Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Old Man's War

Old Man's War, John Scalzi

After the success of another Scalzi novel, The Collapsing Empire, this one sounded like a nicely offbeat and interesting read. A story about an old man who, unexpectedly alone in retirement, signs up for colonial military service to fight for humanity on the High Frontier. In execution, it overlaps rather a lot with Heinlein's classic, Starship Troopers, with a rather straightforward narrative focusing on the training and early missions of a group of "new" recruits, and wrapping up on a big mission. However, it fell down hard for me largely because of two consecutive chapters late in the book that undid all of the preceding solid work. One gave a "clever" explanation for the unpinning science (it's all driven by the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics) that obliviously undercuts any reason for getting invested in any characters or events - since these would (implicitly) play out differently in another universe. While the other dealt with the growing qualms that readers (this reader anyway) might have with the novel's colonialist militarist vision of future human life by telling them (via the main character) to get over it. So much for a modern retelling of Starship Troopers that undercuts its predecessor's fascist tendencies. My good will evaporated after reading these, and didn't return.

No comments: