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Old Man's War Mass Market Paperback – January 15, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Though a lot of SF writers are more or less efficiently continuing the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein, Scalzi's astonishingly proficient first novel reads like an original work by the late grand master. Seventy-five-year-old John Perry joins the Colonial Defense Force because he has nothing to keep him on Earth. Suddenly installed in a better-than-new young body, he begins developing loyalty toward his comrades in arms as they battle aliens for habitable planets in a crowded galaxy. As bloody combat experiences pile up, Perry begins wondering whether the slaughter is justified; in short, is being a warrior really a good thing, let alone being human? The definition of "human" keeps expanding as Perry is pushed through a series of mind-stretching revelations. The story obviously resembles such novels as Starship Trooper and Time Enough for Love, but Scalzi is not just recycling classic Heinlein. He's working out new twists, variations that startle even as they satisfy. The novel's tone is right on target, too—sentimentality balanced by hardheaded calculation, know-it-all smugness moderated by innocent wonder. This virtuoso debut pays tribute to SF's past while showing that well-worn tropes still can have real zip when they're approached with ingenuity.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left him: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry's service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens. The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including fast-clotting "smartblood" and a brain-implanted personal computer. All too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry fights for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds. Scalzi's blending of wry humor and futuristic warfare recalls Joe Haldeman's classic, The Forever War (1974), and strikes the right fan--pleasing chords to probably garner major sf award nominations. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Without providing spoilers, the story takes place far in the future. Humans have advanced into interstellar space with far-flung colonies, but must compete for territory with numerous alien species, necessitating almost constant warfare. Soldiers are constantly recruited from among earthbound senior citizens, who then undergo some transformations to turn them into fighting specimens. The story follows one such recruit, 75-year-old widower John Perry. Perry's in for a number of surprises, but proves more than worthy as the story evolves. This is fairly straightforward space opera from a very good writer who keeps his story moving and does not over-do it. I recommend John Scalzi's (first in a series) "Old Man's War".
The tech created in this book is beyond cool and believable at the same time as is the landscape of the galaxy. The part that I love the most is getting to see the whole thing through the eyes of a 75 year old who basically gets to become young again without losing his 75 years of life experience.
Senior citizens on earth are given the chance to extend their lives in space as soldiers. They aren't given any details on how this plan is actually executed, and there is no going back once the decision is made. The first third of the book is spent gradually revealing all that this plan entails. It's not action-packed, but still interesting, The rest of the book picks up after laying this foundation, and while not incredibly gripping, it still makes for a great read. The alien races in the book's universe are flushed out in an interesting manner and with enough detail to pique your interest. As a book that lays the foundation for the rest of the series, it ends in manner that implies the real story is just beginning. I liked this book enough that I will read the next and find out.
Definitely looks to be a promising series, funny and stylish.