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Questions for a Soldier

(Old Man's War #1.5)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,900 ratings  ·  175 reviews
A tale set in the world of his debut novel, OLD MAN'S WAR. Published as a signed limited edition chapbook. ...more
Paperback, 30 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Subterranean Press
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Writing: 4
Story/Plot: 4
Depth/Detail: 3
Enjoyment: 4

This is a quick, down-and-dirty little short story/novella from John Scalzi, in the rather unique format of an interview transcript. It follows the main character of The Old Man's War, John Perry, as he answers questions on one of the CDF colonies. It's short but to the point, and gives a little bit of accessory stories to chew on between books. It's not groundbreaking, and it is just a nibble at best, but it's well-written and interesting, has s
This is a short story set in Scalzi's "Old Man's War" universe and involving the main character, a soldier for the star-spanning human Colonial Defense Force, from that novel after its events. It's in the form of a transcript of a Q&A session with some colonists. Presumably, it was intended to answer a few fan questions, though by now, if you have read The Ghost Brigades andThe Last Colony sequels, I don't think it will tell you anything you didn't already know, except perhaps to clarify the pol ...more
César Bustíos
I'm about to finish The Last Colony. I should have read this one before but what the hell, there are a couple of stories from Captain Perry here that are worth the reading. You also get the chance to meet Savitri for the first time.

That worm-infested planet felt very Frank Herbert:

Tudor Vlad
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a transcript of a Q&A session that John Perry had as part of a PR tour for the CDF. As far as plot goes, this short story won’t advance anything in the Old Man’s War universe, but it was really enjoyable and fun.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it

I enjoyed Old Man's War and I am now awaiting book 2 from the library, so I thought I would check out the 1.5 book listed here on Goodreads. This was just a short story and while interesting, doesn't really have that much use outside the core franchise. It's probably worth checking out if you are invested in the franchise like myself but if you are only interested in stories, you might find this lacking.
The story is just a Q&A transcript that dives into some of the questions left unanswered
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am not sure how something can be short and pedantic at the same time but this story manages it. Scalzi's novels are way better than his short stories if this is any indication. ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
This gives a nice answer to the question of "What has John Perry been up to since the end of Book 1?" but generally isn't that exciting. ...more
***SHOULD NOT COUNT TOWARDS 50 BOOK GOAL*** Despite the three stars I recommend this. If I could I'd give it three and a half stars. Centers around Perry and questions asked to him by colonists. I really liked the idea behind this story and some of the ideas explored (objective of CDF re: imperalism, etc). Like to how Perry's answers tie into the choices made in The Last Colony. If anything I wish there was more! Reason for the three stars is like with After the Coup (and granted these are short ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting Novella delivered in the form of a transcript of an after dinner style presentation by John Perry.
Basically he has random questions hurled at him some hostile and he answers them , probably a lot more honestly than the Colonial Defence forces would be happy about.
Interesting to see a few of the characters who become more central in Last Colony in a brief cameo here.
Some interesting ideas on perception from different backgrounds .
kartik narayanan
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This novella was underwhelming. It gives us a slightly larger glimpse of the 'OMW' universe, this time from a colonial's perspective. 'Questions for a soldier' gives us a peak into John Perry's victory parades, from the original OMW. He gives a Q&A and the topics covered include racism, imperialism, whether humanity can coexist in peace and his modified body. And that is all that there is. ...more
Mayank Agarwal
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fiction
A short Q & A with John Perry of Old Man's War. Strictly for fans of Perry, who want more of him. Nothing worth mentioning happens or is added to the Old Man Universe, it's just a Fan Service short story. ...more
James Kemp
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting background to the Old Man's War universe ...more
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-series
Read in May, 2015
Very brief tale set just after Old Man's War. Enjoyed the introduction of Savitri, and this story leads nicely to The Last Colony.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Little tidbits between. It reminds me of Card with his short fiction around Ender's Game. ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Old Man's War, #1.5

Short story hinting at unhappiness with the Colonial Union and the role of the CDF. John Perry answers questions from colonists - some general and some rather pointed and less than complimentary regarding the Colonial Union. This hint of unease fits nicely, as intended, between Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. In the second book The Ghost Brigades main character Jared gets an earful of dissent from the traitor who plots against the Colonial Union.

Recommend: Probably works
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Some Q&A between our hero John Perry and a handful of colonist at a dinner party. I was expecting a more from this short story. But I guess Scalzi was looking for a quick way to advertise Old Man's War for somebody who has not read book 1. Unfortunately, this short does not do the series true justice. For anybody new to Scalzi, don't let this one paint a picture. Read Old Man's War #1. ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not worth the $0.99 or the few minutes of reading. Doesn't really add anything to the story; introduces a character briefly who shows up in The Last Colony, but you don't need any of this background information about them to appreciate them. Skip this one with no downside. ...more
Hisham El-far
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great short story (28 pages or so) written in the form of an audio transcript. The event in this story takes place some when between Old Man's War and The Last Colony.

It is an account of John Perry meeting colonists on a goodwill tour of the CU.
Edward D. Bowling
Great "support" addition for the series.

This is really a novella or novelette. It doesn't take long to read but gives you a lot of foundation info and insight into the concepts that drive the series. I strongly recommend it!
The worm story reminded me of Dune, in a good way. That aside it basically talks of peace & hope. My 2 cents: peace is a pretty thought but an unattainable goal when it's easier to take something than it is to share it. And hope, well hope is the cruelest emotion that we can feel. ...more
Jan 31, 2021 rated it liked it
Fun little short story which, while it was the second thing written in this universe really seems to bridge books 1 and 3. Not essential reading but if you want a tiny bit more of this universe, it's fun enough. ...more
Sue Stones
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Not bad, but quite a lot of repetition from earlier books. The second half of the book had new material.
John Moorman
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A perfectly enjoyable short read. As the author said, essentially a deleted scene from the first book; it'll tide me over until my hold on The Ghost Brigades is ready for pick-up. ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good. Too short.

Good. Too short. I want more, and will use the required twenty words to whine about it. Nice work, nice story, nice foreshadowing.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Captain John Perry's PR tour of the colonies after the Battle of Coral. A couple of war stories to add to the first book. ...more
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
You can read this in a short visit to the toilet. So, read it.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've enjoyed the Old Man's War books, but these shorts don't seem to add much. ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good Book. :) Go 4 It
Sep 15, 2017 rated it liked it
More John Perry, yay!
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John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)

Other books in the series

Old Man's War (6 books)
  • Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1)
  • The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2)
  • The Last Colony (Old Man's War, #3)
  • Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)
  • The Human Division (Old Man's War, #5)
  • The End of All Things (Old Man's War, #6)

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