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January 29, 2005

Entertainment Weekly Review for Old Man's War

Yes, I've heard that Entertainment Weekly has run a review of Old Man's War in the latest issue (thank you to everyone who sent e-mails and comment messages). No, I haven't seen it. I subscribe but that particular issue hasn't arrived yet, and they haven't posted the review online. Yes, I'm curious as to what the review says; I know it's reasonably positive, but otherwise I'm in the dark. If someone would be so kind as to send along the text to me, I would of course be appreciative.

Update: Ah, here we go -- my wife picked it up from the mailbox before she went out and about. It's a thumbnail review, and the gist is: "War's thought-provoking first half overrides the sometime cartoonish alien battles at the end." Rating: B+. I can live with that. As I mentioned to Krissy, I like the thought-provoking bits myself, but if the book ever gets optioned for a movie, it'll be because of the battle scenes.

Also reviewed this week: Elizabeth Bear's Hammered, Allen Steele's Coyote Rising and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's Cleopatra 7.2. EW gave Coyote Rising a slightly higher grade than OMW, but as Allen Steele is one of my favorite SF authors, you won't hear me complaining about that. Hammered does pretty well, too.

Also, completely unrelated: my stalkers will be pleased to hear that I will be attending Wiscon in May.

Posted by john at January 29, 2005 03:30 PM

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Comments

Lisa | January 29, 2005 04:43 PM

I have a subscription. I usually get it on Tuesdays.

John Scalzi | January 29, 2005 04:47 PM

Never mind -- mine came today. My wife had it. Thanks, however!

Keith Chaffee | January 29, 2005 04:48 PM

The ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY review is one of four mini-reviews boxed together under the heading "Sci-Fi 101: How Far to Tech It?" (The other three are Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's CLEOPATRA 7.2, Elizabeth Bear's HAMMERED, and Allen Steele's COYOTE RISING.)

The OMW review reads:

On his 75th birthday, John Perry joins other retirees in the alien-fighting Colonia Defense Forces in exchange for a life extension. BEST GADGET: A PDA. "When I press this button...your sensor array will begin transmitting your brain activity; we'll broadcast your consciousness into your new brain." LOWDOWN: War's thought-provoking first half overrides the sometimes cartoonish alien battles at the end. B+

John Scalzi | January 29, 2005 05:12 PM

Thanks, Keith!

Tim Guest | January 29, 2005 08:18 PM

Weird and weirder.I just searched for "Entertainment Review B+" and got a heap of links to the Entertainment Review site. Then, I typed 'whatever' into Google, clicked the first link, and read a post about you getting a B+ from Entertainment Review. Huh.

I was searching for "B+" reviews because EW, in the forthcoming 4th Feb issue, gave my book ('My Life in Orange") a B+ too. Cheers!

John Scalzi | January 29, 2005 08:34 PM

Thanks, Tim. It's good to be in the ranks of the well above average.

Rachel Caine | January 29, 2005 09:12 PM

John, congratulations on the EW review ... and BTW, I just read your "10 Least Successful Holiday Specials" feature, and damn, it made me force my husband to stop the stereo so I could read the Star Trek entry to him out loud. (This is a mark of high distinction in my household.) Incredibly funny all the way. Thank you, and I wish you the very best of success with OMW and all of your upcoming projects.

- Rachel (one of the many authors competing with you for those valuable January release dollars, unfortunately ...)

John Scalzi | January 29, 2005 09:35 PM

Thanks, Rachel. Congrats on your RT Book Club nomination, also -- that's very cool.

Mitch Wagner | January 29, 2005 09:58 PM

I'm not surprised that a quote-mundane-unquote publication like "Entertainment Weekly" would've found the first half better than the second half.

I liked the first half fine, but it was sufficiently similar to "Starship Troopers" and "The Forever War" that I wasn't overwhelmed. I *really* began to take interest after Perry had a battle under his belt and began to see more of the universe. All sorts of interesting and chewy "Stargate"/"Buffy"-type hints that There's More Going On In The Galaxy Than Our Characters Are Aware of. I'm looking forward to the sequels.

John Scalzi | January 29, 2005 11:56 PM

Mitch says:

"I'm not surprised that a quote-mundane-unquote publication like 'Entertainment Weekly' would've found the first half better than the second half."

Eh. The writer of the piece was Noah Robischon, who has better geek credentials than I, so I don't know that calling him "mundane" in the skiffy sense of the word is entirely accurate.

In any event, as I've noted before, I tried to write OMW to be mundane-friendly sort of book. If non-SF readers get through the whole book and enjoy it because of the first half of the book, that's good with me.

I just love reading the reviews. I've spent so much time being a critic in my life that it's fun and interesting to be on the other side of the fence (it doesn't hurt that by and large the reviews have been pretty good, too).

rick mcginnis | January 30, 2005 01:39 AM

You're right about movies and battle scenes, cheese - if I was optioning material right now, that would sound like music to my ears.

Sue | January 30, 2005 09:14 AM

As a non sci-fi fan, I have to agree that I enjoyed the first half a lot more than the second. Battle scenes don't thrill me, so yeah, I tended to skim those a bit. I enjoyed the first half so much that I was quite surprised. I expected to like the book because I like John's writing, but I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

Patrick | January 30, 2005 02:28 PM

Congrats on the review. I'm definitely looking forward to reading it.

Patrick

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