Old Man’s WarMarch 10, 2015
As the first novel of John Scalzi, I am quite impressed. Maybe the novel is a bit Heinleinesque, but I think it is alright. What is new under the sun anyway…
The story is following a male protagonist, John Perry, who joined CDF at his 75th birthday, which is according to the regulation for an American citizen who wants to join the CDF. He met all his companion with the same ages, therefore created an army of elderly, hence the title.
The plot is interesting, at least for the first half of the novel. It is everything that you can expect from a military sci-fi. The boot camp (but for old people), the technology enhanced super soldier, and super weapon, and the camaraderie among the recruits. It is interesting to see that technological difference also alter the method of the military training, for better of worst.
As a single novel, I think it is very good. But if you want to make it a big space opera, I don’t think so. The world building seems lacking. The relation between Earth and the CDF is not really explained. It looks like the Earth is isolated from the interstellar conflict without any reason.
I cannot help to compared it with Starship Troopers. You have the same army recruit story, and the battle against aliens. The good thing about Starship Troopers is that it is not just telling us about the battle against the bugs. It is telling us about the human condition as well. The is exactly the weaknes in The Old Man’s War. It is not telling us enough about the human condition. There seems to be a break betweem the Old Man and the War. There seems to be almost no difference if the title is change to the Young Man’s War, except for the first half of the novel.
I am not saying that it is not a great novel. It is, and it is thoroughly enjoyable to read. But it is enough to make it to five stars. So, FOUR STAR it is.