Posts Tagged With: john scalzi

“Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi

“Old Man’s War” is a science fiction novel by John Scalzi, an author who happens to be internet-famous for taping bacon to his cat.  My boyfriend read “Old Man’s War” first and couldn’t put it down, and since we have similar taste in books, I decided to give it a go.  I’m so very glad that I did.

The story begins when John Perry’s wife dies and he decides to join the army on his 75th birthday.  Alien life has been discovered and Earth has begun colonies in outer space, but due to a strict quarantine, people aren’t allowed to come back to Earth once they’ve left.  This means that Perry knows nothing but rumors of the Colonial Defense Force (CDF) and the war that they’re fighting in outer space.  The CDF recruits old men from Earth who assume that the advanced technology and resources available to the army can make them young again.  That’s about all that I can say about the plot, because if I talked much about the rest of the book then I’d quickly devolve into major plot spoilers.

Scalzi’s writing is very approachable, even if you don’t read a lot of sci-fi.  He’s also got a great sense of humor (the scene where all the old people in their young bodies start having sex with each other because they can comes to mind… it would totally happen), and I was amused that he named a minor character after Neil Gaiman.

Perry finds a sense of camaraderie in the CDF, and quickly rises through the ranks.  I liked the way that Scalzi used Perry’s character to examine the emotional implications of war, especially when the odds seem unbalanced.  In once scene, Perry feels bad about stomping on teeny tiny aliens, only to be continually reassured by his superiors that what he’s doing is for the ultimate benefit of mankind.  We see the CDF being used in situations where politicians hadn’t exhausted other options, and the troops do struggle morally with what they’re told to do.  At the same time, they realize that they’re fighting for their former friends and families back on Earth and that nothing is quite as simple as it seems.

For those of you who have read the book, I’m a big fan of the ending, and the romance in the book was well-orchestrated.  This is one of those books where the love story enhances the story rather than detracts from it.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and I’m planning on reading the sequels at some point in the future.  I’d definitely recommend it.

Categories: Fiction, Sci Fi | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

BEA Excursion, Day 3 (and special treasures)

Today was the third and final day of BEA, although I’ll still be in New York until tomorrow afternoon.  It was a lot calmer than the previous two days of exhibits, largely because it closed at 3.  I picked up some more books, although not quite as many this time.

I didn’t realize just how many books I’d end up coming home with.  I ended up making one trip to the post office to mail myself books, and I’m planning on making one more tomorrow morning.  Rather than bore everybody with details about my day (OMG!  I met Kristin Cashore!  But Terri Windling wasn’t there even though she was supposed to be.  Oh, and I tried to give my business card to TOR.  I hope it gets there), I’m going to talk about a few of my treasures.  These are the books that I carry back to DC, because I’m not taking any chances on them getting lost in the mail, and also because I’ve already started some of them.

“Redshirts,” by John Scalzi – So yeah.  I blogged about this yesterday, but I am going to say it again because of the epic level of awesomeness.  I waited in the extremely long line to get a signed ARC of Redshirts because John Scalzi is awesome and I want to read his next book.  When it was my turn to have my copy signed, I told John Scalzi that I was going to bring him bacon but couldn’t find any that morning.  Scalzi thanked me profusely for not bringing him any bacon because bacon is rather difficult to travel with.  Redshirts is a novel in three codas, which intrigues me because I love books that play with non-traditional formats.

“The Killing Moon,” by N. K. Jemisin – Last night I went to an event at the New York Public Library.  Four different authors read from their books, and N. K. Jemisin was one of them.  She read an excerpt from the sequel to this book, which is fantasy set in a world that vaguely resembles ancient Egypt.  One of the neat things about this series is that Jemisin managed to get the first two books published in consecutive months, which means that I won’t have to wait long to read the sequel!  I got to meet Jemisin at a book-signing yesterday, and she told me that she liked my henna tattoo, which made me unreasonably happy.

“Bitterblue,” by Kristin Cashore – Kristin Cashore was one of the other authors at the New York Public Library event last night.  She read the prologue of Bitterblue, and I braved an extremely long line to get a signed copy of it because I absolutely MUST see what happens next.  The story is set in a magical world where some people are endowed with magical gifts called graces.  Bitterblue’s father has one such power and is able to tell lies that everyone will believe, and he used his powers to oppress his kingdom.  This book comes after two of Cashore’s other books, “Graceling” and “Fire,” but  I am going to jump right in with this one because it seems like I can.

“The Mirrored World,” by Debra Dean – I got to meet Debra Dean yesterday, and she’s super nice.  Her novel is a historical fiction set in St. Petersburg about the life of St. Xenia.  This sounds right up my alley, because I studied in St. Petersburg and am a sucker for anything Russian.  I read the first two chapters and love it thus far!  I have an ARC of this on my Kindle as well, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a signed copy and to meet the author.  One of the neatest things about BEA is getting to interact with different authors on a face-to-face basis.  It’s easy to forget that authors are people too when all you see of them is a tiny blurb in the back of the book, and meeting them gives a better idea of what’s going on behind-the-scenes.

Categories: Fiction, Other | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

BEA Excursion, Day 2

Before I get into today’s post, I just want to take a moment to mention that Ray Bradbury died.  May he rest in peace.

Now, onward to BEA… no picture with this update, because I am exhausted and being lazy.  I thought yesterday was chaotic.  I was mistaken.  Apparently today was supposed to be the busiest day of Book Expo, and it lived up to its reputation.

I woke up early this morning after a restless night of sleep (I have a bit of a cold, which is not fun).  I chugged a bunch of coffee and headed to Javits, where I got to meet John Scalzi.  I told him that I would have brought him bacon, but that I couldn’t find any at that particular time of morning.  Scalzi thanked me for not bringing him bacon, as it’s a bit difficult to travel with, but signed my copy of Redshirts with the phrase “Thanks for the bacony thoughts!”  I cannot even begin to describe the level of awesomeness that I felt at that moment.

I had decided after bringing home almost 30 books yesterday that I would bring back fewer today.  I still ended up with another 25, many of which were signed.  In addition to Scalzi, I also got to meet N. K. Jemisin and Charles Stross, among other people.  I’ll make a post later about the highlights of my BEA acquisitions, because right now I’m too tired to think or dig through my bags.

After a hectic day at the Expo, we went to an event at the New York Public Library which featured readings from four authors:  Kristin Cashore, N. K. Jemisin, Naomi Novic, and Catherynne Valente, all of which were awesome.  Oh, and the whole thing was hosted by Lev Grossman and accompanied by a band that included a cello and an accordion.  It was pretty awesome.

We also got an invite to a DC Comics party at a club.  We stopped by for a little while, but it involved a lot more standing than we were willing to tolerate, and we didn’t see any of the writers who were supposed to be there.  I think that Pubdate would have been a lot more fun if I wasn’t so tired, and also if they didn’t charge you money to use the restroom.

Ok, it’s my bedtime now… night everyone!

Categories: Other | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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