Old Man’s War by John Scalzi was the first book that I downloaded with my Audible subscription as I had heard from various sources (including the Swor..Show More »d and Laser podcast) that it was a great read. I have to say that, after reading the novel, I agree wholeheartedly. Old Man’s War was one of the best novels that I’ve read all year. I would even go so far as to say it’s one of my favorite science fiction novels period.
From the start, I really got a kick out of the conceit of the story. In some future United States, elderly people are recruited to enlist and serve in the intergalactic military. With so many novels following a young protagonist (even many adult novels), I found it to be a very refreshing experience to read a novel where the main character was 75 years old.
In addition to that, I really enjoyed Scalzi’s writing style. It had just right combination of dry wit and cynicism to really resonate with me. I should also extend that compliment to William Dufris, the narrator of the audio version that I listened to. I thought he did an excellent job. His tone was perfect for the main characters of the novel.
I don’t want to give anything away in my review so I won’t go into too much detail about the plot, but I really did enjoy the story line a great deal as well. The novel is very much a military story filled with battles and typical military life. In that way, it reminded me of Joe Haldeman’s Forever War, but what I liked about Old Man’s War was a bit lighter and more fun.
The novel really roped me and I had a lot of fun listening to it. In fact, I tended to listen on my iPod while running, giving me the perfect excuse to exercise regularly.
Overall, I really enjoyed the novel and I would recommend it to any science fiction reader.
This is a nice followup to Old Man's War. Scalzi again creates a great ride, that is deeply enjoyable and with great characters.
It helps to ..Show More »have read Old Man's War, but you could pick this one up and start here. This story takes place a few years after the events in Old Man's War. Jane Sagan is a Lt in the Ghost Brigades and assigned to the Kite. She uncovers a plot against the Colonial Union, and that there is a traitor helping out the enemies plotting against the Union. Most of the story follows the rather unusual method they use to track down the traitor... Very well written, held my attention throughout.
Zoe's Tale was fun to listen to. The reader was skilled at adding emotion to the story and was a good actress.
The story itself filled in some ..Show More »gaps and added some dimensions to the story told in "The Last Colony". Whether that information was enough to justify another book must be left for the individual reader/listener. For myself, there was too little new.
The most glaring problem that I had with the audio release was that the reader of this story had obviously not listened to the previous volumes. The differences in pronunciations from previous volumes to this one always took me out of the story. A common pronunciation guide should be a "must".
Still, this book fleshed out characters that otherwise would have, for space reasons, recieved too little attention otherwise. Worth listening to, especially if you have an extra "credit".
This book was originally a series of short stories released once a week, a format Scalzi will repeat again. Tellingly, in his announcement that he wo..Show More »uld be writing another Human Division novel, Scalzi said that he had been renewed for "Season 2." The metaphor of a science fiction television series exactly nails the good and bad of this novel.
The books are a loose story arc of self-contained episodes taking place in the Old Man's War universe. Some of the episodes- sorry, I mean stories - are very solid, some are pretty mediocre. The overarching plot is dished out in small doses, which makes the pacing feel uneven. At its best, it is like watching a great Star Trek episode. At its worst, it is like watching a bad one. There is never a moment where the novel breaks down, but it is rarely very compelling either.
I am a Scalzi fan, but, as much as I like his work, he can be extremely uneven. His most compelling work (Old Man's War, for example) is like a smarter, modern-day Heinlein, with wonderful characters and interesting settings. At his less-than-best (Redshirts, this novel) he is still entertaining, but the formula of witty, insubordinate characters and repeated low-grade mystery-solving becomes a little obvious. He is still one of the best writers of fun science fiction out there, but I keeping hoping for another home run. While a solid entertaining time, with occasional moments of brilliance, this is a base hit.