Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Old Man's War by John Scalzi Book Cover

Rating: 2 Stars ★★☆☆☆

I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.



Plot

No one on earth knows much about the Colonial Union or their Defense Forces. They are the only connection to the colonies. They are more technological advanced than anyone on earth. And they take seventy-five-year-olds to join their army to defend the colonies.

John Perry joins the military on his birthday, hoping they can make him young again. After his wife’s death, there is nothing for him left on earth.

John Perry does not know what he is getting into.

Review

Old Man’s War reminded me a lot of Starship Troopers. It had the same style: the rough and gruff military guys and the casual way of dealing with characters. They appear, they die, they don’t have much impact.

Look, I really like Scalzi’s writing style. It’s so easy to get immersed in his worlds. But this book had a lot of weaknesses. One thing that annoyed me was the amount of infodumping in this book. Like sure, you’ve got cool things in this book and I don’t mind the science but do we have to get a lecture about how they work every time?

Once you’ve spun up, you only need to put minimal additional energy into the system to compensate for friction. As opposed to creating an artificial gravity field, which needs a constant and significant output of energy.



My biggest problem with the book was that it did not have a coherent storyline or characters I could get emotionally invested in.

Basically, this is the story: our character goes to a planet. He kills aliens. One of his friends dies. He goes to a planet, kills aliens. Friends die. Over and over again. We don’t even get to know the aliens they’re fighting most of the time. They all just blur together into an anonymous mass.

Our job is to go meet strange new people and cultures, and kill the sons of bitches as quickly as we possibly can. We know only what we need to know about these people in order to fight with them. They don’t exist to be anything other than an enemy, as far as we know.



The same goes for the characters.Even John’s friends are really similar. I didn’t care when they died because they were just names. Cardboard cutouts.

The only one with a bit more life to her was Jane. And the relationship between her and John bordered on creepy. Her age and the fact that she looks like his wife… just… no.

Conclusion

It’s an okay science fiction novel but a bit lifeless. I hope the next in the series are better.

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