Thursday, October 30, 2008
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
“I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.” So starts Old Man’s War, a different kind of military science fiction. There are two books that follow Old Man’s War; The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony. These books tell the story of John Perry and those are his words. The Earth of Perry’s time was the source of colonist for new planets (all from overcrowded third world countries) and soldiers for the Colonial Defense Force (all from the industrialized nations). If you signed up for the Colonial Defense Force all you knew was that you would leave Earth never to return, you would have to fight, and you would be made young again. People on Earth knew very little about what happened outside of their planet. The Colonial Union had become the voice for humans in space and the Colonial Defense Force was the army to enforce and protect the Colonial Unions’ policies and colonies. One of the Colonial Union’s policies was to keep Earth in the dark. This is the theme and the main conflict in this gripping series of stories. When you start with John’s story in Old Man War you don’t see this as the main theme. By the end of The Last Colony, everything falls in place. Old Man’s War is a great stand alone story. The book is filled with surprises. Old Man’s War starts as a military story and near the end you find it is also a love story. If you read the entire series it becomes humanity’s story and Earth’s story. The military part of the story becomes less important and the human aspect takes over. There are many surprises before the story arc in the three books ends where it began, at John’s wife’s grave. John Scalzi in Old Man’s War has written a must read for those of us who love Science Fiction.