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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

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  •  
    Olga chicago, IL, United States 07-16-12
    Olga chicago, IL, United States 07-16-12
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    "First listen, great book!"

    I'm very indecisive when it comes to choosing. So I got my membership and that free credit. Never listened to audio book before, so it had to be something really good. After listening many samples I decided on Old Man's War and I don't regret. It's funny and creative, absolutely love the characters. And the delivery was really good. I was concerned about the whole "somebody reading book for me", but Dufris did such a good job I think I just might stick with audio books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael DAYTON, OH, United States 06-24-12
    Michael DAYTON, OH, United States 06-24-12 Member Since 2011

    MIke Charette

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    "Just the Best"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes this is the best new Science Fiction I have read, or listened to in years!


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

    Brilliant and funny, good characters, loved the D.I. he was hilarious. John Scalzi is really a good writer, However, he is not on a level with the great Robert Heinlein. The reason Heinlein's prose is so elevated is because Heinlein engages in broad societal commentary and an solid under pining of moral philosophy. This is what the major difference is. Scalzi's work is mostly entertainment, with a brief pot shot thrown at Big corporations. Now allow me to sight an example, from Heinlein's Starship Troopers. I will now quote from the holy of Starship Troopers, ah-hmmm, Mr. Dubios asks Johnnie Rico "What is the moral difference between a soldier and a civilian?" Johnnie responds "The difference lies in the field of civic virtue. A soldier accepts responsibility for the safety of the body politic of which he is a member, defending it if need be, with his life, the civilian does not." There is nothing like this Old mans war. or in any other examples in Mr. Scalzi's work. I do consider him to be an up and coming writer, equal to Larry Niven, Orson Scott card, or Robert Sawyer. So though he is good, he is not quite Bob Heinlein, at least not yet.


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

    Wonderful, Great range as an actor, and reader! Just the Best.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Galactic mercenaries from Hell!


    Any additional comments?

    Great Book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 06-17-12
    Robert 06-17-12 Member Since 2009
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    "A Great and Intriguing Sci-fi Narrative"

    John Scalizi places his readers in the most fitting position from which to absorb this wonderfully complex world where humanity contends with the infinite challenges of a diverse and dangerous universe. In the mind of an old man you at once see the world through the eyes of someone who is able to accept even the most outlandish of encounters with an old subset of wisdom, allowing the reader to in kind absorb the strange world at a fast pace but with the comfort that you understand as much as the main subject who's perspective you read from.

    The authorship is solid and I found myself feeling excitement, cheerfulness, suspense, loathing, and curiosity throughout the telling.

    The performance leaves much to be desired. This narrator is consistently in the bad habit of interjecting the wrong emotions and inflections of the characters. He fails at grasping the colossal transformations the human subjects of the novel have been dealt by being made entirely anew through strange and complex processes outside their own understanding. Should cold blooded killing machines swoon with emotions? Should old men made young sound like old men still? these are the detraction's which leave me wanting more from the performance.

    Overall this is a must read for sci fi fans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. R. Vogel Soggy Seattle, North America 10-23-11
    W. R. Vogel Soggy Seattle, North America 10-23-11 Member Since 2004
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    "Fun!"

    I'm having a great time with this book. It keeps me engaged but not overwhelmed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis Carbajosa de la Sagrada, Spain 05-25-11
    Phyllis Carbajosa de la Sagrada, Spain 05-25-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Science Fiction at its BEST!"

    If you love Science Fiction and haven't read or listened to this book yet, you are really missing out on some great fiction. If you ask me, it's better than the classic, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein.

    Speaking of which, I find it so hard to believe that this book hasn't been made into a movie yet. And I don't mean a campy sci-fi flick but the real deal with lots of special effects and heavy on the back story - growing old and aging.

    Seriously, if you're starting to feel the pangs of getting older, just read this book and dream. I read it once a couple of years ago and I've just finished listening to it for the second time. William Dufris does a truly wonderful job of narrating this book.

    Worth every penny and minute of my time!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lewis McLouth 08-22-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Old Man's War--Highly Recommended"

    Excellent, fast paced, thought provoking science fiction. 5 Stars for the text. Outstanding reading. 5 Stars for the voice acting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cyndie Lincoln, CA, United States 07-26-10
    Cyndie Lincoln, CA, United States 07-26-10 Member Since 2004
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    "Worth every second"

    A very thought provoking book which uses the excellent writing and engaging characters to hide some huge themes. First time I've listened to a Dufris narration and he does a great job. I'm off to the next book in the series hoping it at least equals this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Rhoderick Frederick, MD USA 03-26-10
    J. Rhoderick Frederick, MD USA 03-26-10 Member Since 2010
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    "A fun and engaging story"

    Old Man's War is a romp through a fierce universe seen through the eyes of John Perry, an old man who, after his wife's death, has little left to live for. Despite his age, advanced technology gives Perry the opportunity to enlist and see the universe.

    Scalzi's characterization was quite good for military sci-fi, a genre which is generally populated with characters who exist merely to be killed off by strange alien weaponry. Scalzi also managed to convincingly pull of the description of Earth's senior citizens with a few minor exceptions. For example, after the recruits received their "new" bodies, it didn't make sense to me that senior citizens would immediately degenerate into the pubescent behavior Scalzi depicts. A 75 year old is still 75, despite the age of his body.

    While the science is out there at times, and some of the encounters with alien species have a cartoonish feeling about them, the story is engaging. The ending was a bit anti-climactic for my taste but, overall, Old Man's War is good story and deserves the praise it has received.

    The narrator did a good job. His reading is done with skill and style and he handles difficult passages quite well. Some listeners complained about the dialogue attributions -- the "he said, she said" -- but I didn't even notice them. As a writer, Scalzi tends to use these more frequently than other writers, and the narrator is just reading what is on the page.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Brooklyn, NY, USA 06-28-09
    Michael Brooklyn, NY, USA 06-28-09
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    "Cocoon in Space"

    Many people like this book, but I couldn't stand it. The banter among the "old farts" was straight out of a cheap sitcom, and none of them were particularly interesting. Once the aliens show up, it gets worse. Try Robert Charles Wilson's "Spin" instead.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Green Bay , WI, USA 05-29-09
    Richard Green Bay , WI, USA 05-29-09
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    "Great book"

    "Great book" Whats more to say. A most have in any sicfi collection.
    Very well written. Alot of twist and turns. Very creative plot line.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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