John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War invites you to a world where getting old is passé. The catch is, once you decide to be young again, you give up your life to serve in the military.
Before I start, I have to state that it’s been more than a year since I read this book, so my memory of what happens is foggy at best. Why didn’t I write a review when I finished? Well, life happened. So unfortunately, this review is going to be painfully short because I don’t remember most of what happened in this novel.
Old Man’s War begins with the totally original, totally uniquely named character, John Perry. His wife died, most of his family has moved on, and he’s old. John is nearing the end of his life and he’s not taking it very well. When you reach John’s age, you get an orientation to join the Colonial Defense Forces. The CDF is basically Starship Troopers. They go to other planets and shoot stuff up.
In order for John Perry to be young again, he needs to join the CDF and say goodbye to his old life, meaning, you can no longer return to Earth.
At least, I think that was a part of the agreement. Either way, the beginning of Old Man’s War is basically a huge, enormous build up to how the characters can become young again. No one knows how they’ll be de-aged, no one knows what’s going to happen, no one knows if they’re secretly going to kill you.
I knew. I knew the second John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War made the de-aging process a mystery. Do you want to know what it is? It’s not that exciting. Any experienced reader is going to see this coming a mile away. Slight spoiler: They put their consciousness into a new body.
So John gets a new body, literally. This new body is green skinned, young (early 20’s), and equipped special blood and tissue which regenerates faster than a normal human.
And what is the first thing John does when he gets his new body? He has sex.
Can’t blame him. Women are also invited to join the CDF and they too get the perks of a new, young, fit body without any of the negatives. No STD’s, no inconvenient babies, no pain from an arthritic hip, sex without strings. Kind of a sweet deal if you think about it. These seniors are given a second go at life and it’s an interesting concept.
Old Man’s War is not a hard sci-fi book. It’s a space opera, like Star Wars, so the Sci-Fi leans towards fantasy than reality. Old Man’s War doesn’t cover topics like the dangers of technology against society or how space travel is leading humanity to its doom. It’s a story about a guy finding a new lease on life in space. Old Man’s War is fun, has a great sense of humor, and has nice pacing to keep you engaged.
In terms of flaws, the characters are too similar and forgettable. And the plot? Forget about it. I did. I don’t remember anything from the plot except that I saw every twist and turn coming. There were no secrets, no surprises, it was all very formulaic. If you go in reading Old Man’s War with these expectations, you won’t be disappointed. Although I had fun reading it, the book wasn’t particularly memorable. I simply enjoyed it and that’s about it. I will note that Old Man’s War did keep my interest invested enough to get me to buy Ghost Brigades which is Book 2. Ghost Brigades is still on my TBR pile but I’ll get to it eventually.
This time I’ll remember to review it as soon as I’m done.
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi gets a 4 out of 5 from me.