Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Old Man's War

I was recently asked (Ryann’s note–ahem, that was me, sister!) who I would have on the top of my list for fictional boyfriends. So many to choose from, right? It’s nigh on impossible to pick just one, but I happen to be reading Old Man’s War at the time and boy oh boy did main character John Perry make an impression on me.

And yes, okay, John Perry is technically 75 years old. And fine, he might be a wee bit on the green side, but still. He is a character that you just can’t help but root for, can’t help but want to get to know better, and can’t help but love.

Old Man’s War is a book that’s seen more reviews than…I don’t know, other stuff that’s been reviewed a lot. So I hesitated to include it here. But to borrow from author John Scalzi, I say to that, “Whatever.” There is a reason so many people talk about it – it’s the same reason I want to talk about it. Plain and simple, it’s a book I got lost in and if you haven’t read it yet, you need to. It. Is. Amazing.

Opening line: “I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the Army.” Amazing.

Maggie’s poem: “Do not mourn me, friends I fall as a shooting star Into the next life” Amazing.

And toward the end, when I read the line: “Where the hell did I put that ammo clip-“ I thought, “Oh no, oh no, not again!” And at the same time, “Holy crap and a half, the way he brought the story back around to this point? Effing amazing.”

Yes, I am being purposely vague because I so do not want to spoil this for any of you who haven’t yet read it. I almost wish I hadn’t read it, just so I could discover it all over again.

Old Man’s War is a brilliant tale of classic multi-verse science fiction, complete with creepy aliens, fascinating and believable futuristic technology, and a top secret military bent on colonizing and conquering everything. Combined with that is a beautifully crafted and heartfelt love story that spans space and time-and lifetimes. Scalzi weaves fine strands of morality in throughout the story in a way that doesn’t feel in the least preachy or judgmental, yet really made me think. He writes without bias about the nature of humans (or any sentient being, really) and he allows me, the reader, to take from it what I will.

If you like to question without being led, enjoy finding heroes worthy of the name, and love the feeling of wanting to immediately start the book over the moment the last page is read, then Old Man’s War is for you.

Scalzi readers, what is your favorite line from Old Man’s War? Or, if you’ve never read it, do you have another favorite Scalzi book you’d like to share?

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6 Responses

  1. What a FABULOUS book, right? *Cough*

    I’m so glad to see this excellent book reviewed here and you’ve nailed all the reasons behind its genius. There are too many lines for me to quote my favorites, but I’ll single out Sgt. Ruiz’s rant/explanation behind his admiration for Willie Wheelie. That entire passage, actually, is brilliant with a capital B.

    I love this book with the passion of a hundred blazing suns and also converted by son and husband to Scalzi fans. As they should be.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. “Ruiz’s feral grin was back; obviously he had it in for those who worked with words. ‘Tell me you wrote fiction, recruit,’ he said. ‘I have a bone to pick with novelists.'”

    That entire scene may be one of the best things I’ve ever read in a sci-fi novel.

  3. I probably wouldn’t have ever even read the back of this book, but after reading your review I feel inspired! Not only to read the back of the book, but the inside too!

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