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Old Man's War by John Scalzi
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Old Man's War (original 2005; edition 2007)

by John Scalzi

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,332268823 (4.08)3 / 372
Member:knownever
Title:Old Man's War
Authors:John Scalzi
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2007), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

Old Man's War by John Scalzi (2005)

  1. 162
    Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (goodiegoodie, jlynno84)
  2. 153
    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (ohdio, jlynno84)
    ohdio: This book contains a lot of action, while still maintaining a nice human element.
  3. 100
    The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (JulesJones)
    JulesJones: Two books which examine in different ways what happens to the recruits in an interstellar war who by the very nature of their service can never go back to their home culture.
  4. 80
    Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold (jlynno84)
  5. 30
    The Last Colony by John Scalzi (Karlstar)
    Karlstar: John Scalzi introduces the universe of the Colonial Union in this book. Similar in feel to Starship Troopers, in many ways.
  6. 20
    Dauntless by Jack Campbell (goodiegoodie, BruderBane)
  7. 31
    Armor by John Steakley (goodiegoodie)
  8. 10
    Future War by Jack Dann (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: An anthology of stories in this vein.
  9. 10
    Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein (JulesJones)
    JulesJones: The obvious Heinlein influence on Scalzi's "Old Man's War" is "Starship Troopers", but this also covers some of the same ground as Heinlein's YA "Space Cadet".
  10. 10
    Containment by Christian Cantrell (freddlerabbit)
  11. 00
    Expendable by James Alan Gardner (PhoenixFalls)
  12. 00
    Cobra by Timothy Zahn (PhoenixFalls)
  13. 00
    47 Echo by Shawn Kupfer (tottman)
    tottman: 47 Echo lacks the depth (and the universe-spanning scope) of Old Man's War, but the story and the fighting are both quite enjoyable. I won't say it's nearly as good as Old Man's War, but it is a quick, fun enjoyable read. And there's a lot of potential from this author I hope to see come out in future books.… (more)
  14. 00
    Grease Monkey by Tim Eldred (goodiegoodie)
  15. 00
    Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell (tcgardner)
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Showing 1-5 of 261 (next | show all)
Interesting premise. Well executed. That said, I only just finished it and can't remember much about it. ( )
  nngrey | Jan 13, 2017 |
From the back of the book:

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.

If that isn't one hell of a way to start a military science fiction novel, I don't know what is. Old Man's War is the first book in the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi. The story begins by giving a traditional military scifi plot a unique twist. Humanity has survived long enough to start colonizing other planets. The Colonial Defense Force, who's purpose it is to protect those colonies from hostile alien races, recruits seniors on their 75th birthday to join the war effort. Enlistees are granted youth again through an amazing life extension process and then it's straight to boot camp to prepare them for battle. The universe is not a nice place. Turns out that planets fit for life are scarce and the competition to control those planets is fierce. The war has been going on for decades. CDF soldiers must serve a minimum of two years on the front lines and are told bluntly that most of them will die before the end of their first tour of duty. If they survive, they'll be given the option to retire on the planet of their choice or they can re-enlist and keep helping the war effort. The downside is that once you enlist you can never go back to Earth or see your loved ones again. The trade off seems worth it since most seniors were already starting to face the hard reality of dying from old age and age related illnesses.

I can't remember the last time I read a fiction book where the majority of the characters are 75 years old and up. What a kick that the military is recruiting seniors! The CDF gains new solders that have the benefit of a lifetime of experience and wisdom instead of the idealism of youth. I'm sure this isn't a new concept but it's the first time I've read it. I liked that the science parts of the book were slightly vague yet plausible so my logical mind didn't try to pick apart the ideas. While I don't think that real world science will catch up any time soon, it would be pretty amazing if it did. I know I'd sign up assuming I make it to my 75th birthday.

The story is told entirely from the first person view point of John Perry. He is a good guy and a natural born leader. He makes friends easily and truly cares about his comrades in arms. For a while all the accepted and sometimes gleeful violence was starting to worry me so I was glad when Perry had a serious attack of conscience when his unit is forced perform an act of genocide on an enemy that literally can't fight back - they are only one inch tall. Unfortunately John is a bit of a Gary Stu. He always comes up with the exact right answers to situations and seems to be the last man standing a lot, surviving against impossible odds in difficult scenarios. The supporting cast is well thought out. Each has enough personality and background that they feel fairly real. The banter between characters is one of the highlights of the book.

