Audiobooks have become quite the help for me in this challenge. I started listening to them with this book, because I figured I could get some “reading” done in the car to and from work and whenever I was walking somewhere. I used to listen to audiobooks all the time a few years ago, but then I got turned onto podcasts and just kind of forgot about the books. Now I’m at it again and it’s made up for like half of my books at this point. I don’t think I would be keeping up with the pace without them, to be honest.
Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
This was the first book this year that I was really excited to read. I’ve been looking at John Scalzi for a while, been following him on Twitter and whatnot. He’s a cool, thoughtful, funny guy and it seemed like his books would be right up my alley. That was correct. Classic space action is something I’ve read dozens of books about already, mainly in the BattleTech universe. It felt good to go back to that genre. I put the book in the category called “A book by an author you’ve never read before” after going back and forth a few times.
The quick rundown of the story is that John Perry turns 75 and enlists in the Colonial Defense Forces. He gets a new and heavily improved body and has all sorts of adventures. It’s written in first person and there are no slow parts in the narrative. The story is always moving forward, either with action or witty banter. Perry has good things and bad things happen to him and I think Scalzi does a good job conveying the wisdom of a man who’s lived a full life already, while also discovering a new world outside of regular, old Earth. He covers the sci-fi, nerdy stuff like space travel in a way that’s easy enough to understand, making Perry not have “enough math” to understand the hardcore facets of it. And there’s aliens in it, several different species too!
The main character is likeable and you sympathize with him through his ordeals. It’s sad when it has to be, funny when it has to be and serious when it has to be. It strikes the right balance. The action parts of the books are descriptive and paints a good picture. I was never confused about what was happening. At the same time the emotional parts of the book are really spot on.
As I said, I listened to this as an audiobook and the narrator was spot on. That’s really important for me. I actually removed another book from my originally planned list just because the audiobook version I had of it had a really bad narrator with an even worse audio quality.
This book has gotten a few sequels, with at least one more planned for release, and I’m definitely going to read them at some point in the future. I also got myself Scalzi’s new book Lock-in recently just because this was such a good experience.
I rated this 5 out of 5 on Goodreads. Finished it on February 7th.