Jess McCabe's Reviews > Old Man's War

Old Man's War by John Scalzi
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's review
Apr 20, 2012

did not like it
Read from April 20 to 24, 2012

Awful. 'I did this cool thing, then I saved some people, then I single handedly rescued the mission, even though I was the least qualified, then I came up with this cool idea and got promoted. I was a green superhuman too.'
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02/25/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark Koltko-Rivera @Jess McCabe: All you have done is give a triple-high-level schematic of the plot, and mock it. Thing is, it is the easiest thing in the world to mock a novel, any novel, at that level of abstraction. (Cp. Woody Allen's comment about speed-reading _War and Peace_: "It's about Russia.")

It seems that you completely missed the characterization; the love that the protagonist has for his dead-then-alive wife; the subtle meditations on aging, mortality, memory, and humanness that occur throughout the book; and, worst of all, the sheer pleasure of reading Scalzi's _writing_.

I'm a mid-50s researcher, writer, and media personality with a doctoral degree in psychology from NYU, married with 4 kids and 2 grandbabies, so I'm not exactly the slacker fanboy type. But I still was so impressed by this book that I ran out, bought everything else in the series, and scarfed them all down in about the course of two weeks. Frankly, I don't think I've read anything this good in SF since I discovered Heinlein, back in the '60s.

You're given over 1,000 words for these reviews. Surely you have the room for some detail to back up "awful." A book could be written of brilliant classics dismissed by "awful" followed by a sentence of schematic plot summary. People who read these reviews deserve better.

message 2: by Mark (new)

Mark Koltko-Rivera Incidentally, just so you don't think I'm hiding in anonymity, I am Mark Koltko-Rivera. I'm easy to find on the web, like here: . If you ever hatchet one of my future novels, please do me the courtesy of being specific as to what you waited and why.

message 3: by Marjorie (last edited Apr 24, 2012 03:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin I dunno. James Cameron liked this storyline enough to steal it and make it into a little movie called AVATAR. I think he did all right on that project, too. Made a few dollars anyway.

GMTA and there are only so many unique ideas in the universe but I think Scalzi's soldiers were wayyyyy keweler than Cameron's (notwithstanding hunky Sam Worthington who was better eye candy than any printed words John provided *smirk*) Of course, Cameron didn't bother trying to really visualize the BrainPal(tm) Can anyone top the BrainPal(tm)? Maybe Rob Sawyer's Companion in the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy (see Hominids) You might like the caveman stories better anyway. The Neanderthals were peace-lovers in Sawyer's book (very sexy blonds, too, like Norweigians!)

Robert @Jess McCabe: I understand your skepticism about doing cool things. But I promise you it is possible because this story is based on my real life experiences. They were so cool in fact that I managed to sell the rights to the Lifetime network. Lifetime then used it as the basis for their hugely successful twelve part mini-series "Britney & Kevin: Chaotic". Last April, from what I've heard, they then lost these same rights in a game of Cripple Mr. Onion to John Scalzi. John then adapted my story as a green skinned senior citizen soldier into this bibliodocumentography. Despite the unbelievable coolness I promise you I frequently wake up with nightmares and the sounds of Lilliputs being squashed under my boot echoing in my ears. Basically what I'm trying to say Jess is support our troops. God bless.

message 5: by Anne Marie (last edited Jun 23, 2012 02:42AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Marie G Eh, I enjoyed this book and I still thought your review was funny. I think Mark's a little bit over-invested in this work of fiction, perhaps? But then, I'm not a media personality with a doctorate, so what do I know?

Gyula Jess, every year several films come out from Hollywood with this plot. They make big success and huge money. What matters is that how you fill that skeleton. Scalzi did it just fine. He liked your review, and I completely understand why. You just publicised his book.
Old Man's War rocks.

Steve O I'm going to find every book you gave one star to and read... as it will surely be awesome (it's kind of like reverse psychology). :D

Joe  Noir Jess, I liked this book. I liked it a lot. I like your review even more.

Travis P I respect your opinion on this book. I enjoyed it for what it is, but It's not one that makes you a bad person for not liking it. It's a fun read. Maybe the sequels are deeper. Maybe they aren't.

message 10: by JP (new)

JP Ryding I got 3 pages in and immediately knew this was going to be exactly the way your review describes it. Thanks for saving me a lot of time!

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