Old Man’s War, Ten Years On
Posted on January 1, 2015 Posted by John Scalzi 84 Comments
Ten years ago today, Tor officially released Old Man’s War into the world, and so today is my official ten year anniversary of being a published novelist, and the anniversary of my entrance into the ranks of professional science fiction writers. Note that this “official” date is all kinds of leaky; Old Man’s War was popping up in bookstores a couple weeks before the actual pub date (which was fine by me because holiday sales), Tor bought the book from me two years before that, I had one science fiction story published in Strange Horizons in 2001 (which at the time did not qualify as a “pro” sale by SFWA), and of course in 1999 I self-published Agent to the Stars on my Web site (and serialized OMW on it in 2002).
Be that as it may, when I think of my professional science fiction career launching, January 1, 2005 is the date I think of. So there you have it.
It has, unambiguously, been a good ten years for both me and the book. In the case of the book, it was nominated for the Hugo and got me nominated for the Campbell (the latter of which I won that year), topped “best of the 21st century” lists from Locus and Tor.com (caveats on those here), spawned a very successful book series, which includes New York Times bestsellers and Hugo nominees, has been translated into 21 or 22 languages at this point (I’ve lost count), been optioned for TV and film, sold well in its first year and continues to sell, very well, year in and year out. It’s my most successful book, and I suspect likely to be the one I’ll be remembered for when all accounts are tallied and closed out.
Which, of course, is perfectly fine by me. A couple of years ago, when I was on the JoCo Cruise for the first time, I sat on a panel of writers, and an audience member asked the panel whether any of us ever worried about being thought of as a “one hit wonder.” My response was to say that I had that “one hit” in Old Man’s War, and what that “one hit” had done was to offer me the sort of notability and stability that allowed me to write pretty much whatever I wanted from that time forward — it was the foundation on which everything else good in my fiction writing career was built upon. Having “one hit” isn’t a curse unless you want it to be. It can be an opportunity for many other things.
As it has been for me. Old Man’s War, and the fact that creative and cool people doing interesting things really like the book, has opened up a whole lot of doors for me. I’ve gotten to do any number of things I never would have been able to do, and gotten to meet so many people I like and admire, because of that novel and what’s flowed from it. Old Man’s War changed my life, and for the better, and I love that it has.
(With all that noted, it doesn’t feel like ten years has passed. But then I suspect on a day to day basis it never really feels like time passes; it’s only when you look up and note a milestone that you tally up the distance. I’ve gone from being one of the proverbial new kids in science fiction to arguably embodying the current iteration of the genre’s “establishment,” with all the positive and negative connotations that such a thing has. I’ve been in the genre long enough now that I’ve been considered an influence to some, and everything that’s wrong with the genre today to others. I have no control over either, so I tend not to worry about them, although I do admit to sometimes going out of my way to annoy the people who don’t like me, and gleefully so. It’s a weakness.)
Ten years on, I think OMW has aged pretty well, although there are some things I think show its age a bit, like calling portable information devices “PDAs,” which was a term with some currency in 2001, when I wrote the novel, and none whatsoever now. Nevertheless I’m kind of stuck with it for however long the series goes. I might also retool Sgt. Ruiz’s speech to the cadets, although it would still end the same way (with the Willie Wheelie scene). Also, knowing what I know now, i.e., that the book would spawn a series that would span a decade and six books to date, I might have spent a little more time making Earth feel more future-y, and less like the Earth of 2001 plus a single space elevator.
(I will note that a few years ago, when Newsweek went all-digital, I got ribbed for having a physical copy of the magazine in the book’s recruiting station. But now here in 2015, Newsweek sells print copies again! I am vindicated.)
What I am most proud of OMW, ten years on, is simply the fact that it seems to have stayed. Which is to say that people still read it, people are still discovering it, and people are still sharing it. Not every book does that. I’ll go ahead and take some of the credit for that — it’s a pretty good book — but I’ll also go ahead and reiterate something I always point out, which is that OMW had a considerable amount of luck going for it. Its persistence on bookshelves and in the science fiction conversation was in no way predestined or certain (nor was mine, to be sure). I am grateful for that luck, and the opportunities I have had to build on it, both with OMW and its series, and with the rest of my career.
