As promised a few posts back, here we go with some more Scalzi. Published in 2005, this is the first installment in what is currently a six book series. A few years ago I read one of the later (stand-alone) novels and really enjoyed it; so much so that I made it a point to go back and start the series from the beginning. It took me a little while to finally do it, but here I go!
This book is the story of a man named John Perry. We meet him on his 75th birthday as he embarks on a journey into the unknown. Leaving the remnants of his life on Earth behind he enlists with the Colonial Defense Force, a secretive military organization responsible for protecting humanity’s colonies on other planets. Although not much is known about life off planet by the people living on Earth, many see the CDF as an appealing option and the means to a new life. Enlistment starts at age 75 and new recruits are offered promises of purpose, adventure, and (most appealing of all) restored youth. It doesn’t take long, however, for John to discover life in the CDF is nothing the relative comfort of Earth could have prepared him for. He quickly, and rather explicitly, learns the various races of this universe exist in a state of near-constant war and that more than a few of them have acquired a taste for human flesh over the years. As he is deployed from one battle to the next, John must trust in his new-found friends and the enhanced abilities that come with enlisting to keep himself alive in an inexplicably hostile universe.
I don’t actually have a lot to say about this book although I did find it rather entertaining. Between the free-spirited antics of old people made young again and the grim, yet often zany, spectacle of alien warfare (think Douglas Adams meets Battle Royale) there was a lot of fun to be had within these pages. Although most chapters tended to be more episodic and focused on the battle of the moment, there was something of an overall story left unresolved at the end which, going by the title, I assume figures into the next book. I can only imagine what kind of adventure this series goes on next so I definitely going to continue on.