Friday, 3 July 2015

Book Review - Old Mans War


In a brief break from reading the things I don’t normally read, I took a moment to read something of the type that I used to read all the time.  Fast paced, high energy science fiction that doesn’t slow down till you hit the end.  Read through a bunch of reviews and the name John Scalzi kept coming up, so I picked up his first book and gave it a shot.

It starts with an interesting premise.  People sign up for the military aged 65 and are inducted into the military aged 75.  John Perry, the main character, lost his wife to a stroke a short while ago, and has now come to the point where it’s time to fulfil his obligation.

Two days later and I was done with the book and looking for book two...

It’s not about old people going off to war, the recruits get new bodies with which to fight (Avatar style, but long before Avatar came out...), and while those bodies are state of the art and well beyond the abilities of normal humans, they are the bare minimum required to fight in the wars of the universe.

The book doesn’t focus on the combat aspect of things, rather painting the picture that the world is different out there, and that a person of 75 with a whole lifetime of experience to draw on, would be a far more dangerous person to deal with if you just gave them their youth back.  There’s also the psychological aspect, that if a person was at the end of everything and you offered them a decade in service in return for a new life, most would at least consider it.

There are a few action scenes, wars on different worlds with different creatures, but the story doesn’t linger on them at all, using them as a punchline that the wars are deadly and most don’t make it through them.  There is a little character building for the expendables, but the story belongs to John Perry, a man of senior age who speaks and thinks far more like young men should speak and think, and that’s what captured me.

Here’s a writer who understands that it’s not the mind that gets old, it’s the body, most people in senior years still want to be every bit as active (if not moreso) as they were when they were younger, it’s just their body that doesn’t let them...

The story does feel more like it’s been set up to lead into other books, it’s really just getting interesting when the first book finishes, but the first book is self contained.  It would be possible to leave it where it finishes and draw your own conclusions, but I am interested in seeing where it will go, so expect a review of the second shortly...


Excellent book, this is the reason I read stories...

No comments:

Post a Comment