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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 (5638 )
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4.5 (4423 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Gizmo 09-08-13
    Gizmo 09-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow starter, then it gets good, then it skims"

    This book started a little slow, as told from the perspective of a bunch of 75yo people, it felt a little like chatting around at the retirement home and I was skeptical at first. Then it picked up a little bit, with the storyline sounding more like a video game than a novel. Nothing too deep, or too long, just a fun listen. Some of the potentially great action scenes were skimmed through (montage style), and only a few of the good action scenes were actually detailed- making it a shorter work than it could have been. The main character is a little too perfect, making him a bit flat- the accidental wild success is a little frustrating and flat. But like I said, overall its a fun listen and worth it.
    The narrator was best at 1.25x speed, and does the voices well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Houston, TX, United States 09-04-13
    Bruce Houston, TX, United States 09-04-13 Member Since 2015
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    "A good start to what could be an excellent series"
    Would you listen to Old Man's War again? Why?

    I have actually listened to this book three or four times already. I have a lot of time on my hands commuting in Houston and good stories to listen to are hard to find. This is a typical Scalzi book. His stories do not take themsleves too seriously. They are funny and deep and most surprising, you may find Scalzi addressing real scientific concepts every now and again. What I like most is his deference to his characters over the sciency stuff. I love good science fiction but sometimes we forget the best science fiction can take place between two people in a cornfield not just on a space freighter.


    Have you listened to any of William Dufris’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    William Dufris is one of my favorite narrators. I first started listening to him on this Scalzi series and have branched off onto other book series specifically for his voice talents.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    UncleHammy Towanda, KS United States 08-26-13
    UncleHammy Towanda, KS United States 08-26-13 Member Since 2011

    UncleHammy

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    "Interesting concept, OK story"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend it to Sci Fi fans, but not anyone who was not a Sci Fi fan. The story was interesting with some good Sci Fi concepts, but the actual story is not that compelling.


    Did William Dufris do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    The narrator was good.


    Was Old Man's War worth the listening time?

    I have not decided yet whether or not to read/listen to the next book. So I am not sure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Bradford 08-21-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Wonderfully imagined, written, and narrated."

    I picked this up on a friend's recommendation and it's among the best novels I've read in years. This universe is fully-formed and filled with surprises. Scalzi balances a gut-wrenching tale of war with a wonderful sense of humor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 08-09-13
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 08-09-13 Member Since 2014

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So there is a future for us old farts...."

    Scalzi at his best. Unique concept and what a hoot to read. Laughed out loud at some of the scenes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Siddiqui ny, usa 08-04-13
    S. Siddiqui ny, usa 08-04-13 Member Since 2014

    md

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    1
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    "great narrator"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    Loved redshirts and fuzzy nation and was hesitant to try this series due to a different narrator. William Dufirs is just as good if not better. not too much of he said she said dialgoue either that is other works by this author.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    Yes


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    yes


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    nothing.... close to Mark Thompson (which is very high praise)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 07-28-13
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 07-28-13 Member Since 2006

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More than just fun entertainment"

    A Human goes to space to fight the bad aliens. Nothing unusual there until you find out our protagonist is 75 years old, as are the rest of the new enlistees. All have joined to protect Earths colonists and the interests of the Colonial Union.

    The "Old Farts" start to bond even before their transformation to soldiers begins. We get to follow them through their training and into war. Meet unusual alien enemies and witness the battles. As it turns out, humans aren't very popular in the eyes (or other sensory organs whatever they might be) of other beings, (although some do find us very tasty).

    John Scalzi's humor and imagination run rampant throughout this book. I found it thoroughly entertaining and the narration by William Dufris was excellent. This was one of the best Sci Fi books I have listened to. Actually, it was one of the best books I have listened to.

    Highly recommended and well worth a credit



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Canada 07-08-13
    Paul Canada 07-08-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Soild Sci-Fi"

    It's been a while since I've read some good sci-fi, and there is no doubt that this fits the bill. This book is first in it's series and develops a rich universe. Best of all, it builds that universe leaving you interested in reading further along without making you fell like you only bought half a book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 07-04-13
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 07-04-13 Member Since 2013

    I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fish-out-of-water story"

    This is the first book in the series, and the only one I've read so far. As the title alludes, in this future geriatric recruits are sent off-world to fight humanity's wars with the aid of modern medicine and technology. Much of the drama comes from the sudden renewal and then loss of youth.

    I can't help but compare to Joe Haldeman's classic "The Forever War", which also told a first-person story of a new conscript into an interstellar war. Both stories are filled with fish-out-of-water wonder at adjustment to military life, and both protagonists find that they can never fully return to the civilian life they once knew. Scalzi's voice, however, has greater humor, and in this regard reminded me of Robert H. Heinlein's snark.

    The alien enemies have varied appearances, but the two species which are most closely examined both fit familiar stereotypes, unfortunately: hungry predators and warlike religious zealots. What was unique to this story universe was its state of perpetual war in every combination on all galactic fronts; the most competitive neighborhood imaginable. While it is a decidedly pessimistic outlook in one sense, Scalzi manages to make it seem both unsurprising and not worrisome by focusing on the individual human relationship scale. His ending leads me to believe a reunion is in store for these characters in the four subsequent novels of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Waltman Orlando, fl 07-02-13
    Robert Waltman Orlando, fl 07-02-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Good Old Fashioned Sci Fi"
    What did you love best about Old Man's War?

    The characters are very enjoyable. John Perry is someone that is easy to like. I liked that Scalzi added a lot of humor to the story that lightened up the mood. Whether it was "Smart Blood (trade mark)" or the names of their brain pals.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story also flows well. Im also glad that Scalzi doesnt try to make the future seem to realistic by explaining everything. Ultimately this story is about the people who are in a futuristic place - not about how cool that place is.


    What about William Dufris’s performance did you like?

    His reading of the story is very professional and I find his voice easy to listen to. the construct of the story's dialog leads to a number of "he said" or "she said". I only point it out because it is noticeable.


    Any additional comments?

    I cant stress enough how much I enjoyed this book. Its hard to pick out the best things because so much is good. If you dont hate books about the future you will love this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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