Old Man’s War Reading Order, John Scalzi’s military book series

Let’s go on an interplanetary voyage unlike any other as we explore the universe of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series.

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How to read the Old Man’s War Book Series in Order

The Old Man’s War Universe consists of six books and three short stories, but you can clearly separate the series in two.

The main story is told in the first three books, indicated in bold. The Short stories are optional. The fourth book, Zoe’s Tale, is a retelling of the events of the third book from a different perspective and can be also skipped.

Old Man’s War (2005)
Questions for a Soldier (2005, short story)
The Ghost Brigades (2006)
The Sagan Diary (2007, novelette)
The Last Colony (2007)
After the Coup (2007, short story)
Zoe’s Tale (2008)

After the three books, the story can be considered complete. It is possible to stop there. Next are two books set after The Last Colony and focused on a new character,

Both books were first published as digital serials before being collected into books. This is a fact that can’t be ignored when you read the story. This is still entertaining but not as engaging as the main story.

The Human Division (2013)
The End of All Things (2015)

More information about the series

At the beginning of the Old Man’s War series, John Perry is seventy-nine years old. Perry voluntarily leaves Earth to enlist in the Colonial Defense Forces, a military force charged with defending human colonies in a far-off and dangerous galaxy.

Exploring the intricacies of aging, sacrifice, and the fundamental human yearning for adventure, John Perry embodies the age-old fight for purpose and identity. Faced with dangerous and new challenges like any other, he wrestles with the ethical dilemmas of war and the consequences of humanity’s quest for expansion, all the while forging deep bonds with a wide range of species.

What inspired Old Man’s War?

John Scalzi himself describes his series as “Starship Troopers with old people.” Un a short interview with PanMacMillan, the sci-fi author talked about his inspirations for Old Man’s War and explained: “The original was explicitly patterned after mid-period Heinlein (which is why I took care to acknowledge him at the end of the book), and I took some inspiration from video games (the Empee rifle was a direct result of noting that video game characters carry so many weapons they realistically would not be able to move). At this point, however, I think the series is pretty much its own thing.”

The book shares also many themes with the classic military science fiction novel Forever War by Joe Haldeman which was a response to the author’s experiences in the Vietnam War. Haldeman has also acknowledged that Starship Troopers was an influence.

If you’re looking for more sci-fi adventures written by John Scalzi, check out The Interdependency series. For delving into another military science fiction universe, explore The Lost Fleet, Jack Campbell’s Space Opera Series, also known as the Gearyverse.