So, if you ever bought or read a copy of Old Man’s War, thank you. You’ve helped to make this last decade wonderful. I am most appreciative. Here’s to another decade — or two! Or three! Heck, five or seven or ten! — in each others’ company.
(P.S.: Curious what my thoughts were on this five years ago? Here you go.)
As I know people will ask:
1. The sixth book mentioned is The End of All Things, which I am currently writing and which will be out this year.
2. Will the series continue after TEoAT? I suspect so, although TEoAT will end the narrative arc that started with The Human Division and at the moment I haven’t thought about what happens after that. My usual line is I write things in the OMW universe when I have things to write about, but I don’t rush them. Good news is, I wrote about other things too.
3. Current status of the TV series adaptation: They’re still working on the script. Patience.
A friend bought me OMW as a gift and it was the door to all things Scalzi. The book still stands the test of time and I’ve been slowly adding the other books from the series and enjoying them as well.
It’s a good book. In fact it’s an excellent book. Engaging, fun in places, heartbreaking in others. I still read and enjoy it from time to time.
Interestingly – it has only one ‘jar’ moment for me. I expect someone mentioned it to you long ago but, as a Vet, I often wondered why the CDF soldiers fighting those little micro guys were running around squishing them, which seems to have been both yucky and at least a bit hazardous.
With the Empee system having a flamethrower setting, why not just torch ’em? It was the only piece in the entire book that bounced my suspension of disbelief.
Anyone else ever mention that bit?
Old Man’s War is what got me interested in you as a writer. For me it was the doorway in.
You keep writing; we’ll keep reading. Thanks for the fun romp through space.
OMW went like a firestorm through the circle of my SF&F interested fans… I think it will become a “classic” in the decades to come.
I’m curious – if you’d known you’d be still writing in this universe ten years later, would you have rethought the name “BrainPal”? It fit the scene in Old Man’s War perfectly, with the sales brochure on your new body (and the FAQ, does my new body have a brand name?), but I think in Human Division someone describes it as “that ridiculous name”.
I’ll admit, I’ve never “read” Old Man’s War, but it’s one of my most listened to audiobooks.
No, I still like the BrainPal name. The character in question was commenting on the name on her own recognizance, not reflecting authorial opinion.
I’m sure there was a reason they couldn’t use the flamethrower setting. I just didn’t remember to include it at the time. Yes, that’s it.
“Old Man’s War” was the first book of yours I read – I found it through an article on i09 about the best opening lines/paragraphs of sci-fi and fantasy books. What got me right from the beginning was the voice, the way you absolutely nailed the way a tired, grieving, yet still somehow optimistic man in his mid-seventies would sound like. I could hear John Perry in my head right from that first paragraph. Not every author can do that sort of thing.
I’ve read more of the OMW series and plan to keep doing so, and I enjoyed the hell out of “Redshirts” as well, since I love meta-fictional stuff. Here’s hoping your first ten years were just the start of a long, satisfying, and fun career to come.
As a side note, that same i09 article led me to Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series and Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”. That was a really good article.
I have been bugging my brother to buy Old Man’s War ALL YEAR; he finally bought it a couple of days before Christmas. Earlier this week he sat down to start it and got up six hours later after finishing it. He loved it!
I discovered you and your blog before I ever read one of your books. Android’d Dream was my introduction to your work. I have LOVED everything you’ve written!
Happy New Year!, happy 10 years of official publishing!, thanks for all the good reads and mental adventures.
I still remember where and when I read Agent to the Stars (the Computer Services lab in the Student Center building where I was meant to be actually working, in late 1999/early 2000), and how thrilled I was that you sent a thanks email in response to my $5 donation. Fifteen years later, I am thrilled at how so many authors I like are accessible on social media, and are standing up and fighting for things I care about.
Ten years? good grief! And well done. I also like Lopsided Cat’s hopeful expression of: ‘Is there more to come?’ (Or so I interpret it :).)
