Scalzi's Sci-fi Novel ("Old Man's War" a.k.a. "Vin Diesel Naked and Green")

At John Scalzi’s site he’s publishing serially chapters from his novel “Old Man’s War.” As of Monday, 12/16, he’s up to chapter eight, and so far, it’s turning into a pretty good read.

For many of you who don’t know me, I’ve been reviewing books for small-time newspapers for about a decade. I read some science-fiction, but I’m not immersed in it. I also know that there’s a lot of self-published stuff out there on the Web that is, quite frankly, krep. Huge, steaming piles of krep. The kind that melt your monitor and that even a hard-drive wipe won’t eliminate.

“Old Man’s War” isn’t like that (the subtitle I gave it would be understood if you get up to chapter four, which I also found hilarious). The premise is simple. In the future, humans have started colonizing the stars. The Colonial Defense Force has been set up to defend them. They actively recruit old men and women, promising that they’ll rejuevenate their bodies in return for up to 10 years service, after which, like the Roman centurions, they’d be given land off-Earth to colonize. How and why they do this is not known.

As you may guess, what John Perry finds once he signs up is something far more interesting. After all, no one who joins the CDF ever returns to Earth. Not much is known about them, except that they may have access to technologies far more advanced than any seen on Earth.

Scalzi is publishing a chapter a day, about 5,000 words at a time. The book’s written, so you’ll get the entire chunk by the time the last chapter’s out on 12/29. Or, if you want it all up front, send him a $1.50 and he’ll e-mail the whole she-bang to you.

For what it’s worth, I like the book. It reminds me of “Starship Troopers” both in subject and style, although without Heinlein’s sermons. This is publishable work, and I’m enjoying the chapters so far. You might as well.

Anyway, it’s free, so what do you have to lose?


I’ve been tricked.

It’s almost like it was to purposely drag you in here, isn’t it???

A shameless five-year bump: you gotta love Cafe Society!

I just finished reading Scalzi’s trilogy that started with Old Man’s War and ended with The Last Colony. They were great! Normally I’m not a huge SF fan, much less SF in the Heinlein tradition, but Scalzi seemed to take the best of Heinlein (good battles against alien species) and combine it with warm characters and a morally ambiguous political situation.

Has anyone else read these books?


I’ve read the first two (I haven’t checked lately, is The Last Colony out in paperback yet?) and was rather impressed by both of them. As I remember, I read them because once I was in Borders looking to see if they had some books related to David Weber’s Honor Harrington novels and the employee I asked about it recommended Scalzi’s books. (One of the reasons I like the Borders near me; I often end up getting into discussions with employees or other customers about books and movies.)

I’ve seen them advertised by the SF Book Club and have them on my reading list, but just haven’t gotten around to them yet. Someday, I hope!

I really liked his latest The Androids Dream . Sci Fi, Noir detective story and fart jokes!

Plus the nod to PKD is always welcome.

I’ve read them all (and planned to start rereading Old Man’s War any day now) and I love them.

Old Man’s War is definitely my favorite and I’m truly sad the series is over (but only for now according to Scalzi).

I just tracked down his blog, and he says he plans to publish Zoe’s Story in 2008; it’s set in the same universe.

I’ve not read Android’s Dream (incidentally, he’s publishing The High Castle, obviously the same universe, in 2008), but I plan to track it down.


It’s coming this year? Sweet!

I could kiss you man.

How funny, I just picked up Ghost Brigade at the bookstore today. (For the second time. My cat peed on the first copy before I’d cracked the spine. She has no taste in literature.)

I read OMW about a year ago–I had no idea it was available on-line for free. Oh well, it’s a great read; I have no regrets paying for it.

I thought Last Colony was a little weak. Especially, it didn’t follow what seemed like the setup near the end of Ghost Brigades:It looked like the already nasty brushfire wars constantly going on were about to escalate into a full-fledged coalition war of galactic proportions. I was sure that Last Colony was going to be about a deliberately “lost” seed colony meant to survive the extinction of humanity in the rest of the galaxy. But no, in the end peace and love somehow prevail? WTF?

In some ways I agree: I had the same expectation about what the book would be about. It’s one of the two criticisms I have of him, which is that I don’t ever feel a sense of loss in his books when a character dies.

The other criticism is the utter atrociousness with which he writes a certain child’s dialogue. It sounds like a baby doll.


I’m hooked. Read Google’s archived Old Man’s War to the third Chapter last night, but, annoyingly, every other best page is misssing…$%#!?

Please. I have no access to a library at the moment due to draconian citizenship laws, and I can’t afford to purchase it. Is there an unabridged version somewhere on the net? Mr. Scalzi? Or are we too beneath you, now?

Goddammit, if someone doesn’t start linkin’ to pics of Vin Diesel makin’ like an Orion slave girl, I’m gonna start gettin’ pissed.

It doesn’t look like it’s on his site any more. Sorry!


Can I still get it for a dollar from Mr. Scalzi? Appears not.

Sort of makes him a hippocrate to the philosophy that led to his success. I will never purchase his sequels, now. He has guaranteed it.

He may not be green, but…

I think I need to do some more research. Lots more.

What philosophy?

He originally offered the novel serially and at $1 for the purchase of the entire novel, uncut. He sold his integrity. He sold out.