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)
This is my first experience with this author, and I'm not an experienced SF reader. Would I recommend? Very much, but with one caveat: One negative for me is the language. I'm not a prude, but I do think that the F word degrades us all, and I react every time I hear it. Fortunately, it's limited here to certain characters and certain kinds of scenes. Otherwise I probably wouldn't even be writing this review. The story moves at a perfect pace, and the mix of technology, governments, military strategies, relationship dynamics, etc. holds my attention like no other book in recent memory. If the rest of the series is anything like this, I'll be there for all of them. The -- I suppose necessary battle scenes are another exception for me. Yes I want them to be real, but thankfully they're a small percentage of the total experience.
The drill sargeant.
The drill sargeant, hands down. Almost the best part of this book for me is the quality of the narration. Here's the acid test for me: Hearing the phrase "he said" thirteen times in rapid succession and not being annoyed by it. He drops his voice so that it sounds like "grayed out text" each time. Very cool! Plus, this guy's portfolio of voices for different characters is the best I've heard.
I was skeptical at first just from title. But once this book got going I did not want it to end. Never but never judge a book by its cover. This will be the first of every John Scalzi books that I had and will read. Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!
Military fiction isn't my normal thing, but this is different. The human story around the life of the soldiers is compelling, funny and bittersweet. First rate story, first rate narration. Swear warning. But really, really great.
I love science, technology, and the imaginative use of fiction to glimpse the future.
Emotionally engaging, and gets war correctly. I would recommend this performance to show how good an audiobook can be.
Each character was a caricature, no one was three dimensional. But the ideas in the story were fun to think about. Good if you want an action tale that will present to you futuristic concepts. Bad if you want to connect to the characters in a meaningful way.
This isn't super heady but there's enough science to keep it interesting for the nerds. Plenty of action, and well fleshed out characters. I saw some comparisons to Heinlein in the comments section. I caught some reasons for the comparison and unfortunately this includes a large dose of (in my opinion) clunky romantic/sexual encounters. I don't want to harp on that, because all around, this is a fantastic book and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
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