Old Man's War by John Scalzi

“Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

(Old Man’s War #1)

Whenever I read Scalzi’s books, I feel like I’m reading a movie script; the books are easy to read, the dialogue feels like movie lines, and the premise of the stories is interesting but never fleshed out all that much.

I knew what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I started reading this because I had a long, long night ahead of me sitting around with my family on Lunar New Year’s Eve while they speak Chinese. I needed an interesting book, easy to read, but not too deep so this Scalzi novel was perfect for me!

This book has an interesting premise, when you retire and get old, you can join a galactic space army and get ‘body upgrades’ to make you sort of young again. The book moves along at a quick pace but he never slows down too much to tell you a lot about the world, the politics, or even the science. Scalzi is not a hard sci-fi writer. He’s like a summer action flick. There is just enough romance, witty one liners, and violence to satisfy casual sci-fi fans. He gives you just enough to enjoy the story and to make his world seem plausible. I’ve never actually gone on to read sequels to his novels. I read The Collapsing Empire, but none of the sequels.

Now back to this novel, when reading this I could detect the influence of other novels and sci-fi tropes. This certainly had a Starship Troopers feel to it. It’s a good book, if you like light sci-fi. I recommend it for a flight, or a long road trip where you want something interesting to read, but not too difficult. The characters are wooden and not all that interesting, so it doesn’t matter too much if you forget their names or the archetype they are. I’m surprised this book has such a high rating, but I figure it’s because this book appeals to a large audience and they might not be as picky about their sci-fi as I am. I’m not sure why the Hollywood folks haven’t picked up any of his books to turn them into movies, the script is practically written for them already.

I love the drill sergeant character. He reminds me of some of the great characters I met in the army.

“Now, you may think that this is some sort of generalized hatred that I will carry for the lot of you. Let me assure you that this is not the case. Each of you will fail, but you will fail in your own unique way, and therefore I will dislike each of you on an individual basis.”

Rating: ★★★ Book #11 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

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