Old Man's War
Publishing Date: January 2005 (Tor Books)
10 Words or Less: Old people get new bodies and fight nasty aliens.
Cover Blurbage: 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.
Reviews: "Though a lot of SF writers are more or less efficiently continuing the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein, Scalzi's astonishingly proficient first novel reads like an original work by the late grand master... but Scalzi is not just recycling classic Heinlein. He's working out new twists, variations that startle even as they satisfy. This virtuoso debut pays tribute to SF's past while showing that well-worn tropes still can have real zip when they're approached with ingenuity." -- Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"Scalzi's imagined interstellar arena is coherently and compellingly delineated... His speculative elements are top-notch. His combat scenes are blood-roiling. His dialogue is suitably snappy and profane. And the moral and philosophical issues he raises... insert useful ethical burrs under the military saddle of the story." -- Paul Di Filippo, Washington Post
"This book made me laugh out loud several times; it made me smile, it made me wince in recognition, and in the end, I left it feeling happier for the experience. I wanted it to be longer. I really did." -- Michelle Sagara, Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine
"This is the way I think it happened. Like most of us, John Scalzi read Heinlein's Starship Troopers and enjoyed it. Like some of us, though, he thought he could do it better. Like nobody else, he has actually done so." -- Robert R. Chase, Revolutionsf.com (rated 10 out of 10).
"Scalzi's execution is superb. His characters inhabit bodies that are barely human, but they talk, think and respond in familiar and appealing ways. His writing is graceful and clever, with descriptions of aliens, equipment and military encounters that are flat-out terrific. Smartly conceived and thoroughly entertaining, 'Old Man's War' is a splendid novel." -- Cleveland Plain-Dealer
"A tremendous, confident SF debut" -- T.M. Wagner, SFreviews.net
"A clever, charming and joyously fun story." -- Neil Walsh, SFSite.com
Awards, etc: Nominee, Hugo Award for Best Novel, 2006; Finalist, 2006 Locus Award for Best First Novel; Featured selection, The Science Fiction Book Club (Winter 2005); Featured selection, Barnes & Noble Explorations (December 2005); A "Sci Fi Essential" book (January 2006)
Foreign Language Sales: Russian, French, Chinese, German, Japanese, Hebrew, Spanish
Personal Notes: My debut novel, and it would be hard to imagine a better reception than this one has had. I had quite a bit of fun writing this and seeing how it's fared out there in the world.
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