M.H. Thaung's Reviews > Old Man's War

Old Man's War by John Scalzi
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At the age of seventy-five, John Perry signs up to join the off-planet Colonial Defence Force. Human colonists are settling on other planets, but various other species are also attempting the same. The job of the CDF is to defend the colonists, essentially by wiping out the aliens they come across. In return for his service, Perry will be rejuvenated with the option of becoming a colonist if he survives long enough to retire.

There's mention of friendly/allied aliens (who provided some of the advanced technology the CDF uses) but the only aliens we actually see on page are enemy forces. The purpose of aliens in this story is clearly to be eliminated, and there are a few "monster of the week" chapters covering the various battles. Towards the end, things connected up a (very) little, but I'd have liked to see something more.

I enjoyed the humorous writing style (even though I don't think rejuvenated folk would automatically start behaving like snarky teenagers), but the whole book read very much like a wish-fulfilment fantasy. The first half in particular is like a tour guide to Perry's new life. He gets his young body. He can do fantastic things. He excels at everything he tries. He comes up with ideas that none of his more experienced colleagues has even considered, and everyone thinks he's wonderful for it. Even luck is on his side, with a series of increasingly improbable coincidences. I didn't feel at any stage that he "earned" his successes through eg determination, making difficult choices, overcoming opposition, drawing on past experiences etc.

In summary, an entertaining read that is light on story.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 20, 2019 – Shelved
December 20, 2019 – Finished Reading

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