read his newest book, Fuzzy Nation, and I really think I ll continue to have the same problem Namely, I feel like he enjoys creating a worst case scenario and devising the cleverest way for them to escape it, and it all ends up feeling too neat and methodical It s just too bad that I don t really care about his characters, because then these books would be a lotenjoyable. John Perry enlists in the Colonial Defense Force on his 75th birthday and gets whisked off to war in a new and improved body, defending Earth s colonies against alien races Will John be one of the few that survives his first year John Scalzi s blog is one of the few I ve followed in 2010 and I m pleased to say that if Old Man s War is any judge, his novels are just as entertaining as his blog.I ve been pretty omnivorous in my reading tastes the last couple of years and I think that s why I liked Old Man s War so much While it s a sf book inspired by Heinlein s Starship Troopers, it s also really funny, somewhere between Christopher Moore and Donald Westlake s Dortmunder series It s narrated in the first person and John Perry is a pretty funny guy.The Scalz has a lot of great sf concepts packed into Old Man s War you ve got the new bodies the senior citizens are given upon enlisting, the beanstalk, the skip drives, alien species that aren t humanoid, the list goes on and on While the concept of 75 year old military recruits sounds like comedy fodder, it s actually pretty well explained Getting a new body, even though it will be repeatedly shot at, would be very tempting at 75.There were so many things I loved about this book that I can t possibly mention them all without giving away large parts of the plot Let s just say that this one is definitely in the top 10 of 2010.