Old Man's War - John Scalzi

Old Man's War

By John Scalzi

  • Release Date: 2007-04-01
  • Genre: Science Fiction
Score: 4.5
From 1,279 Ratings

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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.

Old Man's War Series
#1 Old Man’s War
#2 The Ghost Brigades
#3 The Last Colony
#4 Zoe’s Tale
#5 The Human Division
#6 The End of All Things
Short fiction: “After the Coup”

Other Tor Books
The Android’s Dream
Agent to the Stars
Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded
Fuzzy Nation
Lock In
The Collapsing Empire (forthcoming)

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


  • Wonderful

    By Flash0321
    This book was such a delight to read. Out of the box writing makes you feel a part of the story.
  • Video game in print

    By casacordova
    This felt like some playing a first person shooter game wrote down the play-by-play into book form. The dialogue was funny for awhile. But neither video games, nor this written form are for me.
  • Sci Fyi That you’ve got to read.

    By arrowheadcakelady
    Old Man’s War is the best book I’ve read in a very long time. From the the first chapter I was drawn into the story and I didn’t put the book down until I was finished. This book is fast paced, action packed with humor and emotional content. If you consider yourself a reader, than it is imperative to read this book immediately.
  • Want to be young again after you “retire”?

    By DaveLevy
    The idea of “join the army, see the world” isn’t new. Even the sf addition of “meet interesting things and kill them” isn’t new. But the journey to get there and try and understand how humanity got there and where it is going is fresh and more nuanced than the golden age writers.
  • Nicely done SciFi Diversion

    By NotBrightEnough
    A nicely done science fiction diversion with only moments of techno babble. Principle character was credible without being superhero.
  • A story for older folks

    By Hlestringm
    If you are a bit older and remember science fiction from the 50’s and 60’s you tend to accept this story line better than younger folks. Plus there is a certain level of identity with the older soldier concept. Good story but could have left out some of the gratuitous sex stuff. Might be good enough to read the next in the series.
  • Once You Start...

    By Mecca4BA
    I picked up this as a paperback at a book store in Grand Central Station in NYC. Just a little something to exercise the mind. I did not expect to find such a gem. By the time you get to the action (which doesn’t take long) you’re already wondering if there’s a sequel (which there are several... including one with an interesting twist). I’d love to see this as a movie.
  • Old Man’s War

    By Want my mags back
  • This was an interesting read

    By Person 183
    Well now I tried this book and it worked as a great gate keeper to the new world (for me) of science fiction. Although I did go to my nearest old man and suggest the book to him. When I told him the name he wondered if he heard me correctly. So he asked me to write it down, and I gave it to him. He was polite and kindly excused me. Then I was off but then I heard a grunt and guessed that it was him finally figuring the implications. Of what he guessed I meant, then I started hearing tearing. So well this is a difficult book to give to people over sixty who would be considered "old".
  • Meh

    By AfraidOfPolice
    The reviews were amazing so I read it. I considered the writing to be underwhelming. Calling this guy the next heinlein is reaching for sure.