Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Old Man's War by John Scalzi

I finished reading Old Man's War by John Scalzi. I bought the book in March after seeing it on the list of books nominated for the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Novel. After slogging through the Picasso biography, I was looking for somewhat lighter to read.

The basic premise of the book reminds me of several other science fiction books that I have read, including Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Joe Haldeman's The Forever War and John Steakley's Armor. Additionally, much like David Brin's Uplift novels, the story is set in a universe heavily populated with life forms. Old Man's War has enough new ideas to set it apart and keep it interesting.

After being inducted into the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF), the protagonist must learn to survive in battle against a wide variety of aliens. While the soldiers in Starship Troopers, The Forever War and Armor relied on powered body armor to gain advantage over their aliens, the soldiers in Old Man's War have enhanced DNA, nanotechnology and neural implants giving them advantages in strength, speed, endurance and information processing.

The book was just the right change of pace that I was looking for. As I have said before, I read science fiction partly because I love to see how authors play with ideas about technology; this is a good example. I enjoyed Old Man's War enough that I am definitely going to read the sequel.

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