I met you later that month at ConFusion, was in a group where you were discussing the book, bought it and have now read everything in that series, as well as quite a few other things you’ve written. So Happy Anniversary and thank you for all of the entertainment over the past decade.
(And the 80s playlist from Detcon. I still use that as my 80s jam.)
How many copies of On my old mans war have sold?
Happy new year! And happy anniversary to a book I think of as an old friend. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
See, I liked the fact that earth felt like now but with a space elevator. Reinforced the fact that it has become this backwater that’s only real purpose was providing colonists and old people for the CU.
No idea. Getting an exact number would require going through a decade’s worth of royalty statements. As a guess, mid-to-high six figures in North America, not counting audio, and who knows how many elsewhere.
I always find myself turning to OMW when I’m between either audio books or e-books. Sure some if it does seem dated but that doesn’t really matter, I happily slip into that universe with my own dreams of joining the CU at 75.
Have you aver thought of releasing an updated or preferred text a-la Neil Gaiman? That would give you a good excuse to update the parts you aren’t happy with.
I didn’t mean to say I was unhappy with them, merely that I would do them differently now. And no. The novel is what it is. I don’t have any plans to revise it at this point. If I were going to do a “special edition,” I would probably do an annotated edition, with author comments as footnotes or some such.
Congratulations on the ten years! May you have many more. (I’m afraid this is a selfish wish as I enjoy reading your books.) John Perry is a well-written character. He comes to life well, along with the others.
Happy ten-year-science-fictional-anniversary :D
ooh! an annotated edition sounds awesome!
What I really like about your having written OMW is that it’s in so many ways an atypical book for you, Scalzi. From it alone, I assumed at the time you’d have a happy and prosperous career as a faintly liberal guy writing Military SF, sort of like Eric Flint has become – not that you’d turn out increasingly strong and deep comic SF, let alone become a firebrand for equality and exposing privileged male scumbaggery. The latter is the best reason I can think of to buy your blog collections – though Tammy and I both really love having two books on our shelves labelled YOUR HATE MAIL WILL BE GRADED and THE MALLET OF LOVING CORRECTION! :D
Tamora Pierce and I both say “Happy 10th Anniversary, OLD MAN’S WAR!” :)
This is awesome! I finished the book this morning at work. I feel honored that I finished it on its 10 year anniversary. What a wonderful book, and wonderful day to finish it up.
I continue to crack up whenever I think of Sgt. Ruiz and Willie Wheelie.
(1) “Old Man’s War” was a revelation to me. Congratulations on your official ten year anniversary of being a published novelist, and the anniversary of your “entrance into the ranks of professional science fiction writers.”
(2) In SFWA History, of course, it was written on graphene and DNA computers that one could, alternatively, enter into the ranks of professional science fiction writers by selling three works of short fiction in designated Major Markets.
(3) Nor is is wrong to say that I was the first person ever to become a SFWA Active Member, by paper application chosen to list ONLY poetry. The rule was that, thirdly, enter into the ranks of professional science fiction writers by selling at least 100 LINES of Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror/Speculative POETRY in designated Major Markets. One or more followed my precedent, and than, once again, Plato’s Republic barred the door against poets. For yea verily it is sprach that:
(4) In Books III and X of the Republic, Plato addresses the problem of poets. He deduces that they are imitators of the world, and therefore far from the truth: “the tragic poet is an imitator, and therefore, like all other imitators, he is thrice removed from the king and from the truth.” The other dangers of poets are that they corrupt youth and incite the passions instead of the faculties of reason. The poet, “with his words and phrases,” is able to convince listeners that he knows what he speaks of: “such is the sweet influence which melody and rhythm by nature have.” Poetry, including the narratives of others’ lives, appeals to the emotions; it “feeds and waters the passions instead of drying them up; she lets them rule, although they ought to be controlled, if mankind are ever to increase in happiness and virtue.” In Book X, Plato concludes that poetry must be banished from the hypothetical, ideal society; however, if poetry makes “a defense for herself in lyrical or some other meter,” she may be allowed to return from exile. Qualities of usefulness and a “well-ordered State” are emphasized; he adds: “we may further grant to those of her defenders who are lovers of poetry . . . the permission to speak in prose on her behalf: let them show not only that she is pleasant but also useful to States and to human life, and we will listen in kindly spirit; for if this can be proved we shall surely be the gainers—I mean, if there is a use in poetry as well as a delight?”
