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Old Man's War, by John Scalzi Book Review | SFReader.com
Old Man's War, by John Scalzi Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Tor Published: 2005 Review Posted: 10/16/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 9 out of 10
Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
Book Review by Steven Sawicki
Have you read this book?
Somehow, humans have differentiated into two different groups, one on Earth and the other out in the universe. For some reason those out in the universe don't want to share their technology with those on Earth. They do, however, want to harvest them for experience. So, they have a deal where old people can join the Colonial Defense Force and, when they reach their 75th birthday, they can head out. The CDF provides everything for free, including a new, young body, for a 10 year hitch. There are two more important things you need to know, well, maybe three. First is that the Colonials are able to transfer who you are into manufactured bodies. Second is that the universe if full of aliens and they are all pretty much fighting over a limited number of planets. Third, there are a couple of basic flaws here that you either have to ignore or just get over.
The first flaw is that if the CDF can transfer who a person is into a manufactured body, why don't they just do that and forget all this rigamarole about bringing people into space. This flaw is compounded by the fact that the CDF does not seem to care who you are or were. They take everyone. I would think they'd want those folks with actual military experience or with experience in the areas they need. The second flaw is that they operate their military according to civil war tactics, by trying to flood and overwhelm the enemy. You would think that however far into the future this is there would be an accompanying boost in military technology.
Okay, if you can get past the flaws, and I generally did, as it wasn't until I sat down to write this that they popped into my head, then you've got yourself a pretty interesting read. Scalzi follows John Perry, just turned 75 and newly joined up with the CDF. We tag along as he leaves Earth, gets the new body, gets some training and, in the tradition of Heinlein, advances through the ranks based on his common man smarts.
There are a number of battles, some interesting aliens, some interesting situations and somewhat of a twist towards the end that keep the pace moving and make the book very enjoyable. I liked it, pretty much beginning to end.
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