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Old Man's War (2005)

by John Scalzi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Old Man's War (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,838380953 (4.06)3 / 475
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. Old Man's War Series #1Old Man's War #2The Ghost Brigades #3The Last Colony #4Zoe's Tale #5The Human Division #6The End of All Things Short fiction: "After the Coup" Other Tor Books The Android's Dream Agent to the Stars Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded Fuzzy Nation Redshirts Lock In The Collapsing Empire (forthcoming)… (more)
  1. 183
    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (ohdio, jlynno84)
    ohdio: This book contains a lot of action, while still maintaining a nice human element.
  2. 162
    Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (goodiegoodie, jlynno84)
  3. 110
    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 (The Warrior's Apprentice / The Mountains of Mourning / The Vor Game) 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
    Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (g33kgrrl)
  13. 00
    Cobra by Timothy Zahn (PhoenixFalls)
  14. 00
    Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell (tcgardner)
  15. 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)
  16. 00
    Grease Monkey by Tim Eldred (goodiegoodie)
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» See also 475 mentions

English (369)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Croatian (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Dutch (1)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  All languages (378)
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
I loved this book. Scalzi took an interesting, solidly sf concept and told me an engaging story that brought me back to read other stories in its universe, and I've enjoyed all but one of those, which is great (for both of us). My son has also enjoyed them -- even better! ( )
  terriaminute | Dec 4, 2022 |
What a fun book with a great premise. Exactly what I wanted at this moment, which was something fast paced, funny, light hearted, but with a little something to say thrown in the mix.Solid entertainment. ( )
  tuusannuuska | Dec 1, 2022 |
I thought this book was pretty good. For a while, it seemed like it was going to be boring, but somewhere around the middle of the book, it seemed to me to start rolling along toward being interesting, and by the end, I was ready for more.

I found it to be humorous, but also educational. The characters began growing on me as I figured out which ones were interesting (and which ones would live past the initial stages).

So, I'll see what the 2nd book brings. ( )
  MartyFried | Oct 9, 2022 |
Excellent read. ( )
  DarrinLett | Aug 14, 2022 |
Kind of a mix of Starship Troopers and Bill The Galactic Hero: the first year in the service of a promising new recruit for humanity's Space Army. Space Force? Gun Guys?

Not sure this needed to be spun out into a series, but since it has been, the mystery that makes up the last third of the book could have made a fine standalone novel, drawn out to full-length and utilizing suspense and intrigue instead of the mix of happenstance and lucky guesses that propel the hero forward. ( )
  mkfs | Aug 13, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)

» 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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Epigraph
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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Wikipedia in English (3)

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. Old Man's War Series #1Old Man's War #2The Ghost Brigades #3The Last Colony #4Zoe's Tale #5The Human Division #6The End of All Things Short fiction: "After the Coup" Other Tor Books The Android's Dream Agent to the Stars Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded Fuzzy Nation Redshirts Lock In The Collapsing Empire (forthcoming)

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Average: (4.06)
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