Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
Old man's war
2007
Availability
Map It
Annotations

Enlisting in the army on his seventy-fifth birthday, John Perry joins an interstellar war between Earth and alien enemies who would stake claims on the few existing inhabitable planets, unaware that the conflict involves much more than he understands. A first novel. By the author of The Rough Guide to the Universe. Reprint. - (Baker & Taylor)

Enlisting in the army on his seventy-fifth birthday, John Perry joins an interstellar war between Earth and alien enemies who would stake claims on the few existing inhabitable planets, unaware that the conflict involves much more than he understands. - (Baker & Taylor)

A stunning novel of the long war for human survival--in a universe replete with hostility

- (McMillan Palgrave)

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce—and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You'll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You'll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you'll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine—and what he will become is far stranger.

Old Man's War Series
#1 Old Man’s War
#2 The Ghost Brigades
#3 The Last Colony
#4 Zoe’s Tale
#5 The Human Division
#6 The End of All Things
Short fiction: “After the Coup”

Other Tor Books
The Android’s Dream
Agent to the Stars
Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded
Fuzzy Nation
Redshirts
Lock In
The Collapsing Empire (forthcoming)

- (McMillan Palgrave)

Author Biography

John Scalzi won the 2006 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and Old Man's War, his debut novel, was a finalist for science fiction's Hugo Award. His other books include The Ghost Brigades, The Android's Dream and The Last Colony. He has won the Hugo Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for science-fiction, the Seiun, The Kurd Lasswitz and the Geffen awards. His weblog, Whatever, is one of the most widely-read web sites in modern SF. Born and raised in California, Scalzi studied at the University of Chicago. He lives in southern Ohio with his wife and daughter.

- (McMillan Palgrave)

First Chapter or Excerpt
"In this room right now are 1,022 recruits," Lt. Colonel Higgee said. "Two years from today, 400 of you will be dead."

Higgee stood in the front of the theater, again. This time, he had a backdrop: Beta Pyxis III floated behind him, a massive marble streaked with blue, white, green and brown

"In the third year," he continued, "another 100 of you will die. Another 150 in years four and five. After ten years -- and yes, recruits, you will most likely be required to serve a full ten years -- 750 of you have been killed in the line of duty. Three quarters of you, gone. These have been the survival statistics -- not just for the last ten or twenty years, but for the over two hundred years the Colonial Defense Forces have been active."

There was dead silence.

"I know what you're thinking right now, because I was thinking it when I was in your place," Lt. Colonel Higgee said. "You're thinking -- what the hell am I doing here? This guy is telling me I'm going to be dead in ten years! But remember that back home, you most likely would have been dead in ten years, too -- frail and old, dying a useless death. You may die in the Colonial Defense Forces. You probably will die in the Colonial Defense Forces. But your death will not be a useless one. You'll have died to keep humanity alive in our universe."

Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left him: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry's service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens. The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including fast-clotting "smartblood" and a brain-implanted personal computer. All too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry fights for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds. Scalzi's blending of wry humor and futuristic warfare recalls Joe Haldeman's classic, The Forever War (1974), and strikes the right fan--pleasing chords to probably garner major sf award nominations. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

When humanity reaches the stars, it discovers that it must defend its claim to new planets against alien races with similar expansionist tendencies. To ensure the expertise of its soldiers, Earth creates the Colonial Defense Force, an army of men and women otherwise classified as senior citizens, who give up their lives on Earth for an uncertain and perilous future among the stars. Scalzi's first novel presents a new approach to military sf, boasting an unusual cast of senior citizens as heroes. A good choice for most libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Though a lot of SF writers are more or less efficiently continuing the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein, Scalzi's astonishingly proficient first novel reads like an original work by the late grand master. Seventy-five-year-old John Perry joins the Colonial Defense Force because he has nothing to keep him on Earth. Suddenly installed in a better-than-new young body, he begins developing loyalty toward his comrades in arms as they battle aliens for habitable planets in a crowded galaxy. As bloody combat experiences pile up, Perry begins wondering whether the slaughter is justified; in short, is being a warrior really a good thing, let alone being human? The definition of "human" keeps expanding as Perry is pushed through a series of mind-stretching revelations. The story obviously resembles such novels as Starship Trooper and Time Enough for Love, but Scalzi is not just recycling classic Heinlein. He's working out new twists, variations that startle even as they satisfy. The novel's tone is right on target, too-sentimentality balanced by hardheaded calculation, know-it-all smugness moderated by innocent wonder. This virtuoso debut pays tribute to SF's past while showing that well-worn tropes still can have real zip when they're approached with ingenuity. (Jan. 1)Forecasts: Blurbs from Cory Doctorow, Robert Charles Wilson and Ken MacLeod will help ensure this gets more than the usual attention for first novels. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1