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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.
Hugo Award nominee, Best Novel, 2006
"Scalzi's imagined interstellar arena is coherently and compellingly delineated." (The Washington Post)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By M. Spencer on 10-21-12
Fun and Witty Military Sci-Fi
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 Sword 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.
99 of 101 people found this review helpful
By Jim "The Impatient" on 10-22-15
I DIDN'T MIND GETTING OLD, WHEN I WAS YOUNG EITHER
This is not good, it is GREAT!!!! It's Science fiction, it's Military Sci-Fi, it's a romance, it's witty, LOL at times, it is character driven, it is everything I ask for in a novel. I think the older you are and the longer you have been happily married the more you will enjoy this. It is so nice to listen to a novel, where elders are respected. The main character was married for around 42 years, if I remember right. They had some ups and downs, but they were in love. As a man who has been married for over 37 years and who is more in love now than when I was as a youth, I feel the pain and longing of the main character.
The science fiction is cool and this platform gives Scalzi, the ability to show off his imagination. The different aliens he comes up with and how they think different then us, makes for some thought provoking and funny situations. Some other reviewers have compared it to Star Ship Troopers and I see that, but I was thinking more of Forever War by Haldeman. It may have a little of both, but it is all Scalzi.
Dufris does a great job.
106 of 110 people found this review helpful