Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Stuck in Input Mode

Thanks to amberley I read all of John Scalzi's Old Man's War, and plan to ride my little bike to Border to pick up all the other books in the series as soon as I can lay my hot little hands on them.

Old Man's War starts with 75-year-old John Perry, as he visits his wife's grave and then goes to enlist in the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF). It's a one-way trip, he knows it, and has no concept as to exactly what's going to happen, other than he knows that he's enlisting in an army to defend human colonies and he's signed a waver that allows them to do whatever they want to his body and mind to make it possible for him to fight.

r0ck3tsci3ntist, remember when you pointed me at your friend's blog? And the first thing I really got out of it was that if people want to go to the stars, the whole super-human/transhuman metamorphosis would be hand-in-hand with getting to those stars? Well, this novel has exactly that, but so solidly written that I just had to sit down after the first two scenes. Just the first two #$@)(*! scenes. And I kept having to put the book down just to digest not just what I was reading but how it was written.

Since it starts with someone that knows nothing, and you get to follow him in, everything comes in these layers of information as he can comprehend it, you can, too, and most of it is through how it directly affects the protagonist and his friends and the people that he comes to care about and for. I loved the setup, I loved how the technology is introduced, and I love, love, love the whole plot line and how everything comes together in the end from everything John Perry learns and does and how he's lived. And I loved the protagonist with his dry sense of humor and being able to see stuff from his experiences that he wouldn't have figured out if he were any younger. It's an interesting balance.

A quote from one of those first two scenes: "The recruiting office was a small storefront in a nondescript strip mall; there was a state liquor authority store on one end of it and a tattoo parlor on the other. Depending on what order you went into each, you could wake up the next morning in some serious trouble."

And: "Look, you: When you're twenty-five, thirty-five, forty-five or even fifty-five, you can still feel good about your chances to take on the world. When you're sixty-five and your body is looking down the road at imminent physical ruin, these mysterious "medical, surgical and therapeutic regimens and procedures" begin to sound interesting. Then you're seventy-five, friends are dead, and you've replaced at least one major organ; you have to pee four times a night, and you can't go up a flight of stairs without being a little winded--and you're told you're in pretty good shape for your age.

Trading that in for a decade of fresh life in a combat zone begins to look like a hell of a bargain. Especially because if you don't, in a decade you'll be eighty-five, and then the only difference between you and a raisin will be that while you're both wrinkled and without a prostate, the raisin never had a prostate to begin with."

It's that astonishing sense of humor and the detailing, and the whole approach to it that just makes me really happy with this book.

The second book is from the viewpoint of someone that's lived the CDF life her entire life, literally, and I'm really excited about seeing how he brings that all in.

So, yeah, I didn't write much of anything today. *grins*
Tags: books, review
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