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Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Old Man's War (original 2004; edition 2007)

by John Scalzi

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,5492271,054 (4.1)2 / 316
Title:Old Man's War
Authors:John Scalzi
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2007), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Old Man's War by John Scalzi (2004)

  1. 152
    Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (goodiegoodie, jlynno84)
  2. 143
    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 (one-horse.library)
    one-horse.library: 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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English (220)  Swedish (1)  Croatian (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  All languages (226)
Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
Good entertainment, some funny plot twists and the (now characteristic) sense of humor of Scalzi. Overall good, although some of his later works feel more "condensed" ( )
  ivan.frade | Oct 13, 2014 |
John Perry lives on Earth until his 75th birthday. Then he joins the Colonial Defense Force for a tour of at least 2, if not 10, years fighting to take, and protect, colonies from alien races.

In exchange for a new body and enhanced skills, Perry agrees he will never return to Earth. After his service with the CDF, he will settle on one of the colonies and live the rest of his life there. Since his wife died before she turned 75 and his son is an adult, Perry is fine with this. After setting his affairs in order, he hops the shuttle and joins others about to embark on the new adventure.

John Scalzi takes the best of Heinlein and makes it even better. This is space opera at its most fun, and creative. And there are times when only space opera will do. ( )
  AuntieClio | Oct 12, 2014 |
This book is well thought out and imaginative, with an interesting society. To me, it seemed to be a very long quippy, conversation and I was tired of it long before the end. I also didn't like the reason for the wars. I can see why people find Scalzi entertaining, but he just isn't my cup of tea. ( )
  nhlsecord | Oct 10, 2014 |
Keeping it from 5 star status is probably just the length. At 230 pages it is definitely a short book. And a book that introduces a vast array of concepts and world building at that. This is not to say I prefer a book padded for the sake of breaking a certain page count, but all the same I usually like my books at least 300 pages long.

Being the SubPress version, the illustrations add greatly to the story. The cover image is more indicative of what the story is about than the original Tor version...although at first it is hard to tell what is going on (the part in the story is almost comical). Inside are 4 full page plates that describe what is happening very well.

The story is very closely written to that of Starship Troopers or other Heinlein works. And Scalzi acknowledges this relation in the very end section. A group of recruits go through basic training, then get stationed and then start fighting in battles. It is more a character study than a sequence of battles with an objective. Many times Scalzi asks important questions about the human side of war and fighting and in the end characters are remembered by who they were rather than what they ultimately did in the book.

Not quite as comical as Scalzi's other works, [b:The Android's Dream|7081|The Android's Dream|John Scalzi|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1316727567s/7081.jpg|18280036] or [b:Agent to the Stars|88072|Agent to the Stars|John Scalzi|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1303914309s/88072.jpg|18280048], but there is definitely a humorous underlay to the events as they play out. I happen to like this style, so the book was well paced in my eyes and mixed enough humour as raw action and death to make this a good mixture of everything.

I did note Scalzi dropping in some Easter egg type things in the character's names, and not just a way to introduce many of his favorite scientists. But there were two cutout characters on one of the first ships Perry was stationed on: Last names of Gaiman and McKean. Not very usual names in and of themselves and then when put together it can be no coincidence.

A good book, a fast book. The illustrations definitely add to the story's quality.

Subterranean Press PC/400. ( )
  T4NK | Sep 30, 2014 |
I've been reading "hard" science fiction since the late 70s, but haven't read much new science fiction thanks to a lack of free time. I gave Old Man's War a shot, owing to favorable reviews and the author's online presence, which I follow (via Twitter and sometimes his blog).

Scalzi excels at dialogue, characters, plot, and fight scenes. When it comes to describing battles he's as good as some of the masters, including Card, Hogan, and Bova.

But he came up short in a few important areas. The first third of the book did not project the future very well. It's set at least 200 years into the future, but the hero basically stepped out of late 20th-century America, complete with library committees, donuts, and Palm Pilots.

In addition, descriptions of the main characters and their surroundings are sparse -- there's just not enough color to let the reader see in his or her mind's eye what's happening or who we are reading about.

Fortunately, the second and third parts of the book are much stronger. Scalzi clearly thought through the nature of this futuristic universe and society, and the role of institutions like the Colonial Defense Force and the special forces. Once we get past the PDAs, the military technologies for fighting, healing, and communicating are much more robust. There are more visuals, especially around the battles, although the descriptions of environments is still weak (if only Coral was more fleshed out!). I think the stronger plot, dialogue, and battle descriptions were great.

But this is an early effort. I'm looking forward to reading Scalzi's newer work. ( )
  in30minutes | Sep 25, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Scalziprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chong, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dufris, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayden, Patrick NielsenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Regan Avery, first reader extraordinaire, And always to Kristine and Athena.
First words
I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday.
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:50 -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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