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Old Man's War [Unabridged] [Paperback]

John Scalzi
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Jun 2007

With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry's service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens.

The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring their youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including a brain-implanted computer. But all too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry must fight for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds.

'Scalzi's astonishingly proficient first novel reads like an original work by the late grand master, Robert A. Heinlein' Publishers Weekly

'Delivers fast-paced scenes of combat, and pays attention to the science underpinning his premise' San Francisco Chronicle

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Unabridged edition (1 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330452169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330452168
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Scalzi won the 2006 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and his debut novel Old Man's War was a finalist for the Hugo Award. His other novels include The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, and The Android's Dream. He lives in southern Ohio with his wife and daughter.

Product Description


'Clever dialogue, fast-paced story and strong characters.' -- The Times

About the Author

John Scalzi is an author and online writer, known for his blog Whatever, at which he has written daily on a number of topics since 1998. Old Man's War, his first novel, was a finalist in the Hugo Awards.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but light read 12 April 2011
It has taken me a long time to get round to reading this. It has an odd reputation, some regard it as a SF classic and yet others as piece of very superficial military SF. I fall between the two, I read it fairly quickly as it is a very easy and undemanding read with some interesting ideas. Having said that they are not necessarily fresh and it is not a pure classic like Forever War that has stuck in my head years after having read it.

So, here we have geriatrics being recruited to undertake some changes and regain their youth provided they become soldiers in wars being fought a long way from Earth, an Earth they will never return to.

It's easy to be critical because this does lack real depth, but it does remain an easy and entertaining read. It explores some issues about youth, love, marriage and policies of aggression but within a fast moving environment packed full of action.

So I quite enjoyed it and may pick up the sequals, but I am in no rush to do so,
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent space opera 18 Jun 2007
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Faced with a choice between dying of old age and being given another life, what would you do? What Perry, the hero of "Old Man's War" does is to take the new life and be reborn from a sick 75-year-old body into a new, young fit one. The little catch is that he has to enlist for 10 years in the military where his mission is to explore the universe, meet strange new life and civilistions... and then blow them to bits.

The personal stuff to do with his enlistment into the military is well-handled, the combat excellent and the tone of the book darkly funny. The best bit is the diversity and sheer alien-ness of the aliens. The book plays out well, and although it ends a bit abruptly, there is a sequel.

Don't understand why this isn't topping the sci-fi best seller lists - it's really very good.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Begins at Seventy-Five 5 Feb 2005
After reading about ten pages of this, I had to go back and check the title page for the author, sure that it would read Robert Heinlein, not John Scalzi. Mr. Scalzi has obviously spent some time and effort analyzing Heinlein's methods and style, and the result here is an excellent novel that reads just like a brand new Heinlein.
The opening paragraph grabs: "I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army." Simple, direct, and immediately intriguing. And from this idea of geriatric soldiers the entire story unfolds: how these advanced age people are given new, enhanced bodies, interfaced with a remarkably effective internal computer, and sent to fight the baddies of the universe. Why they must fight. What the reasons are for living. Where the human race is heading. The problems with making assumptions about other life forms - and the effect that has on diplomacy.
Plot wise, this is a series of incidents and battles in the life of a soldier, without any strong goal or endpoint in mind. But as the scenes unfold, the person that is John Perry comes into clearer and clearer focus, a quiet, unassuming man who nevertheless can think on his feet, is not dismayed by radically new things, a natural leader with seventy-five years of experience to back up his decisions and actions, a man capable of deep love. Most of the people around him are not so well realized, but they really don't need to be.
Comparison is obviously invited with Heinlein's Starship Troopers with its similar theme and environment. But where Starship Troopers is very much a coming-of-age story, this is an adult trip into the land of survival.
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
John Scalzi's debut novel, Old Man's War has an intriguing premise, some interesting science fiction concepts, and a complete ability to ignore military SF cliches that usually turn me off from this kind of book. It's a wonderful little book, violent but not overly graphic (though there are a couple of scenes that go beyond that), and it's certainly worth all of the accolades that have been heaped on it. Only the fact that it's a bit slow to get to the meat of the action drags it down even a little bit.

Earth has reached the stars, and been slammed back into isolation. Humans are out there colonizing the galaxy, but Earth itself is cut off from it, becoming almost a backwater in comparison to everything else. The Colonial Defense Force (CDF) insures that this remains so. On the other hand, once you turn seventy-five, you can enlist in the CDF, go out and see the universe, and kill lots of aliens who are out to kill you too. You'll just never see Earth again. John Perry has decided to take this route, and Old Man's War tells the story of this decision, and what he runs into when he gets out there. What he learns when he gets there is beyond what he could ever have imagined. He gets a new, grown body (green and all) that will make him young again (even if he's not completely human any more) and the extreme possibility of dying out in the mean universe. But he could be dead in ten years anyway, in a broken down body, on Earth, so why not go out where his death means something? Will John be a successful soldier, not only surviving but rising in the ranks? Or will he just be more cannon-fodder for the human colonies?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a brilliant read. it is some of the best sci fi I've read in a long time! Time to get the next book in the series...
Published 1 day ago by Zenock
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, well paced action...
Scalzi's writing is very approachable (you don't have to be a hardened SciFi nut to get through it, yet there is enough to keep a SciFi fan interested) - I think its the way that... Read more
Published 8 days ago by naw
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating premise backed up with really likeable characters
I read somewhere that the definition of art is the considered arrangement of elements in order to elicit emotion. Read more
Published 9 days ago by GOTTON
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!!
This is one of the best sci-fi story's I have read in years (and I've read a few!).
The setting and idea is truly original, this whole idea of allowing the old folk on Earth... Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. Beckett
4.0 out of 5 stars An exciting sci-fi war story
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Scalzi's writing style is elegant and easy to read, and suited well to this sort of novel. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cpl Hicks
5.0 out of 5 stars Will leave you wanting more.
Excellent tone
Will be looking for more from this series and author. Well worth a look, I could have spent far longer in this universe
Published 2 months ago by stephen mckenzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as strange as it sounds...
As I first set my upon the name of this book, I thought to myself. "You have put old people in a book meant for younger audience s, poor move". Read more
Published 2 months ago by Martin
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun and Energetic First Book Brought Low by an Improbably Perfect...
'Old Man's War' is an entertaining read. Indeed, its mixture of fascinating technology and all out galactic war makes for a brilliant setting. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jon Rosenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars a book that you can't put down
I entered this book with air of dislike as it was a part of an argument I was having with my boyfriend about who could write better fiction men or women? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rachel
5.0 out of 5 stars great
Using original concepts and ideas incorporating them with saome classic concepts from writers of this Genre Mr Scalzi has put a riveting story together thats very hard to put down.
Published 3 months ago by Topcat
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