Monday, March 9, 2009

Old Man's War by John Scalzi

”John Berry did two things on his seventy-fifth birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army”.
Humans have expanded to space, but there are aliens there, also. And for the most part they aren’t really nice and cuddly. Habitable planets are very rare, and there is very intense competition of them, and that competition leads very often to military interventions. Space colonialisation, and especially military actions, are lead by Colonial Defence Forces. Everyone in western countries gets a choice to join the military after their seventy-fifth birthday. The military service is said to last at least two years, but no longer than ten years, and after that the survivors are able to move to a colony planet if they wish. There aren’t too many survivors, though. The challenges which the characters meet are often dangerous, and often ethically and morally very much to the gray zone. This first book didn’t explore very much the ethical side of war, but it seems that side will be explored in more detail in the second part (and even more in the third part – which I have already read)

The book is well written, exiting, very much in style of Robert Heinlein at his best. Better than Heinlein, though, in my opinion. If this book had been written in 60s or 70s, this would probably be one of the great classics of science fiction. Nowadays, one might not get the greatest admiration by writing very well told, fast moving space operatic military science fiction, but, boy, isn’t it fun to read sometimes! I have read one book by John Scalzi earlier, which as mentioned is in fact the third part of a trilogy started with this one. That was a book I enjoyed, but this was clearly better – of course probably partly because starting from the third part isn’t usually advisable.

1 comment:

Marko Susimetsä said...

Thank you for the great blog and the tip - I'll be sure to check this one out! :)