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When it comes to looking age-related illness and death in the face these good citizens of America (I don't think any other country's ...
on 11 February 2018
n interesting and unusual concept. When coming to the end of their life individuals can sign up for the army - no not an earth-bound army of geriatrics, but an army, newly rejuvenated, defending colonies in the galaxy from the predations of many races whose prime objective is to massacre (and possibly eat) colonists who are occupying planets they want. (It seems that humanity hasn't actually discovered any peaceful alien species.) The Colonial Defence Force gets young, fit soldiers with mature minds. When it comes to looking age-related illness and death in the face these good citizens of America (I don't think any other country's individuals are mentioned) overturn their pacifist beliefs and take a leap of faith. And leap of faith it is, because though they know there's a rejuvenation process, they don't know what it is or how it works, and they don't know what horrors they're going to be facing out there. It turns out things are way more extreme than they ever imagined, both in terms of their bodies, and in terms of the likely death rate amongst recruits.
John Perry and his wife sign up at the age of sixty-five for service ten years hence. His wife, unfortunately, drops dead with no warning, so John, a few years later, goes off alone, knowing that he'll never see earth again. If he survives he'll be given a homestead on a colony planet. On board the transport he meets up with a bunch of similar individuals and they bond, calling themselves the Old Farts. But they don't stay old for long. The reality of their rejuvenation is stranger than they could have imagined. They are mostly split up, but they keep in touch and a series of skirmishes against enemy aliens takes the lives of some of them. Things get even stranger when John is injured and sees his wife in the rescue party…
I really enjoyed reading this though I did wonder about the logic of it all, especially when the rational for the Ghost Brigades came into play. Why did they need all those mature minds when eighty percent of them were likely to die? As it turned out John Perry's mature mind comes in handy and he's a likeable main character. The pacing is great. It's a real page-turner. I heartily recommend this despite my old fart misgivings about the logic of old people abandoning the beliefs of a lifetime to go to war against aliens.