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tannat

Tannat

Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

Infidel
Kameron Hurley
Any Other Name
Emma Newman
Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics)
Herman Melville
Manifold: Time
Stephen Baxter, Chris Schluep
Progress: 99/480pages
The Long War
Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
Progress: 68/501pages

Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1)

Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) - John Scalzi

No, just no. No more Scalzi.

This book can be entirely summarized as: old guy signs up for the military because they'll give him a young body, and he fights several uninteresting battles.

 

That's it. Don't look for cool tech, cool concepts (there was almost a cool concept with actually travelling to different universes, but Scalzi didn't run with it or bring it to its logical conclusion with finding the dead wife alive), or cool anything.

Some issues with the book:


John Perry has the option of taking a later stalk and opts for the earlier one, but the ship leaves immediately after he arrives, so if he had taken the later stalk, he would have needed to take another ship? That seems...inefficient.

I had trouble believing that John Perry just misses the green skin the first time he sees his new body. Is he colour blind? If not, how does that work? Green may be a holy colour (see The Dark Side of the Sun by Terry Pratchett), but it's not a natural skin colour.

John Perry is initially obsessed with how the CDF achieves their fountain of youth, but offers no observations on the apparent age of any of the people around him until much later in the book. The whole descriptive aspect of the book is lacking.

Where's the story? Sure, stuff happens, but it's not really connected with anything other than info dumps. And I swear the caf scenes were recreated in Red Shirts. Plus, too many caf scenes. It might as well have been a novel about high school.

I never bought that any of the characters were in the military. They seemed more like a bunch of young people strategizing for a paintball game or something. They also really didn't sound like septuagenarians.

Why is the CDF entirely American? Seems weird.

Finally, the prose style annoyed me. It had this strange combination of informal style mixed with proper English: "It's why Jane and I were on the outcropping of rock" combined with "It certainly reinforced the idea that the Consu were a race with whom we should clearly not mess" a few pages later.

(show spoiler)



Conclusion: No more Scalzi unless I get some really strong recommendations from people who know what I thought of this book. I suppose Scalzi has progressed as an author, actually, since I rated Redshirts higher, but I'm going to need some strong recommendations before I read him again.

At least The Forever War by Joe Haldeman was written in serviceable prose even if it was emotionally aloof.