October 05, 2011
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
John Perry has just turned seventy-five. After visiting his wife's grave, he goes to enlist in the army. Unlike most programs, the Colonial Defense Forces take only those who have experience and knowledge in life, which is why they must be old. There are some rules however, despite the promise of being able to fight in an old body (they must do some kind of regeneration the enlistees believe) there are some heavy prices to pay for joining.
You are considered dead to the World and not allowed to come back to Earth. Nor can you communicate with anyone from your past. You belong to the Colonial Forces for ten years, if you make it out alive.
Not sure what to expect, he takes the special elevator to space where the main headquarters are located. There, they undergo a physical and mental exam and are introduced to how they will fight the war.
Once he is battle fit, he heads out to training. Quickly promoted a leader of his area, he gains the respect of his fellow soldiers. Once they complete training they are engaged in several battles. After a particular bad one, he believes he sees his wife, but that would be impossible as she had died eight years before.
The colonial forces must gain places in the galaxy for colonies. How will John Perry help complete that.
Scalzi writes very intriguing characters. They are real and complicated and best of all, not perfect. They all have flaws and make mistakes.
My only complaint about this novel would be the language used in it. For being hundreds of years in the future, the language is written as someone would talk now. The cuss words are all modern cuss words. When you look at history in just a mere hundred years going from "cad" to "d**k" it stands to reason that those same names would not be used that far in the future. They'd be replaced by something else. But in this novel they are not. Other patterns of speech don't seem like they follow this progression as well.
For a science fiction book it does bring in a lot of innovation. They are unique ideas and he presents them very well. I look forward to the next one in the series.
Old Man's War