Review: Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi

I’d heard this one mentioned in a lot of circles, so I figured it was time to finally pick up my copy and read it.

This book gets talked about a lot. Partly it’s that it had an unusual road to print, starting off as a free posting on the web. Part of it is also that the author, John Scalzi, is a well-known and prolific blogger. He’s also the current president of SFWA. But there were also plenty of folks raving about just how amazing the book is.

In short, it’s been put up on the pedestal alongside the sliced bread of SF. It had a lot to live up to. So I find myself in an odd position. I really did enjoy it. It was a fun story, and I would recommend it to friends. But it simply wasn’t the amazing genre-changer some folks had made it out to be.

So, the hype wasn’t really fair to it. It was good, just not that good.

Now, with that opening compliment twisted into an insult, let me repeat that it was a good book. I really enjoyed it. It was one of those books that I found myself saying to my wife, “I’m really enjoying this book.” I suppose that’s the very literal definition of a remarkably good book.

Now, if you haven’t heard anything about it, it’s the story of an old man who goes off to war. Normally, you’d think that 75-year-old’s are a bad fit for infantry, especially when going up against some of the most vicious monsters you can imagine. But in this particular case, these geezers are a perfect fit. How can that be? Well, the answer to that question is just one of the things that made this such a good book.

So check it out.

Just don’t buy into the hype.