Old Man’s War – John Scalzi

Earth is a backwater, kept in a sort of information embargo about humanity’s various off world colonies. Developing countries send colonists in droves, but in America the only option if you want to leave is to enlist in the Colonial Defense Force (CDF). There’s a catch, though. You can only enlist when you turn seventy-five. Details of what awaits the recruits are scant, and all ties to Earth are severed after enlistment. The whole thing is more or less a leap of faith. As it turns out, the Universe is a scary place and the CDF is more or less constantly at war. The recruits are rejuvenated, trained and sent out.

Our hero John Perry is one of these recruits. It is very interesting to see the story told from an old person’s viewpoint. All the recruits are old, and they don’t see things like youngsters do. It certainly makes a change from young people going to war. Perry does not know what to expect, and what he finds out there is far stranger than he ever imagined.

I enjoyed this book immensely. The main character is very likeable. He is basically Mr. Middle America (in the good way), but with the usual quirks to be expected after a lifetime. The pacing is excellent, unhurried but without bogging down. It is very strongly inspired by “Starship Troopers”, and as inspirations go one could do worse.

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