Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Adult, sci-fi
First published: 2005
Author: John Scalzi
Synopsis: With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry’s service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens. The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring their youth.
This book was my favourite sci-fi that I’ve read in a while. It was very fun as a sci-fi book, but that was not my favourite part of it. My favourite part was the portrayal of relationships of all kinds. It was just so heartwarming and human. This book made me cry several times.
I loved the idea of old people joining the army. It was just so much fun to read once they all got their young bodies back and were just going crazy. I loved the humour in it. It was very self aware and managed to portray things like getting old and loss and death in a way that was… funny, but not in a tasteless way.
The story itself wasn’t much. And by that I mean it didn’t have a particular story. It’s quite a short book and it just follows John throughout his first few years of being a soldier and what happens is a lot less important than the effect it has on the characters. This isn’t an epic story, this is a story about the day to day life of a soldier. The good, the bad, the ugly, the terrifying. I didn’t mind this in the least, it worked perfectly for the book, but if you prefer plot-driven stories, then this might be an issue for you.
I loved the characters and their relationships, as I said before, that was my favourite part of this book. I loved the friendships that formed, I loved the glimpses into John’s marriage that we got. It was all so beautiful and sweet and human. The humanness of those relationships was accentuated even more by the alienness of everything else and I loved it.
The writing is funny. It had this dry humour that I love. It speaks to me, it’s my kind of humour and I found myself chuckling on multiple occasions. I’m interested in continuing with this series and perhaps reading some other John Scalzi books in the future.