Review of Old Man’s War (2005)


John Scalzi (writer).

A good example of what I perceive as the typical features of military SF, flattering of humankind as well as its protagonist in the masturbatory “boy’s own adventure” formula that Scalzi took from Starship Troopers (1959). Rico, the older novel’s protagonist, is referred to as the “Old Man” in Heinlein’s coda. In a 2003-04-05 blog post entitled “Lessons from Heinlein”, Scalzi confesses not only to his commercial motives in this deliberate imitation, but also to eschewing the hard SF aspect of his model. Scalzi believed the best way to imitate Heinlein was to focus on characters and “make room in your characters for your reader”, i.e. enable the power fantasy by the omission of ideas and strong characterization. At least the author is honest about his intentions.

text fiction