On his 75th birthday John Perry visits the grave of his wife and then joins the colonial defence force.
The story arc of Old Man’s War is similar to many stories within the military science fiction genre. The protagonist joins the military, attends basic training where he stands out from the group, continues on military adventures throughout the universe that culminate in a battle for the very existence of the human race. Old Man’s War does follow a formula however Scalzi is clever enough with the details that it doesn’t seem stale or tired, instead it feels like a story that is comfortable in it’s genre.
Scalzi’s writing is crisp and flows well. The first chapters of the book are the strongest, although there are some great moments if dialogue near the end of the book. At times the middle of the book feels a little like it is only there to flesh out the worldbuilding. Most of Scalzi’s speculations about the future and technology are believable with a few exceptions.
My biggest complaint with Old Man’s War is that for a book written in the first person I did not feel as connected with the protagonist as I would have liked. There is one point where John Perry has a moral crisis that doesn’t feel foreshadowed much at all and then passes too quickly to be of any great consequence.
All in all Old Man’s War was an enjoyable story and a fine debut novel. I will be enjoying more of John Scalzi’s work in the future.
Content warning; Contains violence and profanity throughout, several mild sexual references.
I give Old Man’s War 3.75 out of 5 stars.