I'm a voracious audiobibliophile, mainly interested in speculative fiction, with the occasional mimetic fiction or non-fiction title sneaking in.
While it might be confusing to compare his book to "Starship Troopers" I do think that John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" owes much to Heinlein's story. Not so much in terms of politics or satire, but in charting an enjoyable course straddling hard/military SF and a more pulpy romp approach. Scalzi does a great job of bringing John Perry to life, creating the eponymous "old man" and, while not really giving the character a background which makes his later military exploits fully believable, giving Perry a rich history and populating his star-spanning world with well-detailed friends and comrades. Scalzi comes up with several distinct alien races, really driving home the differences in motivation that some (the Consu in chief) bring to the table which escape human understanding. One fault I might raise with the story is that while the human characters all have some depth to them (even Perry's drill sergeant at basic training has a fairly rich personal history) no alien characters receive this treatment. The closest comes in the form of a disgraced Consu negotiator, and perhaps this lack of insight into alien personality and personal history is more than forgivable as the story takes place from Perry's consistent point of view. For the most part, from skip drives to tachyon detectors, the tech livens the story, not dragging it down to detract from the main event: Perry's tale. Some scenes, as some of Perry's comrades lose their lives in mundane or bizarre ways, were heartbreaking. The ending left me wanting a little more, but I suppose it can be forgiven as sequels, both in the universe and for Perry's story, exist.
I am not a usual listener (or reader) of science fiction like this but I must admit this was a very enjoyable book. There is plenty of military-style action and aliens getting blown away but there is also a surprisingly interesting human story interwoven throughout (not to mention an interesting political subplot as well.)
Scalzi has created a compelling universe full of characters that are worth caring about. This is a great read for fans of the genre, if they haven't discovered it already, but also for those looking for a break from their current reading list.
Would you do it if they could make you young again? In the future, the Colonial Defense Force recruits 75 year olds to fill their ranks. Rumor has it that if you sign up, they will make you young again, but since nobody that joins the CDF ever returns to Earth, it's hard to know for sure. It is a minimum 2 year commitment that can be extended for up to 10 years and many people decide to go for it. Are your next 10 years on Earth worth passing up for 10 years of combat in space? With the chance you might be young again many think it is.
This interesting concept, and the technology behind it, forms the core of this futuristic tale. It starts with 75 year old John Perry, whose wife has recently passed away. It is John’s 75th birthday and after a visit to his wife’s grave he is off to the recruiting office, after all, what does he have to lose? I won't spoil any of the facts after that for you, but I will say that I enjoyed finding out what awaited John after he took the plunge. The book did have its ups and downs and I enjoyed the beginning and the end a lot more than the middle, but overall the future tech was interesting enough to carry the day.
William Dufris is ok as the narrator, but I didn't think he was a great fit for this; however, the story was intriguing enough for me to give the second book a listen as well.
A bit Starship Troopers, a bit Forever War and a big chunk of originality. Scalzi doesn't bury you with the science(not that I personally have a problem with that), he just writes a good book.
No spoilers in this review. I was a little apprehensive about this book, but I took the plunge anyway. All in all it's not too bad.
Here's a fair description of it: take one part Starship Troopers and mix with one part Tekeshi Kovacs (by Richard K Morgan). Shake well, making sure that the Kovacs isn't as grim and and bitter as the original.
It's not overly original, but certainly not overly derivative. This book relies on a few standard scifi conventions (quantum physics...mumblemumble...behold! Warp Drive!) that are standby devices, but the characters are well developed, the story entertaining enough and the produciton value high enough that it all works. It's exactly what it looks like: light, entertaining space battle fiction.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to get the sequel as well.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
You start out with a character: an aging man who has lost his wife, with nothing to lose, so he enlists in a futuristic army of interstellar alien fighters, his reward a new young genetically enhanced body. He starts his new life with a bunch of other recruits, old folks with various reasons for leaving Earth behind and starting a new life as super-soldiers. They go into basic training and are taught how to fight, why they fight, who they're fighting, what technology is at their disposal, what kind of universe they live in.
We learn all this through his interaction with the enlistment agent, his fellow recruits, their teachers and officers, and later a whole new class of warrior. All along, everyone is cracking wise. Character is developed, a world is built. And subtly hidden between the one-liners and cultural references are various layers of subtext, referring back to our own condition today -- there for the taking if you want it or easily glossed over if all you're looking for is a rousing space opera.
This is textbook. This is the right way to write. You don't write this way because someone says it's right. You write this way because it works. Character, plot, humor, action, subtext, metaphor. It's all there. What you end up with is a perfect book. John Scalzi almost always pulls this feat off, his formula is tried and true, elevated by clever plotting and his relentless snark. The only real question is whether you like his brand of humor.
Enjoy. I did. So much so that I'm diving right into The Ghost Brigade, the next entry in the series. And though I have yet to find a better duo than Wil Wheaton narrating Scalzi, William Dufris is the right choice for OMW -- he is pitch perfect for this material, which requires more military-style bark and military-style snark than you'd expect from Wil.
To listen to a great book while I knit is heaven on earth.
I have listened to many of John Scalzi's novels. I enjoy the way he usually blends fiction with a parable, that gives us another view point to consider. He missed this time. He delves briefly with parallel universe and with genetics, but nothing is really developed. Too much time is spent with battles for my tastes. Enjoyable but empty .
It was nice to finally read a science fiction book that actually was science fiction, not science 'fantasy'. The science fiction was understandable science, not pulled out of nowhere fantasy stuff that all to often is passed off as science fiction in our largely scientifically barely literate population.
During the parts where you’re discovering the rest of the team and the training montage you’re pretty captivated. But once the team has gone through the montage the eventual outcome is inevitable. That's how this book was for me....Great until they were done training...then.....i don't remember what happens anymore....
Avid listener of Scifi and Fantasy. I've found so many great books with the help of member reviews. Hopefully I can return the favor.
This book reminded me of the most interesting parts of Heinlein's star ship troopers with alot less political rambling and alot more excitement. The characters are very easy to like and you feel for their struggles. I wouldn't say that this is great literature but I really enjoyed the story. Its an exciting listen and the author created a very interesting universe.
Check it out if your interested in a sci-fi adventure that is easy to follow and enjoy. The narrator William Dufris has always impressed me too. You'll probably want to download the sequel as well, it's just as good if not better.