Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Old Man's War

Old Man's War by John Scalzi was originally published in 2005. My paperback copy is 318 pages. This very entertaining science fiction novel is full of humor, imagination, and battles. While the previous books I read were mystery science fiction, this book is military science fiction. If you like battles with super-humans vs. aliens, this could be your series. I don't want to spoil it beyond that. I can say that while I did enjoy it very much, Old Man's War is not fine literature and I can't make myself rate it higher than a 4. If you think you'll like military science fiction, though, I highly recommend it.

Synopsis from publisher:
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.
"I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army." opening sentences

"Paragraph four: I understand that by volunteering for the Colonial Defense Forces, I consent to whatsoever medical, surgical or therapeutic regimens or procedures are deemed necessary by the Colonial Defense Forces to enhance combat readiness." pg. 14

"People join because they're not ready to die and don't want to be old. They join because life on Earth isn't interesting past a certain age. Or they join to see someplace new before they die." pg. 27

"[W]e may think we have some idea of what we're getting into, but I don't think we have the first clue." pg. 35

"I had never seen so many old people in one place at one time...'It's like Wednesday morning at the world's biggest Denny's.' " pg. 41

"Yesterday we did basic intellect and emotion. Today was basic physical movement. Again, they seem interested in the foundations of high order activity." pg. 66

An introduction to your new body,
for recruits of the Colonial Defense Forces
From the staff of Colonial Genetics
Two centuries of building better bodies!" pg. 82

Additionally, each body has its own model number for maintenance purposes. You can access your own number through your BrainPal. Don't worry, you can still use your given name for everyday purposes!" pg. 84

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