Old Man’s War

On Friday, I received my latest package from Amazon, which included four CDs and two books, including John Scalzi‘s debut novel, Old Man’s War. Despite the fact that I have a solid list of things to read (before new stuff), I really couldn’t resist taking a little peek at the first chapter. Really, just the one chapter and then it’s back to Blueheart.

Before I finally went to bed Friday night, I was six chapters in. Closing the book after Saturday night at 6 a.m. Sunday, I had polished off more than half the book. This afternoon, I finished it and here I am, fifteen minutes after the last paragraph of the intro blurb to the sequel, staring at the cover.

John Scalzi takes us on a satisfying thrill-ride, tagging along with our protagonist, John Perry, as he joins the army in old age after losing his wife to a stroke. Immediately, he befriends six other geriatric soldiers, who vow to remain friends despite receiving duty stations in various combat units. We follow his exploits as he enters combat training, experiences his first battles, and gains notoriety after several strokes of ingenuity garner the attention of his chain of command.

Old Man’s War is fairly short, particularly compared with the books I have markers in at the moment, but it’s exceptionally well-written. The action is intense and dramatic. The characters are round, believable, and unique. The descriptions of planets, life forms, and intelligent alien species (particularly the ones fighting against our protagonists) are well-thought out and fairly thorough. If we can expect more novels like this in Mr. Scalzi’s writing career, you can mark me down as a fan.

My grade: A.


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