[intro to his tranlsations of Plato, Benjamin Jowett (1817–1893), Anglican clergyman and educator. His translations of Plato’s Dialogues appeared in 1871. The translations from poetry come from Jowett’s translations of both Plato and Plato’s quotations from others. The numbers in brackets following quotations refer to book numbers.
Thanks. For someone not in the business its hard to tell what authors mean by selling well. I know its different for different authors.
OMW is one of the books I consider “infinitely re-readable”, meaning one I will give a permanent space on my shelves, and return to every few years, knowing that I will enjoy it again, find new meaning in it, and feel a connection to the younger self I was when I first read it. It was also greatly enjoyed by my husband, who rarely reads fiction. OMW he actually enthused about.
Congratulations on a great milestone!
First, congratulations! Love OMW and all the sequels. Looking forward to more.
Second, please don’t change Ruiz’ speech!
(Then again, if you do, I’ll own the ‘classic’ version of OMW. That would be cool…)
Thank you for OMW – the entire series. It’s been one of my most enjoyable reads, and I’ve come back to OMW a couple of times now. There are very, very, very few books I’ve read more than once.
Now when can I get my BrainPal?
Still among my favorite books by *any* author, and my fav by you. I have bought 3 copies over years, but I still hope to find a hardback, which seem to be very rare. At least you signed my paperback.
Celebrate with a churro…or waffles.
FWIW, it was a strong, positive review in the back of Asimov’s that got me to read OMW.
I’ve bought multiple copies of OMW for myself and various other people. It hit that sweet spot of humor, high adventure, and relatable characters that let it cross over to people that wouldn’t otherwise read “science-fiction.” My mother (bless her heart) liked OMW. It is the only book of it’s kind she’s ever read.
It is still your best work.
Old Man’s War is where I fell in love with your books and started following you as an author. I did my part buying the eBook version and a signed copy last year as my Santa present!
I also really enjoyed reading Zoe’s Tale and the rest of the stories based in the OMW universe. All Good stuff.
Happy New Year!
May you and your family remain happy, healthy, and prosperous!
I never heard of you until my son check OMW out from the library. He highly recommended it to me, and I read it. Loved it. Loved everything since then, except The God Engines. By the time I discovered OMW the hardback market had become exhausted, so you may (but probably won’t) remember that I had you sign a library sale copy to get the good cover.
I look forward to many more of your SF books!
I think I guy a least one copy of OMW a year and give it away.
Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary, John!
OMW was the first book of yours I read. I bought it (and TGB) in the Chong-illustrated Subterranean edition. A first novel to be rightly proud of.
Springsteen was asked a few years ago if he ever got tired of playing “Born to Run” at his concerts. He replied that he didn’t, and how could he ever get tired of the song that created the fame that allowed the rest of his career to occur?
To me, OMW is your “Born to Run”.
Coincidentally, I just yesterday finished re-reading OMW, ‘The Ghost Brigades’, and ‘The Last Colony’. Enjoyed them just as much as the first time through.
I found OMW while stocking the shelves of the bookstore where I used to work. The idea seemed novel and I loved the paperback cover art. Seven years later, I’ve spread that book around like a virus, even purchasing a second trade paperback copy to keep for myself in case the loaner should go missing. I loved the wish-fulfillment aspect of joining the military at 75 and getting a whole new body. Instead of killing off teenagers like we allow now, people get to live rich, full lives and, after gaining some perspective on life, choose to start a new life with the CDF. It’s like joining the CDF is a allegory for going to heaven for a while, if heaven involved the first few chapters of enhanced reflexes and green-skinned sex.
