I Recently Finished Reading: Old Man’s War

I didn’t mention this in my last book post, but I tend to listen to audiobooks more than I read printed books. It started as a convenience thing. I worked as a delivery driver through college and was sometimes spending 6+ hours per day in a car. In the beginning I listened to music on the radio, but it became really repetitive. Then I switched to news radio, but most stations repeat the same 3 stories every half hour. That got old quickly. Finally I listened to sports radio, which wasn’t quite as repetitive, but I only really like basketball, so football and baseball seasons were a little painful. That lead to audiobooks. I found I could get in a lot of reading time while working. It was fantastic and became my primary method of reading. I often have a book going during my commute, during lunch, and if my daily work is somewhat mindless, I can even listen throughout my workday.

Now, after that somewhat lengthy introduction, I’ll continue (I’ll try not to give away any spoilers, but I make no guarantees). A few days ago I finished listening to Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. The first Scalzi book I’d read was Redshirts (which was on my Hugo list… and hilarious, by the way), and I wanted to get a taste of some of his other works. I had heard good things about Old Man’s War, but nothing about the actual story, so I went in blind.

Overall, I liked the book. I like Scalzi’s humor, especially since it comes through in the characters and not the narration. It gives the characters a bit more life. John Perry, the protagonist, is likable, but not a caricature, and the supporting cast is diverse and pleasant. The plot moved along at a good pace and some nice twists were thrown in. I felt like the tone was pretty light given the fairly graphic violence of the war, but that was also part of the book’s humor.

There were certain parts of the story that I saw coming, even though I think were intended to be surprising (namely the initial procedure that prepares the volunteers for boot camp). I also felt that the final letter from Sagan was fairly predictable.

I don’t want to go on much longer, so I’ll just end by saying that the book was good. Not great, but good. I would definitely recommend it, though not as strongly as Redshirts. If nothing else, I think it just solidified my opinion on Scalzi. I’ll definitely¬†look into another of his books when I’m in the mood for something funny.


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