Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Old Man's War & The Ghost Brigades - John Scalzi

I've just finished reading Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi and I have to say that I have had a wonderful time with these two. I've not read any of Scalzi's books before but I have read posts over on Tor's site and he also runs a personal blog over here.

I've been aware of his work for a while but didn't think it was my cup of tea, being perhaps a bit too "boys and guns" for me, however two things changed that. The first was that Tor were giving away e-books and one of these was Old Man's War. This meant that I could have a quick flick through it (in an electronic way). To be honest, the first sentence* had me intrigued enough to carry on. As I don't have an e-reader I stopped there knowing that it was a dead cert for my "To Buy" list.

Then I stumbled upon these books in my library by accident and decided it was fate so whisked them home with me. It's a pity that I only borrowed these books though as I am clearly going to have to go out and buy them at some stage (why do I feel the need to hoard?) along with the "next" book The Last Colony and the recently released Zoe's Tale. I've already checked my library catalogue online and they don't currently own either of those books but Mr B did look at me in a kindly fashion when I was whining this morning about it not being fair that I can't buy my own books at the moment so fingers crossed.

Over at Dribble of Ink, Aidan has written three far better reviews (one, two & three) that I can so I won't get too carried away with reviewing these myself. If you are intrigued, head over and read his! In his words "I’ve run out of superlatives. I’ve run out of ways to convince you to buy the novels. I’m at my wits end to come up with an original way to say, “John Scalzi is just that damn good.” "

I agree - these books are great fun, featuring delightful characters who are witty and amusing. I thought that there were some interesting ideas about the form that future combat and interraction with alien nations could take and really enjoyed the exciting and fast-paced plots in both books. I was slightly thrown at one point to see two members of a platoon called Gaiman and McKean but it did make me laugh out loud.

Reading about these books online, and as mentioned in the acknowledgements, apparently they owe a debt to Robert Heinman (him what wrote Starship Troopers) and if that's the case I need to get my hands on some of Heinman's work!

In summary. Read them.

*“I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the Army.”

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