I’m afraid of seeing a big-screen version of OMW, because I’m afraid that what happened to Ender’s Game will happen to your book. I don’t think your book could be done well in one movie. The layers of politics and high concepts that warrant screen time would make for a 5-hour film. I would still pay to see it, but I would be afraid of the filmmakers cutting out half of the training/bonding sequences or character establishment.
If an OMW movie franchise begins, how do you think they should handle the Consu and other alien creatures without making them silly-looking?
It’s currently optioned as a television series.
Jeff, I imagine the Consu looking a bit like this – http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Acklay?file=Acklay3.jpg
John, I really enjoyed OMW. It is a classic in a way. I’m glad to hear that you can make a decent living doing writing. Too many starving authors out there.
Praise for the novel aside, I’d like to say I love both Loppy’s alert/hopeful look, and the fact that he’s sitting on something that matches him.
Does he predate the publishing, or is that only The Radiant She?
I found you after an article about you and OMW in the University of Chicago alumni magazine (because I got an M.A. in English from there in 1983). “That sounds cool,” I thought, and so I found OMW at the library. And then proceeded to read everything else you’ve written since this. Happy anniversary, sir.
Well, I was one of the 17 people who bought “Agent to the Stars” when you self-published it, so “Old Man’s War” wasn’t your first sci-fi book for me, just your first SERIOUS one… and having a preference to Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and the like, a bit of a letdown… “Redshirts” is now my “introduce people to Scalzi” book.
Speaking of “introducing”, after I acquired “Old Man’s War”, I was reading it in the same room with my then-85-year-old, World War II Veteran father. He saw the title and it was a “WHOLE LOT OF ‘SPLAINING TO DO” moment.
And if you ever want to go totally “ST:TNG” in the OMW universe, may I recommend the title “Old Man’s Draft Deferment”? (Because that was MY generation)
My dad introduced me to OMW by mentioning it last Christmas in passing. He thought it was an interesting concept – sending seniors to war in new bodies versus youngsters – and seemed surprised when I said I wanted to read it. He didn’t think I’d be interested in “a bunch of old farts” heading off to space war. He was very, very wrong. He ended up sending me the first four books of the OMW series and I read as many of your others as I could find in the library. I truly enjoy your writing, in all of it’s manifestations. In fact, my beloved wife got me the Kindle version of Lock In this Christmas, so I am looking forward to still more Scalzi reading in 2015!
Thanks for imagining an incredible world and having the talent to put it to the page.
I first read OMW about four years ago. I have read the series two or three times since. A couple weeks back I happened upon a copy of that edition shown with the boss of your household (I, too am minion to a cat…)… Score for me! I look forward to the day when you are in the Seattle area and can sign it for me.
OMW is one of my favorites and I too reread it every 2 or 3 years.
I’ve given 4 or 5 copies to friends and have an extra copy I lend out from time to time. I gave a copy to my doctor and told him I would like smart blood as soon as it’s available :D
Thank you for signing my hardback copy in September along with Lock In.
Hope the next ten years are just as good for you and your family.
OMW special edition?
Perry shot first.
Happy tenth anniversary! I’m very impressed, unlike your cat, who is very pointedly NOT looking at your book. He’s probably waiting for ‘Old Cat’s War’.
I wouldn’t update things like ‘PDA’. As time passes people will likely forget its origins and assume you invented the term! Also, new technologies sometimes revive and reuse old language. Who could have guessed we’d be reading things in the 21st century by ‘scrolling’ them?
Ha. I asked for OMW for Christmas, having seen it referenced on your blog, and I read through the whole thing on a long plane ride . . . today. How’s that for a coincidence?
I found OMW (and this here blog) through links from Instapundit. Ironic, considering how the politics of these sites are so different. But if it hadn’t have been for that link, I would have never known about the wider world of SF/F in general, and some really great books by other authors (China Mieville, Ann Leckie, Robert Sawyer, etc.)… not to mention being inspired to write myself. So… yeah.
