Pass It On

After reading a post from a recently-returned vet on Instapundit, Old Man’s War author John Scalzi is generously emailing digital copies to any deployed military member in Iraq or Afghanistan. I just sent a copy of the post to my brother-in-law (Army, Afghanistan); if you know somebody over there, you ought to do the same, and maybe buy a dead-tree copy for yourself as a thank-you (I haven’t read “OMW” yet, but Martini Boy was raving about it a while back).

As for Mr. Scalzi, from one Heinlein fan to another, good on ya’. I tip my evening cocktail in your general direction.

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10 Responses to “Pass It On”

  1. Carl H. Says:

    Good show.

  2. Major John Says:

    I have already sent a thank you e-mail to Mr. Scalzi and Prof. Reynolds.

    BTW – I finished “Old Man’s War” this morning. Really, really, really good.

  3. John Cunningham Says:

    I read Old Man’s War a couple of weeks ago, and I too rate it highly. it does get pretty close to Starship Troopers, and I rank it with David Drake as well. Only the start of a series, the book does not really end the story. A worthy debut novel, with promise of much good reading to come.

  4. Michael Says:

    As adventure fiction, it’s OK. Similar to some classic SF. But as science fiction, where the story is at least partly about an idea, it’s poor.

    The background, of multiple aliens races in competition, makes no sense (where were they when we were pretechnological? They should have taken over the earth!) And the tech level of all the races is roughly comparable (some races should be at least millions of years ahead.) The one race which is presented as way ahead is not interested in conquest (convenient!)

    If you want old Heinlein, read old Heinlein. This is seriously dated, and as SF, boring.

  5. Stephen Green Says:

    Michael,

    The secret of good fiction (and it’s really not a secret of all) is to give the readers characters he can care about, and then put them through hell.

    OMW succeeds on that count.

    The secret of good science fiction is to give us a world like our own, but with new techo-goodies. However, the second secret works only when the conditions of the first secret are met.

    I think OMW succeeds on both.

    Is it a convention to have various species competing for habital worlds? Two words: Duh! (OK, so that’s only one word. But in my head I stretched it out into two syllables.) Is it a convention to have the one Master Species uninterested in conquest? Of course it is.

    Good fiction is built upon such conventions. (For Exhibit A, I give you every play ever written by Shakespeare.) And Old Man’s War is good fiction.

  6. doug quarnstrom Says:

    I must be the only person reading the blogosphere who thought “Old Man’s War” was good, but hardly great. Hey, I don’t begrudge Scalzi the promotion, and what he is doing for the boys is fantastic, but find this book to be massively overrated by the blogoshpere.

    doug

  7. doug quarnstrom Says:

    Maybe the book did give us characters to care about, but one of my big issues with the early parts of the book, and this is common to a lot of science fiction, is that all of the dialogue by the main characters was all spoken by the same smart-assed geekboy we all were in high school. Evey character talks and jokes in the same way. It gets on my nerves. As I said, Heinlen was always like this too, and the book does improve later on, but…

    I wish Scalzi well. It is easy to criticize and quite hard to create. The success of the book puts paid to any whining I might hae about its greatness, but, well, I have to hold forth just like everyone else.

    doug

  8. Michael Says:

    Stephen, as I said, the book is OK adventure fiction. It’s not good SF (though neither was a lot of Heinlein). If this were a mystery, and the murder made no sense, or was something you had read a million times before, would you recommend the book just because you liked the action?

    The most recent book I’ve read, Weapons of Choice, by John Birmingham, isn’t plausible SF either, but it is centered around an idea — how would a modern military interact with a WWII miltary and society, and how would WWII have played out if the various nations had known how it was going to go originally? The characters are a bit stronger, the writing is better, and there are some surprises. Still not really excellent, but better than Old Man’s War.

  9. NV Dad Says:

    “I find this book to be massively overrated by the blogoshpere.”

    That’s the psychology of online underground marketing. It combines perceived insider knowledge, help-the-guy-out emotion, and sheer grassroots inertia, which in said blogosphere is just a game of small percentages of gigantic numbers.

    I haven’t read the book, and won’t, but I’ve seen this phenom before. Not having a marketing department or a marketing dollar is fine marketing.

  10. Johnathan Says:

    I have bought the book. I’ll post about it when I’ve read it.

    Usually, if a book is compared with Heinlein, I buy it.

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