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Mon, May. 1st, 2006, 12:36 am
Reading List: Old Man’s War

Read: Old Man’s War, John Scalzi.

I’m trying to at least review faster than I read, and since I’m plowing through Dorothy Dunnett (who is seriously making me doubt whether I ever want to read historical fiction again), I may actually succeed in doing some catching up. Yay for me!

I’m generally a fan of military science fiction (Honor Harrington is my guilty pleasure!) so when I saw this book, I figured it would be pretty decent. The blurbs on the back made it sound like a geriatric Starship Troopers; I wasn’t actually a fan of the Heinlein, but the twist of old people getting sent to space for rejuvenation treatments so they can fight wars against aliens . . . well, it hooked me.

The follow-through on the basic concept was pretty solid. I’m always looking for good episodic narratives, and this book did a great job of jumping through time and space without losing your sense of place in the story. I really loved the various plot twists, particularly when they find out just what the rejuvenation treatments entail, and the reaction of a whole bunch of old farts finding out that they’re young farts now.

My biggest gripe with the book, unfortunately, was the main character. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a Gary Stu, but he’s pretty much the same character who’s the hero of ninety percent of the military and hard sci-fi books out there. (Look! I’m a rationally-minded, scientifically trained, competent and ruggedly handsome white male nerd!)

Nonetheless, I’ll definitely pick up the sequel, and hope that Scalzi learns to do character like he’s already learned to do plot. When and if he figures it out, he’ll definitely be on my HARDCORE!!! list.