Ascexis's Reviews > Old Man's War

Old Man's War by John Scalzi
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Aug 05, 07

bookshelves: sci-fi, alienworlds, reviewed
Read in June, 2007

This is an odd sort of book. Scalzi has a really neat central premise -- but the story gets lost up against it. The story is told in an oddly clinical fashion that leaves a sort of feeling that you're being given a report on story instead of the story itself. The story moves along briskly enough, but I'm left oddly unmoved by the protagonist's experience.

It doesn't help that while the premise requires that the protagonist excel at warfare etc., he surpasses all expectations -- stuns his drillmaster, saves the day in a battle as a private, is the only survivor of an inescapable attack, forces his way onto an elite squad and impresses them too ...

The protagonist himself is so unmoved by these achievements that it is only on looking back that I start to wonder if the guy has purple eyes and red hair (he doesn't *g*). The whole thing is done with a sort of detached air of nonchalance that doesn't really engage.

Briskly paced, entertaining, cool world building (if a little lacking on detail) and oddly clinical. I'm not entirely sure I *liked* it. But it was a good read.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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James I think it was refreshing that the protagonist did great things because they needed to be done rather than do things because he needed to be great.


Ascexis James wrote: "I think it was refreshing that the protagonist did great things because they needed to be done rather than do things because he needed to be great. "

Well, sort of, except that he's obliged to be the best soldier he can be, by virtue of a/ his new body and b/ his contract. No different to a peasant boy suddenly dragged off on a quest and unable to leave, he starts with nothing and rapidly outdoes the greats. He's a hi-tech genmod farmboy who goes on a quest and succeeds beyond all expectations. And there's nothing new about that at all.


Jake Kerr It's true that if you are looking for emotional depth or complexity, this isn't the book for you. Quite a few reviewers find it easy to look past that, however.


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