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Old Man's War | [John Scalzi]

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 of 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.

©2005 John Scalzi (P)2007 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award nominee, Best Novel, 2006

"Scalzi's imagined interstellar arena is coherently and compellingly delineated." (The Washington Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (6033 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jacob Redmond, WA, United States 04-18-14
    Jacob Redmond, WA, United States 04-18-14
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    "Satisfies all of the essential human desires."

    Scalzi hits a home run with Old Man's War. What always makes sci-fi good is the human element and here he addresses all of the basic wishes humanity has ever desired; eternal youth, strength, heroism, overcoming death and love. These age old desires are engrossed in a fascinating universe filled with action, intriguing characters and enough nerdy technology to keep everyone's attention. Great read, looking forward to the rest of the series.

    The performance is not bad, it's actually really good. It's just that I listened to two of Scalzi's other books before this (Agent To The Stars, Fuzzy Nation) and they were both narrated by the great Will Wheaton. Kind of hard to top him and he has sort of become Scalzi's voice in my head.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trigona 04-18-14
    Trigona 04-18-14

    I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, History and Biographies.

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    "Over rated dross"

    It does compare to Heinlein - in that the dialogue between the sexes is hideous, I'm left wondering, does anyone speak that way? We have a hero who overcomes impossible obstacles and achieves greatness. It's like the A Team goes to space, our hero is effectively untouchable. A minor foray into morality is not explored which is a disappointment.

    Humans are like the cockroaches of the galaxy and deserve to be eaten/eliminated or whatever. This is a light weight romp that requires the reader to turn of their brain as humans trash the place to make the galaxy safe for their blighted species.

    For all the misguided people who think this is good Sci-Fi, do yourself a favour and read Amour by John Reynolds, now that is a book Heinlein should be compared to. This is rubbish by comparison.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Straycat OTR trucker, WI, USA 04-10-14
    Straycat OTR trucker, WI, USA 04-10-14 Member Since 2010
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    "you don't know what it's like to be human..."
    What made the experience of listening to Old Man's War the most enjoyable?

    the wry humor, and the novel form of the CDF forces


    What other book might you compare Old Man's War to and why?

    Starship Troopers, to book by Robert Heinlein. I grew up in a military family, so I got to see a lot of it growing up. this parallels it to a degree, but goes in a completely different direction.


    What does William Dufris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    William Dufris sounds Exactly as you expect John Perry to sound. he has a whit and a wisdom to his voice that carries over into his performance


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wanted to. but I'm an over the road truck driver and can only listen in spurts and shorts.


    Any additional comments?

    you do not know what it's like to be human, until you aren't anymore. there is one part of this book where the main character, John Perry, talks about missing his dead wife. missed being married... that broke my heart as I am divorced against my will. I know EXACTLY what he meant. my ex-wife isn't dead, but the woman I loved is gone just assuredly as John's wife was. I cried so hard, and was heart broken all over again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Phelps Palo Alto, CA United States 03-30-14
    W. Phelps Palo Alto, CA United States 03-30-14 Member Since 2014

    video guru

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I am hooked now!"
    Would you listen to Old Man's War again? Why?

    Yes - I liked the story and I liked the narration


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Old Man's War?

    John telling Jane about his memories of his wife


    Which character – as performed by William Dufris – was your favorite?

    all of them


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It definitely made me laugh at times - as in, did he (the author) really do that? Cool...


    Any additional comments?

    Mr. Scalzi, please keep writing these space novels, and I'll keep buying them and listening to them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trevor United States 03-22-14
    Trevor United States 03-22-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Funny and Diffrent"
    Would you listen to Old Man's War again? Why?

    yes, it was highly amusing and the characters were indeering


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I think I liked Harry The most because he was not the main character but still provided a good amount of interesting things to the table.


    What does William Dufris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The comedy is essential in the vocals here. William does a superb job. Delivery sarcasm its here and done right.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Okey Caynor Centerburg, Ohio United States 02-05-14
    James Okey Caynor Centerburg, Ohio United States 02-05-14 Member Since 2007
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    "a must read !"
    What did you love best about Old Man's War?

    Scalzi has nailed it with this first person narrative.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story portrays the base beliefs of many sci fi folks in the beliefs of a soul, and how we might interact with other races that we might meet in the future, as well as humanity itself.
    It is a military/combat work, it portrays the interaction of individuals on a level not often achieved.


    What about William Dufris’s performance did you like?

    Durfris's reading is indeed a performance, as usual, accurately portraying the characters as the author intended.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It is extremely easy to put yourself in the story, and feel the pain, shock, and emotions of the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    I would rate this as one of, if not possibly most enjoyable sci fi experiences I have evr had. This book would make an extremely good movie script !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pete decatur, IL, United States 01-26-14
    pete decatur, IL, United States 01-26-14
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    "Nicely organized and nicely paced"

    This is for sure the first in a long journey. This is a fantastic introduction to a series that shows potential for a fantastic story line. The pace was perfect and easy for me to follow. The sci fi was explained and believable. A very nice listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Can of Soda 01-20-14
    Can of Soda 01-20-14
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    "Grossly Overrated, Amateurish"

    I finally listened to this book because amazon constantly recommended it to me based on other sci-fi I've read. Alas, it was extremely disappointing. The overall story is poorly structured, and reads more as a series of successive incidents (we fought this weird alien, that we fought that weirder alien, then get a load of this other alien -- it's also weird!) rather than a compelling, coherent story until about two-thirds of the way through. The writing is amateurish and repetitive... especially in terms of the painful, incessant repetition of "he said", "she said", "I said"... etc. The whole book could have benefited greatly if the author had opened a thesaurus to the word "said" and stuck in a replacement here and there. The characters are extraordinarily bland and forgettable. I will say there were some good sci-fi concepts in the book, including the basic premise, but nothing that makes it worth wading through the weak writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashley 01-04-14
    Ashley 01-04-14
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    "More!!!!"
    Any additional comments?

    I love the Old Man War series.... (don't like the he said, she said, they said, in the reading but the story is good) and the reading is good too. Keeps you interested and i love the universe. Wish i could go there when I'm 75.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tadia 12-26-13
    Tadia 12-26-13 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Great Story"
    Would you listen to Old Man's War again? Why?

    Probably would not listen to it again but it was really good. I would rather use my time listening to other books by this author or in this series.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Loved the main character. He was witty and tough.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When the main character was getting his new body.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    YES! I wish I had that much time. I listened every chance I got. It's a interesting story and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful story. Really loved the performance. This story kind of put me in the mind of Starship Troopers. I enjoyed listening to it and I may even try another one in this story line. Really a fun book and it was easy to get lost in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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