Hi there. I was directed to your blog by a link from PZ, and have just finished OMW. Thanks for keeping the Heinlein flame alive, I have found a new author to read, and am trying to track down the rest. TL DR: Just read OMW –OMG
Bought Old Man’s War twice. First one I loaned to a “friend.” Never loan a book to a friend cause it they don’t give it back they won’t be your friend, and with OMW they will loan your book to their “friend.”
Hi John – I was one of those who first stumbled across Old Man’s War just last year in 2014. Funnily enough, I first heard of you through your epic post comparing being a white, middle-class male to starting a game on ‘Easy’ mode, and after reading that I knew I had to read your other work. And I absolutely loved it. And my partner, he-who-hates-books, loved it too. Thank you for writing such a powerful, humourous, insightful piece. Oh, and being an all around awesome person. I eagerly await TEoAT. Hope you have a fantastic 2015, and congratulations on the anniversary!
Hi John! Part of War on Error: you fudged “caveat” in the bracket linking to the Best of Decade post.
I loved OMW, and the sequels I’ve read thus far. The opening sequence of Android’s Dream is the definitive example of serious academic philosophical examination of olfactory linguistics. Can’t wait to get my hands on Lock In.
Good stories are good ten years later, or 20, or 50. Reading A Stranger in a Strange land now is as fun as it was decades ago. Anachronisms are impossible to avoid.
Interesting characters, engaging ideas, and stories are what keep people coming. And that includes me. Looking forward the TEoAT
Congrats on your success and a good year! Thanks for sharing your work with us. As an aging techster they’ve hit a chord… Where are those interplanetary war recruiters again?
Perfect opportunity to say two things long unsaid: Thanks so much for the series! I caught the first book in an airport shop and over the course of the trip nearly missed my plane twice. Like others have said above the books have become old friends, ones to be reread forever (and often). Second, these books cross the gender and age lines like nothing I’ve ever seen. My extended family ranges from twenty-somethings to aunts and uncles in their mid-eighties. Every single one of them has devoured the series and asks, nay demands, you write more. Amazing. An enormous well done you!
And as an aside, one of the reasons I think the books do well is that OMW is an amazing love story at its heart even if the (cough) guys into military SF kinda sorta ignore that. The ladies in my family certainly didn’t nor did I. Another well done you!
And last (four is the the new two) I can’t wait for TEoAT.
I was introduced to your writing by a librarian, who recommended The Last Colony based on three other books I liked. I enjoyed the book tremendously, even without having read the first two in the series. So of course I had to start the series from the beginning, and look you up online, and read your blog, and go to an author event when you came to my city. Thank you for being a productive and accessible author! I’m looking forward to future decade milestones of your work.
I remember ordering the original OMW just before I had to go into the hospital for knee surgery, and deliberately not starting to read the book before the actual operation, so that, if something went horribly wrong and I died on the operating table, I wouldn’t go to my death pissed off that I’d never know how it turned out.
As it happened, I read that book in my hospital room while recovering from the surgery. And, later on, you graciously signed it for me at Denvention 3. And I know how I’ll actually die…as a member of CDF 16th Brigade, Company D, in the Third Battle of Provence. Hopefully, I’ll take a few Thumpers with me. :-)
Here’s to the next ten years.
Was driving home from a long trip with my 17 year old, and was listening to the audio version of The Last Colony while (I thought) she was sleeping. She woke up and I offered to put The Fault in Our Stars on for her– as she’s a big fan of that book. After a few minutes she said, “What was that other book?”
Now she’s read most of the OMW series, thought she skipped a couple of parts in OMW that involved kissing and other PDA. I told her I like the book because of the love story that holds it together.
More congrats from another fan. One more plus from the OMW series, which you didn’t mention (probably because it’s inherently outside your personal knowledge, other than as relayed to you by commenters here and fans/friends elsewhere): it’s an eminently RE-readable set, certainly the first four anyway, and I’ve gone back to it three or four times by now. Only one other series has ever made that impression on me — Turtledove’s World War/Colonization set. I also tried his Great War series, but gave up on it about 2/3 of the way through because its pacing left me feeling he’d bitten off more than he could chew with the span of history he’d chosen, especially if you include “Guns of the South” (great on its own) as a sorta-prequel.
