I’ve been reading John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever, for a few years now, but I haven’t gotten around to reading one of his books until now. I think Old Man’s War is one of his most famous books, and I was able to get it for a bargain at Half Price Books in Bellevue, so that’s the one I chose to start with.
From reading his blog, I expected Scalzi to be a good writer, but he exceeded my expectations by far! Old Man’s War is set in a future where humans are colonising the stars, but livable space is at a minimum, so there are constant battles. The Colonial Union, an entity entirely separate from Earth’s government, controls all human space efforts. The only way to get off-world is either to get picked by them to colonise, or join the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF) on your 75th birthday. John Perry is doing the latter.
The world of Old Man’s War is fascinating, although it seems like it’s about to come crumbling down. Given the mystery of the CDF, I expected a grand conspiracy or a secret plot, but Scalzi plays it totally straight. The book was obviously inspired by Starship Troopers (which I actually like a lot), but has better writing and an author that’s not crazy. I haven’t read a good adventure story in a while, and this book definitely filled a craving I didn’t even know I had.
I loved the idea of the CDF recruiting old people to fight, since they have the life experience necessary to be wise and understand the importance of their fight. It’s a very sensible idea. John Perry is a great protagonist, and every character in the book, no matter how minor, is full of life. Scalzi has a great sense of humour, and it shows!
I can’t wait to read the next book, The Ghost Brigades.
- “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss
- “Royal Assassin” by Robin Hobb