Old Man's War By John Scalzi

Old Man's War

By John Scalzi

  • Release Date: 2007-04-01
  • Genre: Science Fiction
Score: 4.5
From 1,106 Ratings


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 aliens willing to fight for them are common. The universe, it turns out, is a hostile place.

So: we fight. To defend Earth (a target for our new enemies, should we let them get close enough) and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has gone 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, which shields the home planet from too much knowledge of the situation. What's known to everybody is 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 your time 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.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


  • Sci Fyi That you’ve got to read.

    By arrowheadcakelady
    Old Man’s War is the best book I’ve read in a very long time. From the the first chapter I was drawn into the story and I didn’t put the book down until I was finished. This book is fast paced, action packed with humor and emotional content. If you consider yourself a reader, than it is imperative to read this book immediately.
  • Want to be young again after you “retire”?

    By DaveLevy
    The idea of “join the army, see the world” isn’t new. Even the sf addition of “meet interesting things and kill them” isn’t new. But the journey to get there and try and understand how humanity got there and where it is going is fresh and more nuanced than the golden age writers.
  • Nicely done SciFi Diversion

    By NotBrightEnough
    A nicely done science fiction diversion with only moments of techno babble. Principle character was credible without being superhero.
  • A story for older folks

    By Hlestringm
    If you are a bit older and remember science fiction from the 50’s and 60’s you tend to accept this story line better than younger folks. Plus there is a certain level of identity with the older soldier concept. Good story but could have left out some of the gratuitous sex stuff. Might be good enough to read the next in the series.
  • Once You Start...

    By Mecca4BA
    I picked up this as a paperback at a book store in Grand Central Station in NYC. Just a little something to exercise the mind. I did not expect to find such a gem. By the time you get to the action (which doesn’t take long) you’re already wondering if there’s a sequel (which there are several... including one with an interesting twist). I’d love to see this as a movie.
  • Old Man’s War

    By Want my mags back
  • This was an interesting read

    By Person 183
    Well now I tried this book and it worked as a great gate keeper to the new world (for me) of science fiction. Although I did go to my nearest old man and suggest the book to him. When I told him the name he wondered if he heard me correctly. So he asked me to write it down, and I gave it to him. He was polite and kindly excused me. Then I was off but then I heard a grunt and guessed that it was him finally figuring the implications. Of what he guessed I meant, then I started hearing tearing. So well this is a difficult book to give to people over sixty who would be considered "old".
  • Meh

    By AfraidOfPolice
    The reviews were amazing so I read it. I considered the writing to be underwhelming. Calling this guy the next heinlein is reaching for sure.
  • The 21st Century Rewrite of Heinlein's Starship Troopers

    By JohnMHammer
    I stumbled across Scalzi when a very minor character on my favorite TV show of all time was seen reading this book. Scalzi was also a creative consultant on that show so, along with other members of that show's cast and production team, I've been following him on a Twitter list for some years now. On Twitter he is funny and interesting so when this book went on sale recently I decided to buy it here in the iBooks store. The book is well-written although the characters are mostly generic and flat; even the snarky narrator and hero isn't particularly distinctive as an individual person. The action is evenly paced between exposition disguised as dialogue. It tastes like a Heinlein novel. In fact, the entire book is basically a rewrite of Starship Troopers with cloned super-bodies taking the place of battle suits and a plethora of hostile races standing in for the bugs. This is not necessarily a bad thing but Scalzi breaks no new ground here nor are cultures or concepts explored beyond a most superficial level. I enjoyed reading this book but I don't feel motivated to read the other books in this series.
  • Overrated

    By Tachyon450
    Not terrible, but the glut of 5 star reviews today is insane. There is no way to adequately compare books and ratings since standards are so low everything nowadays is 5 star. The story is interesting as long as one doesn't get too involved in an actual plot. Everyone is an enemy, kill everyone and don't make an attempt to understand the science since in the future we know even less than now. I ordered the book after reading the author got a large advance on future books. I assume his books sell well, but not really my taste.