Old Man's War

7 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 1,131 ratings

Summary

With only a few planets in the universe capable of sustaining life, each new discovery means a knock-down, drag-out war for resources—and even the oldest fighters are valued assets. 

At age 75, retired advertising writer John Perry enlists in the Colonial Defense Forces. Along with other geriatric recruits (aka the “Old Farts”), he claws his way through battles with alien life-forms for a claim to the universe’s scarce habitable planets. After a series of sometimes bizarre tests, Perry is given a new, genetically-enhanced body. While moving up the ranks, he begins to struggle with the psychological changes that come with his new physique and its enhanced strength, speed, and senses. He takes part in battles against threats from the nanotech Covandu to the formidable Rraey, a man-eating species set on stripping precious coral reefs. After his ship is shot down, leaving him stranded as the only survivor, Perry is rescued by the CDF’s mysterious Ghost Brigades. Between political manipulation and his own accomplishments, he’s promoted to captain—but his battles are far from over. This gripping military sci-fi series follows Perry and other Special Forces and lab-grown soldiers as they fight against all kinds of adversaries to save what’s left of humanity.

William Dufris brings John Perry to life as the narrator of most of the main series. He perfectly captures the perseverance of an old soldier who grows tired of the constant fighting and terrifying encounters. His honeyed, somewhat gravelly voice encapsulates Perry both young and old with ease. Tavia Gilbert, Stephanie Wolfe, and author John Scalzi narrate spin-off audiobooks, exploring the lives of the other players in this unending intergalactic war.

These military science fiction novels deal with many themes common to the genre, including the ethics of life extension and body modification for battle, the significance of mortality, and what it means to be human, along with exploring issues of friendship and marriage. John Scalzi points to Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein as a major influence for his series.

Old Man’s War was ranked #1 on the Tor.com readers’ poll for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel of the Decade, 2000–2010, on #1 on a Locus readers’ poll for Best Science Fiction Novel of the 21st Century. It is listed on the NPR.com readers’ poll of the Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books/Series.

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