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
"Scalzi's imagined interstellar arena is coherently and compellingly delineated." (The Washington Post)
I usually don't write reviews. I don't want to take the time, so I just post my rating (diligently) and move on to the next book.
However, I felt compelled to write to say this is the best book I have come across in some time. It made me laugh out loud in sections, while still maintaining that sense of what's next. Very much worth the time, and the money.
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.
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.
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.
Let's go meet the new stellar neighbors, and kill them!
Was well worth my time, good listen. Has a bit of a slow start, but the journey is fun and funny. If you are looking for some:
human vs alien - its got it
humor - its got it
sex - its got it
interstellar warfare - its got it
romance - it got a bit too, but not enough to screw up the story
other stuff worth checking out - yep its even got that to
only thing that bugged me was the 'he said' and 'she said' the narrator does a good enough job of changing up his voice that you don't need it most of the time, but that not a big deal.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
This is not good, it is GREAT!!!! It's Science fiction, it's Military Sci-Fi, it's a romance, it's witty, LOL at times, it is character driven, it is everything I ask for in a novel. I think the older you are and the longer you have been happily married the more you will enjoy this. It is so nice to listen to a novel, where elders are respected. The main character was married for around 42 years, if I remember right. They had some ups and downs, but they were in love. As a man who has been married for over 37 years and who is more in love now than when I was as a youth, I feel the pain and longing of the main character.
The science fiction is cool and this platform gives Scalzi, the ability to show off his imagination. The different aliens he comes up with and how they think different then us, makes for some thought provoking and funny situations. Some other reviewers have compared it to Star Ship Troopers and I see that, but I was thinking more of Forever War by Haldeman. It may have a little of both, but it is all Scalzi.
Dufris does a great job.
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.
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.
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