Fuck yeah, Scalzi! I don't know why it took me so damn long to read this, but now that I have, I am here to tell you that this? Is an AWESOME read. Think Ender's Game with old guys. Think Heinlein but much easier to digest. Think funny and touching yet military SF.
It's hard to do this justice without spoilers, so I'll just play SF bingo:
- post-colonialistion: check. Interestingly, Earth seems to be pretty shut off from the rest of the universe. There's no space travel until you leave - and once you leave, you can't return. There's been no (obvious) singularity, and no apocalypse, as far as I've noticed. There ARE too many people, of course. So humans are in space, either as colonists or as soldiers. Epic.
- heavy genetic modification: check. Yay super-soldiers! Vastly extended lifespans, enhanced physical capability and adaptability, engineered blood. Nanobots. Advanced healing and regeneration capabilities. Plus hints at immortality. Hell yeah!
- interesting aliens: check. Look out for the "no judging of books by their covers" analogy.
- faster than light travel: kinda check. They've found a way around that in Old Man's War. I don't have the maths.
- unputdownable: BINGO. I love this. I can't wait to read more. Edited to add:
I think I should include a little warning here. Two warnings, in fact:
1) First person narrator. I had no issues with this, but I know it's problematic.
2) I've seen complaints elsewhere that this is classic wish-fulfilment fic, and I kind of have to agree in that yes, John Perry is a textbook
Gary Stu. Again, I had no problem with this, because he's not at all smug about it (cf. Kvothe), but if this kind of thing annoys you, Old Man's War might not be for you. You've been warned. :)