Al Fin Affictionado

A Combination of Original Fiction and Reviews of Fiction Interesting to Al Fin and Contributors All Works Copyright as of publish date, AlFin2100 blog syndicate

Location: North America

Primary interest is seeing that the best of humanity survives long enough to reach the next level.

Friday, June 01, 2007

John Scalzi's "Old Man's War"

John Scalzi burst on the novelist's stage with an imaginative and well-written first novel: "Old Man's War (OMW)."

OMW looks at a future where humans are moving out into the galaxy, and finding out that other species are already there--and not particularly peaceable. Enough spacegoing species exist with similar planetary needs as humans, to make space colonisation a somewhat competitive and violent proposition.

To supply its need for soldiers, the Earth Colonial Defense Forces (CDF), has resorted to recruiting 75 year old senior citizens, and shipping them out with a one-way ticket off Earth for a ten year enlistment. Those who survived the ten years would be well set for many years afterward.

I left out an important part--after leaving Earth but before being trained as soldiers, the senior citizens are given new, juiced-up bodies and brains. They retain their memories and much of their genetic make-up--they simply become super-human versions of their former selves. Believe it or not, Scalzi does a quite decent job of convincing the reader of the feasibility of this transformation.

After the grueling training, the recruits are sent on a roller-coaster tour of contested planets--an experience that most do not survive. Scalzi introduces enough variety and plot twists to keep it interesting.

As a crafted work of fiction, OMW does fairly well for a first novel. Scalzi is quite the practitioner of the wise-crack, and at times goes just a bit overboard in that regard. But those incidents are mercifully short and infrequent. Overall Scalzi shows a lot of promise for the future.

Here is a sample chapter from OMW.

John Scalzi's "Old Man's War"
Newer Posts Older Posts