Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Scalzi, John (Old Man's War)

My friend Jane gave me the first two books in this trilogy, promising good space opera without the complacent misogyny of a dyed-in-the-wool 1950s sci-fi writer.

It is precisely so: a ripping good yarn with a "hey, we're mere mortals but we CAN save the world" theme that you would expect from a Heinlein book. But without the female characters consistently in the rearview mirror, and called "sweetie" and "honey" and "where are my slippers?" to boot.

In fact, this didn't hit home to me until John Perry, our protagonist, learns about the death of one of his space-army buddies. She dies a gruesome Army death, and does her best to the last to kill as many nasty aliens on her way out. That she's female? Not even a factor. It's like a gust of fresh air when you realize that fact.

The basic plot: Perry joins the military at 75 thinking the Colonial Defense Forces have a good thing going if they want the old brain and the old body as well. How will they modify him? How long will he need to serve? What will the aliens look like, and how will they fight?

Read and find out. I'm on the next one already, "The Ghost Brigades," and will be sad when I finish the final one, "The Last Colony."

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