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Old Man's War
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change
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on April 21, 2017
This was a really interesting concept. If you get to 75 you can go to intergalactic war and get an entirely new body to fight in. I'm not sure most 75 year old minds would really be able to do some of the things that they require but then again maybe there's nothing to lose so why not? It's a short book, easy, fun read and I'm going to read the sequel - just to see what happens next.
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on December 10, 2017
I have been reading scifi since I was 14 reading JG Ballard. I am now 67. And in all that time I never ran across this series or John Scalzi. I was hooked from page two. The writing style is smooth as a great bourbon and as satisfying. The dialog is witty and snappy, more preferable than yuck-yuck tales. I am gratified that there are 5 more books in thus series and many other to while-away the winter. Thanks, John.
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on July 1, 2017
My kindle purchases have somehow resulted in Amazon recommending me books that have been somewhat disappointing, despite the reviews being positive, so I was vary at picking yet another military sci-fi book. I'm glad I got over my fears, as this was a very good book. The story, the world and the characters were so interesting that I kept reading page after page and skipping sleep. Thankfully this book also lacked strong political messages (other than war is hell) and the sci-fi part was very believable.
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on November 7, 2016
This is a fun, and often hilarious, military sci-fi story that I am glad to have picked up. This is my first experience with Scalzi's work and I bought the next book in the series upon completing this one, and why wouldn't I, I really enjoyed it! The story wasn't without it's flaws. It was occasionally very cheesy, and there were some moments that felt very "right place, right time" forced for the main character, but none of that bothered me too much. It was a fun read. I like John Perry and I think Scalzi has created a good character in him. I felt that making this book a little longer and adding to pieces of the plot that were otherwise skipped over could have been beneficial, but regardless, the premise of the story is very interesting, and without giving away too much it makes me wonder where the inspiration for the movie Avatar came from..

Definitely looks to be a promising series, funny and stylish.
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on July 17, 2014
If you like Heinlein's Starship Troopers, and would like something for the post Young Adult crowd, try John Scalzi's "Old Man's War." In it, he takes Heinlein's "Starship Troopers," matures it, brings it up-to-date, and then turns it upside down: instead of inducting the young, Scalzi inducts people from the exact opposite end of their lifetimes. It's a very interesting premise and he pulls it off very well. It's also pretty amazing that he manages to produce the same "tone" as Heinlein's work even though he's approaching the theme from the other end. I rate it at an Excellent 5 stars out of 5 and highly recommend it.

The novels in John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" are:

1. Old Man's War
2. The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War Book 2)
3. The Last Colony (Old Man's War Book 3)
4. Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War Book 4)
5. The Human Division (Old Man's War Book 5)
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on April 14, 2016
Skillfully written and subtly beautiful. A must read, Old Man's War is a powerful comment on being human, love, war. An original science fiction filled with so much humanity that it is almost shocking while being a surprisingly easy to read and definitively gripping story. Don't let this space military science fiction fool you, it is for every lover of any type of SF. It is funny as well as heartbreaking and absolutely unforgettable.
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on October 1, 2012
"Old Man's War" will bring to mind for many people, "Starship Troopers." But in "Old Man's War" one must be 75 years old to enlist. The recruits do not really understand what is coming their way, and that suspense adds a lot to the enjoyment of the book.

I will try not to offer spoilers.

The characters are well developed, and the action is explained in good detail, without being too overly graphic. But it is war, remember.

The dialogue is well written and seems realistic. The advances in technology are not overwhelmingly explained, but described with enough detail to feel real, without feeling like a science lecture.

Solid and engaging plot. Climax is adequate, but a bit abrupt.

Overall, a solid B+ novel. I am planning on reading the next ones in the series. "The Ghost Brigades" and what follows.
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on September 8, 2016
I was expecting something entirely different, a sci-fi story? Yes, it is one of those, but the way it's narrated and how the writer makes you feel what could be living as a space soldier when you are older than 75, man, that's kind of overwhelming. Leaving everything you know and love behind knowing that you can't have any kind of contact with your love ones is not an easy thing to do, even for the promise of somewhat eternal youth. I loved the story. I loved the characters and the planets, and the alien races and everything. I really, really liked it.
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on April 6, 2015
Well, this was a welcomed surprise. I haven't read a military sci fi novel in a long time, having lost interest due to predictable tropes and lengthy monologues about how horrible war is. I'm not making light of war and its horrors, as I have never experienced them firsthand-and hope I never will-nor have I been to space. In this way, I share much with the book's protagonist, seventy-five year old John Perry, who enlists in the CDF after visiting his wife's grave one last time. This offers him and the thousands of senior citizen soldiers a second chance at life, out there, fighting for prime real estate against alien species.

The premise feels original, though I'm sure I'm not the only one to draw comparisons with Starship Troopers and The Forever War. Unlike those two, which I didn't much care for, OMW feels fresh, the characters relatable and the science-fiction not too heavy (I'm looking at you Heilen). I was able to understand much of the complexities of future technology because the characters were as much in the dark as I was. No one knows how the CDF possesses advanced technology, only that they do. While Earth is a backwater, the rest of humanity is aggressively expanding into space, and we're not the only ones.

Perry finds himself in a newer, younger, stronger body, which enables him to contend with the difficulties of intergalactic warfare. Every planet offers a new challenge, every alien species a different way of fighting. It is this unpredictability that makes each contact exciting. You never know what Perry and his squad mates will have to do in order to survive, much less win.

This is a very good book, not great, but still a universe I'd like to visit again. Why don't you enlist and give the CDF a chance? Give this book a chance. And be prepared to fight for your life.
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on April 16, 2015
I've read some other books by Scalzi, but I'd never before read Old Man's War, his debut novel. The novel is set on a future Earth in which the elderly are given a unique opportunity: they can sign up with a corporation that, when they turn 75, will give them new bodies and a new career in an interstellar army. They can serve as little as two years. Once their hitch is up, they can settle in any human colony on any planet that strikes their fancy -- or they can re-up. The catch is that they're signing up as infantry; statistically, only one in ten will survive the enlistment period. Oh, and they can never go home to Earth again.

On the other hand, they get downloaded into the bodies of souped-up twentysomething Army men, complete with green skin. As someone who is old enough to have owned a bunch of green plastic Army men, I thought the green skin was a nice touch.

The story is told by John Perry, a former advertising writer whose wife died before she was old enough to join the army. Perry bonds with several men and women before their transformations, and one of the bittersweet subplots has Perry tracking how that one-in-ten survival rate pans out amongst his pals.

I can see why some have compared Old Man's War to Heinlein's work. Scalzi's green army men and women tread some familiar sci-fi ground, including what it means to be human. But the author doesn't delve too deeply into philosophy -- rather, he skims the surface of the big questions while offering the reader an entertaining ride.

I've already picked up the next two books in this series, and I'm looking forward to reading them.
***
Originally published at Rursday Reads.
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