Old Man’s War, A Book Review

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Photo courtesy of old-mans-war-movie-trailer.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of old-mans-war-movie-trailer.blogspot.com

For science fiction fans, the Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi is a must-read.  The series is set several hundred years in the future, when humanity has colonized many nearby planets and must fight other advanced alien races for the remaining real estate.  The first book is a first-person narrative of John Perry, a 75-year old man from earth who is recruited to fight for the Colonial Defense Forces or CDF, the military organization defending mankind.

Like all recruits in the CDF, John is old, and his body would be next to useless in battle, but his mind has the memories and experiences of life that most young soldiers lack.  That mind is all the CDF needs.  John and his fellow recruits undergo a consciousness transfer that puts them into new bodies cloned from their old ones.  These new bodies are vastly improved and give humanity a fighting chance for survival in a hostile universe.

Many themes are touched on, including friendship, marriage, the morality of war and what makes one human.  Aging is also a major theme at the beginning; Scalzi effectively expresses how a group of aging individuals restored to youth would likely behave and think.  His characters are quite realistic and easily capture the support of the reader as they fight their way through the universe.

Old Man’s War is joined by several sequels: The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, Zoe’s Take, The Human Division, and the soon-to-be-released The End of All Things.  Perspective shifts from John’s first-person to that of others in later books.  Readers should be warned that the realistic dialogue of the series includes strong language and violent imagery.

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