bookrev: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

5 stars: This novel shows why Scalzi won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Old Man’s War is simply amazing for a debut novel. As an author my hat is off to John Scalzi for this work. Featuring an imaginative plot with what will soon be classic science fiction settings, this is a “can’t put it down” adventure.

The premise in itself is imaginative: the Colonial Defence Force, which defends human colonies in the stars, fulfills it’s manpower requirements by signing up old men and women and “revamping” their bodies (to say more would give story points away). John Perry joins on his 75th birthday, and begins a journey which includes the revamping of his body, boot camp and battle. Along the way, different pieces of technology/culture are introduced. Some are not explained (taken for granted) but others (skip drive and beanstalk transports to name a few) are discussed as lunchtime talks between recruits, well in the flow of the story.

Scalzi’s humor is excellent, and well on display in his dialog. I actually laughed out loud at points (I usually only do that with Christopher Moore books).

There are few big philosophical ideas here (other than classic military “what are we fighting for?” concepts), and there could be quite a bit more discussed deeper. But that is a minor issue that does not diminish the enjoyment of reading this book.

Highly recommended. On to Ghost Brigades (the next story in the saga).

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