The other week I read an interesting book called Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. It reminded me a bit of Starship Troopers (the novel, not the film) as it is written in first person and tells the story of a Colonial Defense Force recruit’s journey from civilian to seasoned veteran. It lacks the political analysis of Heinlein’s book and adds some interesting twists of its own.
Earth is a backwater planet. It may be the origin point of humanity in the galaxy, but it’s not the central power in human policy. When we join the main character he is seventy-five years old and leaving Earth to join the military. We travel along with him as he discovers just how the CDF can turn back the clock and enable an old man to become a soldier. That’s just the tip of the character’s ignorance iceberg. The Colonial Union has kept earth in the dark regarding “what’s out there”. Once you leave earth, you can’t come back nor can you call or write.
I really enjoyed the book as a fine space romp. The first person perspective allows the reader to discover the universe along with the protagonist. Scalzi did a pretty good job of building the world, giving background information, etc. in a way that didn’t bog the story down. The world he presents in this book and it’s sequels was interesting enough that I began to incorporate different bits into my sci-fi role-playing game world. We’ll see how they play out.