I listened to the audio book narrated by William Dufris. I thought the narrator did a great job. His tone nails the dry wit and cynicism of Scalzi's writing perfectly. The only downside is he doesn't differentiate his female characters well enough and sometimes I got confused as to who was talking when it was a big group of people.

Over all the book is a lot of fun. If you like the science in your fiction to be more exact, then you may be disappointed. Otherwise the story touches on many subjects (community, friendship, politics), has a unique premise, well written action and witty character dialog. There is even a small romance thrown in for good measure. I can see myself continuing this series in the future. ( )
1 vote Narilka | Jan 8, 2017 |
Old Man’s War

First Impressions: An old man joins the Colonial Defense Forces, a secretive organization with technology above and beyond Man on Earth. Most people who reach their 75th birthday want to be rejuvenated, or so they think.

John Perry laments the passing of his wife and with nothing to live for decides to activate his CDF contract. Scalzi paints a heartwarming picture of husband and wife (now deceased) and cutting off forever a former life for the future.

We’re led by the author to believe there’s a rejuvenation technique but that’s not it at all. You get a new body cloned from your old one and you’re off to fight a war of expansion with Man against alien.
Scalzi treads heavily on the horrors of war, the purpose of it, and the morality. As Perry stomps on a planet of aliens one-inch tall, he realizes the horror of what he’s doing. His command says to not worry, everyone goes through tghat. Really?

Enjoyed what the Ghost Brigades were, how this affected his deceased wife June, and what follows is amazing.

Especially loved the “Old Farts Club” and how they would stick it out through thick and thin. Well, they almost made it.

Very enjoyable first book. Can’t wait for more.

( )
  James_Mourgos | Dec 22, 2016 |

Heinleiniana at its best...

Somehow this book escaped me when it came out in 2004.

While reading it I was filled with fond memories of my childhood. Reading Heinlein, Asimov, Phil Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, Anne McCaffrey, Fred Pohl, Greg Egan and others under the blankets.

"Old Man's War" comes from a long tradition of military novels: "Starship Troopers" and "The Forever War" (Haldeman), just to name two. Scalzi produced a military novel but in modern attire: tale of alien conflict and dressed it up intelligently with such themes as individual identity, what makes us human, the significance of mortality, and the ethics of life extension.

It's all in there. If you want to recapture the old Heinleinian spirit, this is the book to go to. ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer Title: Old Man's War Series: Old Man's War Author: John Scalzi Rating: 3 of 5 Stars Genre: SFF Pages: 287 Synopsis: A "Space Army" exists, but you can only join once you turn 75. They have amazing tech, which they dribble to Earth. They also protect Earth and her Colonies from everything else Out There. Follows one man whose wife has died and he joins up on his birthday. A military story ensues with just the right amount of Future Tech and a slight mystery to keep things interesting. My Thoughts: Sadly, Scalzi crossed one of my Lines in the Sand, so I won't be reading any more by him. That being said, if it wasn't for that, this would be a 5 star book. This is what Science Fiction should be like. " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Scalziprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chong, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dufris, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emerich, BernadetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayden, Patrick NielsenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempen, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To Regan Avery, first reader extraordinaire, And always to Kristine and Athena.
First words
I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday.
Quotations
There has never been a military in the entire history of the human race that has gone to war equipped with more than the least that it needs to fight its enemy. War is expensive. It costs money and it costs lives and no civilization has an infinite amount of either. So when you fight, you conserve. You use and equip only as much as you have to, never more.
The reason we use force...is that force is the easiest thing to use. It's fast, it's straightforward, and compared to the complexities of diplomacy, it's simple. You either hold a piece of land or you don't. As opposed to diplomacy, which is intellectually a much more difficult enterprise.


. . . "There has never been a military in the entire history of the human race that has gone to war equipped with more than the least that it needs to fight its enemy. War is expensive. It costs money and it costs lives and no civilization has an infinite amount of either. So when you fight, you conserve. You use and equip only as much as you have to, never more."

He stared at us grimly. "Is any of this getting through? Do any of you understand what I'm trying to tell you? You don't have these shiny new bodies and pretty new weapons because we want to give you an unfair advantage. You have these bodies and weapons because they are the absolute minimum that will allow you to fight and survive out there. We don't want to give you these bodies, you dipshits. It's just that if we didn't, the human race would already be extinct."

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765348276, Mass Market Paperback)

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.
 
The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce--and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.
 
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 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"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."--"Publishers Weekly," starred review. A Hugo Award finalist.… (more)

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