Scalzi's Old Man's War as a free download

John Scalzi and Tor are making his groundbreaking novel Old Man's War available as a free download as part of the runup to the launch of Tor's killer new sf supersite. There are plenty of other titles available too -- you just need to sign up to get an email notifying you of more cool free stuff from Tor. Link


  1. I find it charming that the choice for age on the Tor signup has a choice for age ranges


    (old man voice) Why, young whippersnappers, I was reading SciFi before you were born.

    Always wanted to say that.

  2. I was just happy to finally be in the oldest category for once!

    I am signed up on the Tor list. (Got the last book but haven’t read it yet.) Do we just wait for the Scalzi link by email?

  3. Old Man’s War is the best piece of science fiction that I have ever read, period. It is the first in a series of four books followed by The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, and The Sagan Diary. I enjoyed it so much that I am holding back reading …Brigades until …Colony is out in paperback so that I can read them straight through.

    It is an engrossing, intelligent book that drew me back into reading. I am currently biding time reading The Android’s Dream as it is a standalone work [to my knowledge] and it is equally entertaining in an off the beaten bath way. Snarky. Fun.

    Bernard Knight has a series of books that will take you as far back in the past as Scalzi takes you into the future if you require or desire a respite.

    John Sladek has many humerous fiction that fans of Scalzi should enjoy.

  4. Well, shucks, Midknyte. Thanks.

    Joel Johnson: Yes, they’ll send you an e-mail with a link to the downloadable file. If it’s like last time it’ll be at some point late in the week.

  5. Read this one (purchased the book) all ready. The rest of you are in for a treat. It is a good story and Scalzi’s writing style goes down well.

    Yeah, the age thing on the sign page was funny. My Analog magazine subscription started in 1962. A present from the family trying to keep up with my voracious appetite for Science Fiction.

  6. Kudos to Tor, of course, and de gustibus non disputandum, but: Yeesh. Old Man’s War was a snore and a half, not to mention derivative (of Haldeman’s Forever War, for those of you in the < 30 age categories). It’s groundbreaking only in the sense that one has the plow the fields every spring.

    I guess at least now you don’t have to pay to find it out, though, so if you end up disagreeing then you can go ahead and read the other books. And I understand that’s the point, and I do think Tor is doing a great thing here.

  7. #7, I respectfully disagree. I found Old Man’s War to be a quick read (and for me, the more I enjoy the story, the “faster” it reads). While I see parallels to The Forever War, and to Starship Troopers, I found OMW and the sequels to be a fascinating study of political doublespeak and societal segregation.

    I do agree that making this available for wider consumption, and letting the reader make up their own mind, is the real point. I hope other publishing houses follow Tor’s lead.

  8. @7 Mychophage – It’s interesting that you mention how derivative Old Man’s War was of Haldeman’s work, but failed to mention that Haldeman was accused of pillaging Heinlein’s Starship Troopers in Forever War. (I guess you fall into the < 40 category)

    And while it is true that there is no accounting for taste, there is accounting for tolerance of other’s viewpoints. However misguided they may be. :-)

  9. I liked Old Man’s war but it reminded me very much of Starship Troopers in the way that the band of buddies do their thing over the course of the story.

    I’ve not read Forever War, is it any good?

  10. Edt and Mycophage, I think you’ve both forgotten the degree to which all artists borrow/steal from each other, and specifically in the field of written SF, how a small body of authors is writing for a small body of fans, who (up till the 1980s or so) were all assumed to be well-read in the field. Haldeman wrote The Forever War as a response to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, and expected most of his readers to have also read the earlier book. I’m sure Scalzi expected a good number of his readers to be familar with the Heinlein and Haldeman books.

    This stuff goes on all the time in SF. Roger Zelazny’s Amber books were inspired by Philip Jose Farmer’s World of Tiers series, which itself drew upon the works of William Blake. Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun took inspiration from Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth.

  11. @10-Dillenger69: Forever War is definitely worth a read. Don’t know if I’d buy it at today’s book prices, but definitely worth a trip to the library.

    @12-Avram: I was trying to point the irony out to Mycophage that what he viewed as an original work, was construed by others to be derivative. I very much agree with you that in a small pond there’s only so much DNA to go around…

  12. Well I’m looking forward to my e-mail. I liked ‘Starship Troopers’ and I liked ‘The Forever War’.

    Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed & start wishing.

    Please let it not be a pdf,
    Please let it not be a pdf,
    Please let it not be a pdf,

    Please let it be mobipocket format,
    Please let it be mobipocket format,
    Please let it be mobipocket format,

  13. Well, Tor’s strategy has worked.
    I downloaded this the other day, read the first few chapters, and now I’ve got a copy of the dead-tree version being held at my friendly local SF specialist bookstore. I like real books. Ebooks just don’t cut it yet.

    Yes, it feels a lot like Starship Troopers and Forever War, but I enjoyed them too.

    (Not like anyone’s going to read this so late after the fact, but I’ve been on honeymoon and am only now catching up on my internetting).

  14. I have downloaded the free pdf, and got hooked on a flight to Seattle, WA. I got to page 109 or so, when I saw the book in a rack in the Seattle airport upon my return. An instant buy! I must confess I probably would not have bought it had I not read the free version. So thanks!

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