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January 02, 2005

Another Review for OMW

This one from SFReviews.net (not to be confused with SFRevu.com, from the last post). The full review is here; I'll quote the opening graph:

Old Man's War is a tremendous, confident SF debut for well-known blogger John Scalzi. Openly patterning itself after Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Old Man's War takes an exciting tale of alien conflict and dresses it up intelligently with such themes as individual identity, what makes one human, the significance of mortality, and the ethics of life extension. Economically told at just over 300 pages, the story, peopled with remarkably well-drawn and memorable characters, never flags for an instant and steers a steady course without veering into self-importance or maudlin sentiment. Its a top-drawer first novel that should put Scalzi high on your "Writers to Watch" list.

That works for me.

One of the things I've really appreciated about the reviews I've seen so far -- both on sites like these and on individual blogs -- is that by and large they're digging through the text to highlight things they find interesting as well as things they find aren't quite working for them; in other words, classic criticism, aside from the simple "like it/don't like it" dichotomy. As a writer you can't ask for more than that.

Posted by john at January 2, 2005 01:11 AM

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Tom Nixon | January 2, 2005 05:02 AM

My copy arrived today. You owe your cover designer a big kiss. Hey, I don't care if he's a boy. You look at that cover again and then pucker up! It looks good online, but it really pops out at you and I'm sure must show well in the bookstores.

John Scalzi | January 2, 2005 11:25 AM

Awesome. I still haven't seen it in the bookstores, but that's somewhat to be expected, since there's only one small bookstore near me. Still, I should check down there and pester them about it if they don't have a copy.

CB | January 2, 2005 06:00 PM

Reynolds plug hooked me and the comparisons to Heinlein and Haldeman reeled me in. Loved the book well enough that the purchase of a hardcover version of the sequel is assured. If I had to find a fault it would be that the descriptions of combat and tactics were a bit on the light side. You are now on my author "watch" list. /salute

John Scalzi | January 2, 2005 06:43 PM


Bill Blum | January 2, 2005 07:02 PM

Just finished the book about 10 minutes ago....

Nicely done.

Amazon review going up tommorrow.

John Scalzi | January 2, 2005 08:06 PM

Look forward to seeing it!

RooK | January 3, 2005 12:55 AM

"If I had to find a fault it would be that the descriptions of combat and tactics were a bit on the light side."

Actually, I think the level of description John used might be nearly ideal. I'm pretty picky about tactical detail (OK, I'm picky about a lot of things, but about this more than most), and it's very hard to tolerate tactical specifics that seem to be unlikely. By avoiding too many specifics, Old Man's War allowed me to fill in any details I needed for it to make sense to me and to keep my focus on the more important aspects of the tale.

Now, if the story was meant to be more about the tactical genius of the characters, like Ender's Game (spit), then obviously a different level of detail would be needed.

Soni | January 3, 2005 01:56 AM

Intended to savor the reading experience like a box of fine chocolates. Ended up hoovering it off the pages like the after-church crowd blitzkrieging the local Chinese restaurant's all-you-can-eat-for-1.99 crab leg buffet.

2 nights later (total of 6 hours) and my head feels like someone opened an airlock in hard vacuum. Thank God I was still on break and didn't have to go to school. The sequel will probably put me in the hospital.

Please sir...may I have some more?

Soni | January 3, 2005 01:59 AM

Did I mention those hours were all after 1 am? Ouchie.

John Scalzi | January 3, 2005 02:16 AM

Heh. Go to sleep, Soni.

Tripp | January 3, 2005 10:16 AM

That's fine and all, but I think "Viagra for baby-boomers" will sell more copies.

I'm just saying.

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