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Old Man's War #6

The End of All Things

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Hugo-award winning author, John Scalzi returns to his best-selling Old Man's War universe with the direct sequel to 2013’s The Human Division

Humans expanded into space…only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from a hostile universe. The Colonial Union used the Earth and its excess population for colonists and soldiers. It was a good arrangement...for the Colonial Union. Then the Earth said: no more.
Now the Colonial Union is living on borrowed time—a couple of decades at most, before the ranks of the Colonial Defense Forces are depleted and the struggling human colonies are vulnerable to the alien species who have been waiting for the first sign of weakness, to drive humanity to ruin. And there’s another problem: A group, lurking in the darkness of space, playing human and alien against each other—and against their own kind —for their own unknown reasons.
In this collapsing universe, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson and the Colonial Union diplomats he works with race against the clock to discover who is behind attacks on the Union and on alien races, to seek peace with a suspicious, angry Earth, and keep humanity’s union intact...or else risk oblivion, and extinction—and the end of all things.

380 pages, Hardcover

First published August 11, 2015

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About the author

John Scalzi

148 books22k followers
John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,329 reviews
Profile Image for Kevin Kelsey.
405 reviews2,200 followers
July 6, 2017
A nice conclusion to the story arc that really began with the ending of The Last Colony. The four novella structure of this one didn't work for me quite as well as the thirteen short story structure of The Human Division. Mostly, because there were a couple moments where it just didn't seem like there was enough story to justify a novella, particularly with This Hollow Union. That novella could've very easily been a short story instead.

It does all nicely come together in the last novella, which I was pretty impressed with. My favorites of the four were definitely The Life of the Mind, and Can Long Endure.

The Life of the Mind: 5/5
This novella is Scalzi firing on all cylinders. Transhumanism, some cyberpunk elements, and a grounded human story all wrapped into one.

This Hollow Union: 3/5
Exposition conversations, some explosions, aliens playing the politics game, and a pivotal story element near the end. It wasn't bad, it was just kind of boring for what it was. Maybe it's doing some heavy lifting for a later story in the Novella collection/novel?

Can Long Endure: 5/5
I loved this one. The structure of it is so good, and I genuinely connected to the characters and their banter about the ridiculousness of Pizza Mon/Taco Weds. Reminds me of my experience reading Old Man's War for the first time.

To Stand or Fall: 4/5
Nice conclusion to the first three novellas and The End of All Things as a whole, as well as the narrative that began with the end of The Last Colony.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,133 reviews200 followers
August 25, 2018
The beginning and end are well written. The rest is meh. 6 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,972 followers
November 20, 2017
The End.

The Old Man's War series was one hell of a ride, from decanting brains out of old people into nice young military types to decanting brains into spaceships against one's will, from never-ending expansion to civil war between Earth and the Colonies to the possible collapse of all human space against the rest of the aliens we didn't try to get along with.

It's pretty epic.

But you know what I like most about this whole thing?

Scalzi's light-hearted humor.

Sure, there's a lot of great competence porn and even better SF ideas and deeper philosophical statements studded throughout a wild space opera adventure full of down-to-earth characters and politics and great funny moments, but it's the voices of the characters that made it shine. They're light and easy reads that always manages to say something important.

This novel is actually four novellas and they all do a bang up job wrapping up the whole shebang. Will humanity survive its follies? We've managed to piss off practically everyone and ourselves, so is there really a hope for us?

No. I guess not. :) But then there's Wilson so I guess we're not that bad. :)
Profile Image for Xabi1990.
1,972 reviews849 followers
August 28, 2021
A ver, SOY PARCIAL, MUY PARCIAL dándole 5 estrellas. Lo sé.
No inventa nada nuevo en esta novela. Lo sé.
Los personajes son los de siempre. Lo sé.
No se lleva el Cervantes por lo bien que escribe (el Nobel, tampoco). Que sí, que ya los sé.

...pero me lo paso tan bien leyéndole que no le puedo dar menos.

Por supuesto, abstenerse de leer esta entrega quien no haya leído antes todas las otras novelas de la saga.

Como ya hemos dicho es como comer palomitas viendo una de Marvel (y además los diálogos son más divertidos que los últimos de Marvel. Hale.)
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,645 reviews5,102 followers
May 20, 2022
2 stars per Goodreads means "It was ok" which is not exactly a ringing endorsement, but is certainly not "It sucked compost bin." To me, 2 stars means Eh? Eh! and Yeah, it was okay. Enjoyable enough. The End of All Things was enjoyable enough. Scalzi is always a very generic writer when it comes to the prose and we get the same here. His human characters are pleasant and relatable and uninteresting and we get the same here. His alien characters are usually more human than alien and we get the same here. His plots are fun and propulsive with a simmering undercurrent of leftist-humanist ideology (which I enjoy) and we get the same here. The book is very John Scalzi and that usually means 3 stars for me. But this conclusion to his entertaining series seemed kinda, I dunno, phoned in? