So I may have just found one of my new favourite writers (the last time this happened was reading Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box), in that I just read John Scalzi’s first novel, Old Man’s War and it was freaking amazing! Basically mix together concepts from both Joe Halderman’sThe Forever War and Robert E. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and then give them an incredibly intriguing twist and you get what this book has to offer.
To get a taste of what I’m talking about, here’s the first three sentences:
I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.
This is how we are introduced to the main character (and our genre character of the week)John Perry.
John is a retired advertisement writer who has enlisted in the Colonial Defence Forces (CDF), who supposedly defend Earth from something, but as there is a complete media blackout on what exactly service with the CDF entails, new recruits have no idea what they are in for. The rules for registration are simple, 1) You must be at least 75 years of age, and 2) You must agree to leave Earth permanently, legally listing yourself as deceased and hoping for the best.
Now on the John Perry - As a character he’s great, he’s adventurous, inquisitive and a wonderful lens to view this world through, in a lot of ways he makes me think of Miles Vorkosigan in the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster-Bujold in that he is quite clever and incredibly fast on his feet (mentally speaking).
The best part of this book (for me) was in discovering exactly what the CDF is about, so try to avoid spoilers like the Wikipedia page or Amazon reviews. In fact, if you want to enjoy the book the most, even skip reading the back cover. Trust me, it is worth the read.