Oh, my God what a read…
Now I know what the chatter has been about in recent years, and why Old Man’s War has received so many accolades. I will preface my praise by admitting that I am an old time Heinlein fan, and I’ve got to say that Scalzi does Heinlein better than it has ever been done… ever.
I generally take a few days to a couple of weeks to read a book, depending on how engaging it is. Old Man’s War is 350 or so pages, and I read it in less than 24 hours. I cannot remember the last time I have done this. This type of novel, unassuming storytelling with cool science that is not distracting, characters I care about, hilarious one liners that double me over and a blunt sense of “this is real” that cannot be denied, is why I started reading SF. The horrors of war, losing comrades, split-second life-hinging decisions and cool science grip you and do not let go.
This is why I liked it: Scalzi elegantly handles a few of the old tropes of SF without patting himself distractingly on the back throughout the story. The sexual situations are real without being graphic, the violence is violent without being gratuitous, the science is solid without being cloying, the details are cool without being distracting, and a man’s love for his dead wife is so palpable you can cut it with a knife, without being sappy or maudlin.
Very well done, John… Much deserving of all the praise, and more!
Looking forward to the sequels: The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, and Zoe’s Tale.