I know I’m late to the party, but I’m reading OMW for the first time now (my e-reader says I’m 45% of the way through). I’m very much enjoying it, and glad to know there’s already so much more for me to dive into when I’m done.
Not only are people still reading it, but I’ve re-read it a couple of times. The OMW series is always near the top of my favorite books when someone asks fore recommendations. I’ve even given a couple of copies as gifts!
I had read Androids dream and Agent to the stars and enjoyed them. Tried several times to get into the print version of Old man’s war and just couldn’t get into it. But one day I was stranded with nothing to read and fought my way through the first several chapters. Now it’s one of my favorites. Love the whole series. Especially enjoyed Human Division tho. I loved looking forward to my Tuesday fix.
John, it may be when you thought you were a Professional (say that with Audrey’s nasal twang), and it was a great book – but anyone who read The Android’s Dream & Agent To the Stars damn well knew you were a Pro before OMW.
If I may, I’ll take this opportunity to thank Patrick Nielsen Hayden for noticing and offering to publish OMW, which I’ve (re)read with pleasure; I have a trade paperback copy signed by the author at a Washington DC bookstore, Olsson’s, in May 2007. I wouldn’t have thought Borders would outlast Olsson’s by only 3 years, and I don’t much like B&N; does anyone? (Is it obvious that I’ve never read a book on an electronic device?)
Congratulations, ten years on!
I actually found OMW at my local Borders, circa 2009. The store was closing so everything was heavily discounted, and I was meandering through the sci-fi books when the John Harris cover art caught my eye. Bought it, read it, became a Scalzi fan. :)
I read OMW when it came out and two things stand out about it:
1. It is one of the few books, that I read, finished, then IMMEDIATELY re-read. It is that good!
2. As I read it, it was clear to me that the author loves his wife. I know other authors love their mates, but there was something of your love for Krissy that came through the story.
It was a while later when I started reading Whatever, and I found that my hunch was correct.
I inhaled the whole series earlier this year, and really enjoyed it. One thing I liked about Sgt. Ruiz’s speech to the cadets was the implicit acknowlegement that once you’ve seen Full Metal Jacket it’s impossible to read any drill sergeant character in anything other than R. Lee Ermey’s voice.
I read OMW for the first time last year. It was one of the nicest Sci-Fi books I’ve read and it made me want to read more by you so I ended up reading Ghost Brigades too. I’ll work my way through the OMW Universe in 2015 I guess.
Thanks for writing this book, reading it was a genuine pleasure!
Old Man’s War was a bonus book option for a book club i was subscribing to. I choose it because the idea was intriguing and I while I had an interest in science fiction I usually only picked up books in that genre by Heinlein or Anne Macaffrey. Since it was free essentially I decided to take a chance on a new writer. I got more than a dozen books in that order and Old Man’s War was the most enjoyable and memorable. I don’t even remember what the titles of the other books were in that order or have all of them at this point, but Old Man’s War sits proudly at the head of every other book I have bought written by you. Including some signed copies. I have never sought out signed copies from another author. Through out the intervening years I have had several people come up to me while I was reading and ask if I had ever heard of Old Man’s War. This has sparked many fun conversations and has always reminded me of how the one book I got in the order and didn’t care about one way or another was the most impactful not just in my private reading, but socially as well. The common ground i have been able to find with others who love your works has helped me grow and reach out to other people (an issue with my social anxiety). Thank you very much and hopefully one day I will be able to have you sign that one for me in person.
Happy book anniversary. Congrats!
I just wanted to say that I received Old Man’s War as a Christmas present and gobbled my way through it all today. I enjoyed it very much!
My husband picked up Old Man’s War right before our honeymoon in December, and we both read it in about two days. We had a lot of fun reading and discussing the book together, and both of us are excited about reading the other books in the series/universe. Happy anniversary, and thank you!
I think it’s pretty clear from the photo that Lopsided Cat actually wrote the damn book. Stop riding on his coattails.
