I don’t know why I don’t read more science fiction. Most of the stuff I’ve come across has been pretty freaking awesome, and Old Man’s War deserves to be right up there with the best of them.
John Scalzi has an incredibly crisp and concise writing style, excelling in dialogue and tight plots. This novel was just shy of 300 pages, and it was a refreshing weekend read as a nice little break from my Wheel of Time marathon.
It feels like a short story (which is a compliment), and Scalzi skips from scene to scene effectively by starting in media res and keeping the action going. Again, the author amazes me at how quickly he can introduce new characters and settings. (It’s even more apparent in Redshirts, where he’s had about another decade of writing experience.)
In typical Scalzi fashion, Old Man’s War is a good mix of light-hearted humour with moments that were surprisingly tender and touching. I know some of you might see this as “fluff”, especially compared to some of the heavier writers like Guy Gavriel Kay and Robert Jordan, but this is a very, very well-written story. The novel accomplished what it set out to be and it’s easy to see what all the hype is about.
Now I’m reminded how much I like this sort of fiction (James S.A. Corey comes to mind easily), and am eager to continue on with this series and more Scalzi!
Note: Read this for the January pick of the Sword & Laser bookclub