About three months ago I read John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. It was brought to my attention by numerous references over at Instapundit, and after hearing enough positive things about it I decided to read it. I actually purchased a hardcover copy off of Amazon. I’m finding that blogs have enormous persuasive power with me when it comes to music, movies, and books. If a blog I read and respect has positive comments about something, I almost always make an effort to at least check it out online.
Old Man’s War is Scalzi’s first foray into science-fiction, and he makes a pretty good showing for himself. The main premise behind the story is in the future the human species has expanded far beyond Earth but is locked in unending mortal combat with alien species, grabbing as many star systems as possible. In this future, the soldiers are not the youth but the old. Through a variety of high-tech bodily upgrades and enhancements each person is transformed into a super-human soldier equipped with stronger muscles, a brain computer, and ramped up sensory perception. Of course, the soldiers are then trained to be the ultimate killing machine so that they might, just might, have a chance to survive when fighting aliens. And the aliens in Old Man’s War are vicious and merciless. The reader follows the hero of the book from the time he first enlists at 75, through training, numerous battles, and finally to the last epic battle to capture a devastating piece of alien technology.
As a nerd, I really enjoyed reading this book, which was proven by the fact that I read it in 8 hours and on top of my school readings. The technology described in the book has a lot of wow factor. Many times I felt the way I did when I read the first chapter of Starship Troopers. There are some really cool toys in future, and I want them. For me, the universe of the book is the best part about it. Everything from the technology to the aliens to the environments were fun to read about. And that’s what science-fiction is about right? Fun? I think so. I just want a gripping plot that propels me from Point A to Point B. As long as it does that I can overlook other short comings in the story.
Scalzi’s writing style isn’t anything to write home about, but I don’t read science-fiction for the superb writing. But I have a soft spot for Scalzi anyway. He blogs, has an iMac, and gave free electronic copies of Old Man’s War to the troops. This guy is cool and his books are cool too. I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel to Old Man’s War.