According to a Tuesday story in the Hollywood Reporter, the SyFy Channel is going to adapt John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” books to become a series, to be called “Ghost Brigades” after the title of the second book in the series. Wolfgang Peterson, famous for having directed such films as “Das Boot” and “Air Force One” will oversee production. Jake Thornton and Ben Lustig will write the first script. Peterson had already been tapped to direct a film version of “Old Man’s War,” but the project never got off the ground.
“Old Man’s War” is a work of military science fiction that tells the adventures of John Perry, a 75 year old man who enlists in the Colonial Defense Forces to fight various alien enemies out on the space frontier. Besides interstellar travel, the technology exists to download the consciousness the elderly recruits into younger, genetically enhanced bodies. The theory is that people with decades of life experience make better warriors than 18 or 19 year old youths who usually get shipped into battle.
The books have been compared to Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” and Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever War” in the gritty realism in which it depicts interstellar war. The other virtue, if it can be called that, of using old people to fight in wars is that their deaths in battle are not quite as tragic as those of a teenager. They have already lived long lives and are risking them now for the chance of even a longer life, should they survive their periods of enlistment.
The development of yet another space adventure further demonstrates SyFy’s continued commitment to scripted drama, something that has been lacing since “Battlestar Galactica” wrapped. “Defiance” and “Dominion” are already airing. A number of other dramas, including “Ascension” and “The Expanse” are in various stages of development.