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Old Man's War

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Old Man's War
Old Man's War (cover).jpg
Author John Scalzi
Length Novel
ISFDB ISFDB entry
wikipedia.org Old Man's War
Debut Novel Yes
Genre Science Fiction
Story Survey
Starting Genre Modern?
Starting Perspective 1st
Starting Tense past tense
Starting Action Level 2 (out of 5)
Starting Hook Level 2.5 (out of 5)
Starting Tension Level 2.5 (out of 5)
Starting Genre Level 1.5 (out of 5)
Reviewer Fritz
First Paragraphs

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 the 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 arrangements. it's somewhat mortifying, to use a rather apt word, to have to argue with the cemetery manager about your wife not having a reservation to be buried. Eventually my son, Charlie, who happens to bee mayor, cracked a few heads and got the plot. Being the father of the mayor has its advantages.

Picture

Old Man's War

    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.

Author:John Scalzi
Published:2005
Genre:Science Fiction
Tags:Publication, Book, Novel, Debut Novel, First Person, Clone, Story Survey, Hugo Nominee, Read, Abandoned Series
Comment:I enjoyed Old Man's War for the most part. I did have a couple of issues with it, though. First, I never bought into the idea that all the alien races in the galaxy wanted to eat Earthlings (in comparison to, say, David Brin's Uplift series with it's many hostile races whose motivations I found much more natural), but perhaps John Scalzi's main idea with this was for humorous effect, but I could generally live with it. The second issue I had was more minor in the overall scheme of the book, but produced a more visceral response on my part leading me to almost abandon the book. I'm not sure whether to call it a gag detail or not, but it was certainly gag-worthy to me. To whit, one of the scenes of combat was on a planet inhabited by an alien race of miniature humanoids which set off my "how could they be intelligent and that size" response. Again, this was probably for humorous effect. In the end, I just couldn't get over these two issues enough to want to give the book a pick rating or want to read the sequels. (e)
Viewpoint:First Person
Library:Titles O (Library Box Cross Ref)
Box:A78 (e)
ISFDB:title entry, cover gallery
Amazon:Kindle, Paperback, Audio
Goodreads:Old Man's War
Old Man's War (cover).jpg

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