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 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.
This book impressed me. I thought the plot was very original, the characters well drawn and interesting and the reading nicely done. There are a lot of he said's as is usual with a new writer but you quickly get used to them. Overall the book was very enjoyable. The sequel is is the bookracks now, can't wait for Audible to get it.
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.
ummm.. hi.. be my friend..
I have a somewhat contradictory history with this book. When I first read this when it came out, I would have said it was a bit meandering but entertaining, a nice update to Starship Trooper. Three stars- like.
Then I reread it on Audible because it was on one of those get the first book of a series for $5 sales. By now there were four books. This time I found it really entertaining and started to get the feeling something more was going on that I saw at first blush. I read through the rest of the series and, yes, there is a sweeping narrative that is going on across all four books. So I went to four stars - worth a read even if you're not me.
Since then, I've made it a habit to pick up what Scalzi writes to see what his sarcastic self is going to say next. He's really good at sarcasm. He made me cry in public when I was grocery shopping and listening to Fuzzy Nation. I've never forgiven him for that. And don't get me started on that Wil Wheaton! Bastards!
ANYWAY: On June 5th comes out Redshirts which looks to be very interesting indeed, telling the story of the starship away team from the cannon fodder's point of view. So I thought it would be fun to go back and re-read Old Man's War.
This is one of the most subversive books I've ever read.
Wow! It quotes quite a few tropes from SST and other military science fiction but takes an entirely different tack on them. There is a whole section rebutting the SST classroom screed about might makes right that is so right on that I wanted to stand up and cheer -- don't tell me I'm wrong, show me.
A constantly recurring theme is the characters saying one thing while the entire background is completely contradictory to that. Its as if the characters are blissfully unaware of the irony of what they are saying. And it subtle like one of those optical illusions that you can easily just not see if you're not specifically looking for it.
So I'm going to put this at five stars-- a must read. If you want to understand military science, you must read this book (along with SST, The Forever War, and The Warrior, among others). For me, this book is a modern classic.
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....
Great story - great narration!!! I ended up driving around the block a few extra times (or just sitting in my car) to hear more of this story! What a great way to minimize the frustrations of a long commute!
Don't spend your time worrying about our country's multi-trillion dollar deficits, an Iranian nuclear weapon, or global whining. Instead, listen to this very well written, clever, entertaining, somewhat thoughtful, and even romantic novel. The narration by William Dufris is excellent. His characterization of the drill sergeant in Part 1 is a treat.
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