Monday, July 8, 2013

In Swick's Bookbag : Old Man's War

Congratulations, kiddies. This is the first in a new series of blog posts I like to call 'In Swick's Bookbag' where instead of talking about books I've read, I talk about books I am reading now. There will be the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, as well as a good mixture of old and new, youth and adult, fiction and nonfiction. As a rule, I'm going to try to write these when I'm at least a third of the way into the book that way I have a little something to comment on and give you all a taste of what I am suffering though.

Today in my bookbag, I've finally gotten around to a science-fiction classic that's been on my to-read list for years but has now finally surfaced to grace me with it's presence. It is ...

I am surprised that I picked this novel up so late, considering that in my childhood I was an ENORMOUS military space opera fan with shows like Robotech / Macross , Gundam Wing , and even Infinite Ryvius.

I suppose what turned me off to a lot of military sci-fi was really fantasy sci-fi, specifically Elizabeth Moon's book Sheepfarmer's Daughter .... which had an AWESOME premise but then it turned into a lousy Joan-of-Arc goes on King Richard's Crusade but with dragons thing. Let's just say that if I was a Dungeons and Dragons character, my alignment is likely chaotic neutral and not lawful good... did I mention lawful good characters royally get on my nerves?

Anyway, I guess I was a little turned off by a lot of sci-fi / fantasy military fiction after that. This book, however, just kept popping up in ALL my recommendation threads and I even had patrons here at the library ask me if I was familiar, know I read a lot of science-fiction, and then promptly ask me why I hadn't picked it up yet. The typical response to any question like that is to girlish giggle and 'So many books so little time!' rather than come up with a personal response for each one. I would be reading, but most of the time, I have to help people find books to read. Trust me, I would rather be reading.

" John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce--and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You'll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You'll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you'll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine--and what he will become is far stranger "

( taken from back of the book )

So far, I am about halfway through this book and I enjoy every minute of it. Even though I've seen this sort of plot a handful of times, there is lots of witty humor and great characters that really make me want to read the rest of the series.

I'd have to say that my favorite part so far has to be Perry's no nonsense drill sergent. Yes, he acts like a typical movie drill sergent, but for good reason. Also, when they get their AI devices and everyone gives them custom names like 'Asshole' 'Bitch' 'Dickweed' 'Fuckhead' - the list goes on and on.

I'm not even done with the book and I would totally recommend it to other science-fiction fans :)

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