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Summary

At 75 years old, John Perry is after a fresh start - so, naturally, he joins the army. Earth's military machine can transform elderly recruits, restoring their lost youth. But in return, its Colonial Defence Force demands two years of hazardous service in space. This is how Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA. A genetically enhanced and upgraded new body, ready for battle. But upgrades alone won't keep Perry safe. He'll be fighting for his life on the front line as he defends humanity's colonies from hostile aliens. He'll pay the price for his choices, and he'll discover the universe is even more dangerous than he imagined.

©2007 Audio Renaissance (P)2017 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Critic reviews

"Clever dialogue, fast-paced story and strong characters." ( The Times)
"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.... 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." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Solid...[Scalzi] sidesteps most of the cliches of military science fiction, delivers fast-paced scenes of combat and pays attention to the science underpinning his premise." ( San Francisco Chronicle)
"Thought-provoking!" ( Entertainment Weekly)
"Smartly conceived and thoroughly entertaining, Old Man's War is a splendid novel." ( Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"Gripping and surpassingly original. It's Starship Troopers without the lectures. It's The Forever War with better sex. It's funny, it's sad, and it's true." (Cory Doctorow)

What listeners say about Old Man's War

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unnexpectedly funny, new take on Sci Fi Cliche

At first when the book began I thought the story was going to be a slow, drab affair, but about 10 minutes in my mind was changed. I am currently 6 hours in, and think its worth writing a review already. I was listening to this in my car on a long journey home from Scotland, and at times it had me crying with laughter, particularly the drill sergeant scenes. William Dufris does a fantastic job, a minor quibble may be his grasp of the female voice for those characters, somebody else said he said like a drag queen, that's a spot on description, but it doesn't in any way detract from his excellent narration of the story, clear, concise, with a great ability at bringing home the jokes like they were meant to be read.
The story itself is a great change from the standard sci fi fayre, its not all about the tech, although it is of course mentioned and in some cases explained, its more about the characters, who are engaging and memorable. This really is worth a listen, can't recommend it enough.

Top marks. Good fun, certainly made my drive down the motorway fly by!

10 people found this helpful

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Felt Rushed

The books pacing was really bad. It felt like a list of events the author could have slowed the pace and given colour to his universe. It was rather disappointing. The conversations were one big pile of "I said, she saids" with the occasional "asked" I don't require a different descriptor for every time describing who you say something, but break it up abit... I think the narrator probably lost all meaning to the word "said" after the amount they must have used it.

4 people found this helpful

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Great Naration

Having read 3 chapters, but struggling to find the time to read the rest, I hesitantly signed up to audible so I could listen to this on my daily commute. All I can say is the story was great as expected, but the narration that I was worried about doesn't disappoint either.

4 people found this helpful

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Lazy and dull

I picked this up because I loved Scalzi's The God Engines; I can't believe this is the same author. rambling, first-thought sci-fi with paper-thin characters and a plot that only begins to emerge in the last quarter of the book. Backstory and other details are doled out only immediately before being referenced and every single thing is explained about three times. Every time it comes close to having an interesting idea it steers away from it and back to the predictable path. Awful.

3 people found this helpful

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Wow, blew me away.

The fact that I'm a 57 year old with a body that slowed down and doesnt move in the way it did when I was 20 helped me relate to the basic tenet of the book. The story ticked along at pace and ended too soon.

2 people found this helpful

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super story excellent all round idea.

love the voice acting well done. it reminded me of the internal voice i would use when reading pulp science fictiin books from the 50s and 60s. The narrator of Stranger in A Strangeland had this voice whooup.

Great story, great main character, interesting periferal characters leads well into the next book

2 people found this helpful

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Great story and wonderfully narrated.

A great story in the Avatar mould but with a complete human backstory. The characters are superbly played out by William Dufris wonderful voice acting (even if most of his women sounded pretty similar) but that can be forgiven for the lovely sarcasm and wit that shone through in the storytelling. Would recommend to anyone who loves an underdog-comes-hero type story, with a healthy dollop of space sci-if to boot.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it

I loved the book and the narration.

For me the story was something new and there was enough sci fi and personal touches in it to make it very enjoyable.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent read

One of the best stories I have listened to. Very entertaining and funny in the first quarter. Maybe as I approach 75 I can relate to the old farts and the problems of an aging body. Then a bit more seriousness enters the mix, not too much, but enough to add variety to the story. A most enjoyable read.

2 people found this helpful

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Good fun

Scalzi does a great job of world building with some accessible characters. People compare this to starship troopers and the forever war but for me the closest comparison is bill the galactic hero. As usual with scalzi there's more going on under the surface and I'm looking forward to returning to this world to learn more.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Saki
  • 16-10-18

Awesome beyond words

I’m fairly new to sci-fi and have been able to figure out what type of sci-fi I enjoy or am interested in. This was originally not the type of sci-fi I thought I would enjoy but I have been most absolutely blown away by this book and William Dufris’s performance. I have listened to him before reading cryptonomicon, which was probably one of the best books I’ve ever ‘read’, so that’s why I decided to get this book. I now I have 13 years of John Scalzi to catch up on. Thank you universe!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Neil Power
  • 23-06-17

Damn it kept me awake!

I use audio books to help me sleep by distracting from overthinking. This engrossed me.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jan Plešek
  • 05-09-18

Great book

Something between Starship Troopers and Avatar. It was my kind of taste. Looking forward for the rest of serie.

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  • gottimw
  • 07-08-18

Nothing interesting really happened in the story.

There was a light commentary on pointlessness of war and it was quickly brushed away.
The side characters deaths are pointless as they are not really fleshed out to make me care in the slightless.
The main protagonist feels flat and is somehow good at everything and will survive anything universe will throw at him.
Apart from few things it's just a boring go there and shot things plot.

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  • Ryan
  • 08-04-17

Great start to a series

If you like The Expanse or Columbus Day series you should like this.

Starts off a bit slow but towards the end you really buy into the characters and story line. Well worth the investment.

More comedy than The Expanse and at least has some sex in it which is more than I can say for some books. Excited to read the next one in the series.

1 person found this helpful