[Book Review] Old Man's War

Old Man's War / John Scalzi

July has proven to be a horrible month for me, so I went for a light read as the Virtual Speculation pick.  Old Man's War is a light military SF read, written in a similar tradition of Starship Troopers, but it also manages to act as both a tribute and satire.

Title page of Old Man's War by John Scalzi.  Autographed and snscribed with "Tegan, thanks for the brownies!  You rock!"In general I enjoy Scalzi's work.  Fun, light reads, and he's proven to be a pretty good person as well.  This is the second Scalzi read I've done, the first being Lock-In (which I've still failed to post an actual review of).  I've also met Scalzi several times, the last time being several months ago where, as the inscription on my copy of Old Man's War indicates, I brought brownies to the author event.  In case you were wondering, it was a giant star brownie.  Sadly, I was trying a new recipe for making them from scratch, and it was not my best baking result.  (Sorry, John).

I ended up sitting down and reading the book in three days.  It would have been fewer, but I read another book in the middle of that.  As I indicated, it's not a heavy read.  Almost all aspects of the book is kept relatively light, and you know what, that's exactly what I wanted.

Discussion Fodder:
  • In what ways does Old Man's War compare or contrast to similar military SF (Starship Troopers, The Forever War, others)?
  • What do you think of the logic behind CDF recruitment, and the choice of the recruits?
  • Let's talk about colonialism!  The CDF espouses a pretty strong expansionist policy, one that relies heavily on use of military force against alien races.  How do their arguments stand or fall in the face of more technology advanced aliens?
  • The Ghost Brigades are made up of recruits who die before they receive their new bodies.  How does this change their personal development?  What are all the ethical complications of their existence?
  • What makes something military SF?


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