Booklist Review

Well, this is nice: A review of Old Man’s War in Booklist, which is the magazine of the American Library Association. I found the review in, of all places, the French version of Amazon (I just wanted to see if the French have access to my books, okay? Is that so wrong?). However, it’s also up on the US version as well, albeit hidden on the “Editorial Reviews” page, so I hadn’t seen it — because, despite the clearly pathetic trawling through the various Amazon sites worldwide, I’m not actually obsessed about finding every single mention of the book. Honest. Anyway the review is pretty positive; here’s the gist of it:

Scalzi’s blending of wry humor and futuristic warfare recalls Joe Haldeman’s classic, The Forever War (1974), and strikes the right fan–pleasing chords to probably garner major sf award nominations.

Hopefully, that’ll convince today’s tragically cash-strapped libraries to pick up a copy or two (I’ve already gifted my local library with a copy, of course).

As for the “major sf award nominations” thing — eh. I definitely appreciate the thought in regard to how it speaks to the book’s quality and readability, but I think worrying about awards of any sort is a fine, fine way to go insane. I’m still well into the “just glad to be here” career stage. Also, it’s barely February, so the vast majority of the SF/F Class of 2005 has yet to arrive. Let’s see what the rest of the year has to offer before we start stampeding toward the Hugos and Nebulas like Filene’s Basement shoppers zeroing in on the sale bin.

24 Comments on “Booklist Review”

  1. I so don’t want to think about the Hugos/Nebulas/Locus/Campbell awards for next year.

    I’m still catching up on 2004. Gah!!!! So much good fiction.

  2. A quick check of the Multnomah County Library (Portland, Oregon) has 12 copies of Old Man War currently (10 checked out). They also have The Rough Guide to the Universe in stock. The Book of the Dumb, however, apparently didn’t catch the staff’s fancy.

  3. And the Columbus, Ohio Metropolitan Library system has 5 copies….all of which are checked out, and the reserve list is 11 deep.

  4. Alright, I haven’t been in a library in years, so I’m not going to find one just to check for Old Man’s War, but I can offer this from my alma mater:

    The University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library ( added one copy (as of 1-14-05) to its collection of 4.5 million books. The author is listed as “Scalzi, John, 1969- “, which struck me as rather distinguished sounding, but maybe that’s just me.

    Penn students should refrain from confusing you with John B. Scalzi, who wrote such science fiction thrillers as “Design of Steel Structures” (1968) and “Design of Welded Structural Connections” (1961). Such are the hilarious goings on at the library of an Ivy League school…

  5. I find it ironic that your “anti-Federation” debuts just before Paramount pulls the plug on Star Trek in first run.

    So, anyway, get a call from Rick Berman yet?

    (Hope that didn’t scare you.)

  6. I am reading “Old Man’s War” right now and enjoying the heck out of it. I am at the part where [spoiler removed]. I have three people wanting to borrow my copy. I have your site linked to my msn. spaces blog site. Congratulations on a well written and thoroughly entertaining book. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you did win an award or two. And I will be spreading your name around in my little circle of contacts here in Snoqualmie, Washington.

    P.S. I am losing sleep because I can’t put your book down. Not complaining, though.

  7. Two copies (both checked out) are in the Dauphin County library system (Harrisburg, Pa.).

    I love the cross-referencing they gave: Life on other planets — Fiction. Space colonies — Fiction. Space warfare — Fiction. Older men — Fiction. Soldiers — Fiction. Science fiction. War stories.

  8. Daniel said:
    “A quick check of the Multnomah County Library (Portland, Oregon) has 12 copies of Old Man War”

    Portland has a library? I assume it’s in one of the wings at Powell’s that I haven’t found yet.

  9. Randy,

    In Amanda’s defense, it *is* a book about war, and the [spoiler deleted] thing really isn’t a major plot point. It’s not like she told you about him being [spoiler deleted!].



  10. “I went ahead and deleted all the spoilers, including the fake ones.”

    Awwww, Dad, you never let me have any fun!

  11. Well, it wasn’t really a spoiler (was it?), but my bad. Sorry. It was thoughtless of me. Anyway I finished the book and I’ll be a good girl and not say a thing about how it ends. Great read. When is the next one coming out? Can’t wait.

  12. No worries, Amanda.

    The next one: About a year from now. Provided I, you know, *write* the damn thing sometime soon.

  13. It always struck me as unfair that really good fiction that can be knocked off in a long evening can’t be WRITTEN as quickly. Almost makes you want to read dead authors exclusively, because then you can rip through their life’s work like popcorn.

    I caught OMW during its brief incarnation as a web publication, and I recall being distinctly annoyed at John when he was a few hours late on a daily installment. It was Christmas or something.

    Careful, John, or hordes of people will descend on Ohio and kidnap you until TGB is complete….

  14. You ‘gifted’ your local library…. Gifted? Sweet suffering cheeses, Mr. Scalzi, I’m just going to assume that you were posting pissing-on-your-shoes drunk, and were too hammered to summon words like ‘gave’ or ‘donated.’ I mean, I’m no word fetishist, but some things…you just don’t do. Gifted. [Shudders. Walks away, muttering to himself]

  15. Now, now. The use of “gift” as a verb dates back hundreds of years. Just because it sounds like new-fangled lazy corporate speach doesn’t mean it is.

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