Hi, i read old mans war in high school and i thought it was the shit of the shit, literally pure awesomeness, but after reading it I wondered why the CDF troops fight like retards. They seem to clump into poorly defined clusterfuck combat formations and just start running around and shooting. Do they advance to their objective in a tactical column, or a skirmisher formation? How are their assault teams organized within the platoon. To effectively pin down and advance on the enemies position it makes more sense to give designated roles like the machinegunmen to pin the enemy down with bursts of automatic fire,and pointmen to advance and pick them off. They clearly have no fire teams, and forget about buddy/fire team/squad rushes to ensure whoever is advancing is always covered by another section of the assault element, but hey, fuck logic and efficiency. Which you would usually expect from a military run by older people. And what’s with the gay-ass uniforms they wear in combat, to hell with camouflage,right? not to mention it’s science fiction so they could have any cool-ass armor you want. And that boot camp sounds fucking weak, why isn’t their drill instructor mentioned punching them for moving at the position of attention or moving slow, and there is no mention of IT. How come the name of the main character’s unit is never mentioned and he never gets any unit tattoos, he has no pride in his command or being part of the CDF. The ghost brigades are pretty badass but they’d deserve even more respect if they had been drawn from the ranks of the regular CDF’s most experienced and hardened veterans who had gone through a potentially lethal series of augmentations. they are never mentioned carrying any packs full of gear despite their apparent super-strength. I would imagine they would need to haul all sorts of supplies and ordinance to set up camp, yet its never mentioned. Their rifle was the most ridiculous part, that shit has to have a clusterfuck of complex components to do what it does and therefor, no matter what crazy advanced alien technology you have it will get dirty and clog and jam to all hell, yet their not trained or trusted to clean and perform maintenance on their own weapons, yeah fucking right, some riflemen! that part deeply disturbed me as a U.S. Marine. But seriously, it was an amazing book and i look forward to more, thank you.
Hi, it’ me again, I just wanted to say that just because their fighting aliens on other planets doesn’t mean they can’t sometimes use modified tactics they use to fight humans. for instance, if an alien attacks from the underground they only need to find a point they can’t dig through as quickly and flush them out as they approach with automatic fire and mortars while their forward assault elements shoot them as they appear. and with sufficient firepower they could fight the consu exactly the same way the real life military actually fights people. Don’t just automatically abandon all current tactics becuase your fighting aliens except when their not animal type life forms like the slime or the little aliens that they step on. Based on what i read they’d be better off using at least SOME kind of defined tactics than running around trying to shoot as much as they can before being shot because they’re not covered.
Old Man’s War was my gateway drug to Scalzi literature. I have read several more since. I actually met you once in SLC and took a goofy picture with you which I plan to blog about and name drop profusely. If you don’t mind I will also create a fictional universe where we are best friends so that I can let my four blog readers (mom, my sock puppet and two high school stalkers) know I am really quite the neat thing. What? It’s totally not weird.
I followed a link to your post about your convention harassment policy and liked what I read, so I decided to pick up Old Man’s War from the library to see if your fiction was good too. I was not disappointed :-) I actually had stopped reading scifi some years ago, because all I read was boring, fixated on tech stuff and usually wildly misogynistic. You and Lois Bujold McMaster together gave me back my taste for the genre, thank you!
I had to take a pause with The Ghost Brigades, because it made me sick to my stomach, but in a good way. Suddenly I had found interesting and intelligent scifi that deals with interesting questions about humanity, what it is, what it can be, why it should be living amongst the stars, and so on.
Thank you. May you live and prosper. And write! ;-)
A little late to the game here, hope you still see this. But funny coincidence. I was explaining you to my husband this evening (won’t get into why), and my way of reminding him who you were was by saying “remember, I told you about the book where the old people get to be young again…” I said a little bit more there, but you get the point. It was OMW that I used to reference you. Not a one hit wonder– a memorable story. And really it was the falling cat that I told him about.
Is Old Man’s War available as an audiobook in the UK? I can see it on the U.S. Audible site but not the UK site. I was just wondering if some regional publishing terms might be hindering me in my search?