Title: Old Man's War
Author: John Scalzi
Series: Old Man's War, #1
Format: Trade Paperback
I love John Scalzi. I read Fuzzy Nation in the past year as well, and there's just something about his writing that works for me. I'd read Old Man's War in the past, but this wasn't really a nostalgia reread, as much as a general reread, as I was planning on doing a refresher for reading The Ghost Brigades. (Which I will be starting as soon as I finish writing this review.)
I guess what I love the most about this book is that John Scalzi takes military scifi and turns it into something that defies most of the tropes. It's probably the way he manages to throw down a veneer of humor that does it. I feel like a lot of the basis of the military scifi genre relies on things being pretty serious. But in this case, Scalzi tries to duck out of a lot of the serious stuff.
Except where he doesn't. He does cover how it's possible to be anti one war and not be anti-war in general. He covers the pain of losing a spouse to a stroke. But these things aren't the focus. For the most part, we're swept along on semi-comical adventures that are light enough to breeze through pretty quickly.
Yet, this still doesn't feel like a cupcake. I feel like I get more out of his books than I get out of books like The Parasol Protectorate, even if they're amusing and fun.
So, the premise (with some mild spoilers):
Seventy-five-year-olds are recruited for interstellar war. They're downloaded into a super clone version of their twenty-year-old self so they can fight improbable wars. After all, we have no idea what an alien war is ever going to be like. Casualties are high.
There's a subplot about his dead wife who was going to enlist but died before she could, from a stroke. It's mostly addressed towards the end and felt a little bit thrown in. In fact, I'd say that's the trouble I have with most of Scalzi's books... the ends just don't hit it for me. It feels like things are rushed or just not quite the right note.
It's hard to complain too much about this book, though. Especially as I'm about to go read the next one right now. Expect more Scalzi soon.