Old Man's War

Thoughts on John Scalzi's Old Man's War

Old Man's War  is my introduction to John Scalzi and it has one of the most interesting first lines I can ever remember reading:

“I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.”

Hooked! My first thoughts were, “Aw, that’s sad” followed immediately by “What the? How can he?” I had to know more. The explanation of how and why the main character could enlist in the army as a septuagenarian pulled me into the story and Scalzi’s ability to tell a story where awful things happen in a humorous way kept me there. The action reminded me of the movie “Starship Troopers” in that is it violent and gory but presented with a humorous tone. His writing style is comfortable, easy to nestle into. Reading this book is almost like coasting a bicycle down a hill. You start under your own power, then physics takes over and you squint into the wind, letting gravity do the rest until the hill flattens out and you come to an easy stop, satisfied with the ride. Part III adds some heart to the story that I thought was sweet, but that also gave me some concerns about how the story might end. I am pleased to say that Scalzi surprised me.

After finishing the novel, most readers will be considering whether or not they would enlist. I’m not sure I would but I can certainly understand why so many in my book club would jump at the opportunity. I will, however, jump at the opportunity to read the next Scalzi book I find.