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Old Man's War by John Scalzi

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

by John Scalzi

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,130256870 (4.08)3 / 357
Title:Old Man's War
Authors:John Scalzi
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2007), Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Science Fiction

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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English (246)  Swedish (1)  Croatian (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (253)
Showing 1-5 of 246 (next | show all)
William Dufries does a fabulous job narrating Old Man's War and really brings the space age to life! He has a wonderful range and his emotions are spot on. He tugged on my heart strings a couple of times. If you can get the audio, I highly recommend it.

For more details, see my review of the ebook! ( )
  Becky_McKenna | May 1, 2016 |
Old Man's War sat on my TBR for quite a while as I waited for the perfect time to spring it on The Hubsters in hopes of enticing him into another joint ebook/audio read. Everything finally fell into place last evening and we found that once we started, this was a difficult book for us to put down.

This was a neat book. It didn't necessarily blow my socks off and The Hubster enjoyed it a bit more than I did, but I eventually got into it and found it to be very interesting. The author has fascinating ideas and I like the complex world he's building. For a first book, this was surprisingly easy to follow. It held our attention well, especially when sprinkled with Scalzi's humor.

Our hero, John Perry, is seventy-five years old. Life isn't over for him so he makes one last visit to his wife's grave and then he's off to join the army (a/k/a the Colonial Defense Force). There he is required to serve two years defending the Earth and humankind's right to interplanetary real estate and exploration.

We knew going in that new recruits undergo some type of physical modification. We can't have a our respected senior citizens keeling over on the front lines or fighting off a massive alien with walkers and canes, right? Let me assure you, neither of us expected said enhancements to be so cool. You'll have to read the book to get the details. On a quick side note: It was fun to see the different reactions when the characters were given back their fit twenty-something bodies and health. They have a second shot at life, or a "do over" if you will. That's not where it ends, of course. This is science fiction.

Overall, a great start to a promising series! There's a little bit of everything here: action, adventure, alien monsters, space battles, war strategies, mystery, courage in the face of hopeless tragedy, surprise twists, even some heart skipping romance. We give this one two...er...four thumbs up!

Watch for our review of book two, The Ghost Brigades, in the near future! ( )
  Becky_McKenna | May 1, 2016 |
An unsatisfying sf-milfic story. The premise is interesting (old people recruited for soldiers after they retire, refitted with super-bio-bodies), but there are just too many inconsistencies and inanities. ( )
  librisissimo | Apr 8, 2016 |
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.
In the future the soldiers who protect and fight for our colonies aren't young inexperienced youths, they are older people who have lived life and built up experiences and skills and who are then given new genetically augmented bodies who then spend the next two years fighting for Earth's colonies. This book traces the experience of John Perry as he adapts to the loss of his wife, his new genetically modified body, and his new role in life.

I am not a huge fan of military science fiction so I was a bit leery about reading this book at first, but it didn't take long for me to get sucked in. More than a military story it is a story about people, the value of life experiences and even the power of friendship and love, the military part of the story was almost a side element but a well written side element for all of that.

I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and I enjoyed how their friendships evolved over the course of the book and I found the universe the book is set in believable and interesting as well.
The pacing was fast but not overwhelmingly so, just enough to pull the story along without letting things get bogged down.
My one main complaint is with the twist that came in closer to the end that I felt really wasn't necessary and felt a bit forced, and I'm a little annoyed it seems to be the hook for the next book in the series, enough so that I'm not looking as forward to the book as I was before that plot point was introduced.
I was annoyed by it, but that wasn't enough to ruin the book for me as a whole.

Overall it was a fun, fast, entertaining read. ( )
  Kellswitch | Apr 2, 2016 |
As I have probably said before, I am not a super big fan of military science fiction, but this is a good one. Snappy dialog and interesting relationships between the characters seem to be a hallmark of Scalzi's writing. i have become a real fan of his. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Scalziprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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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 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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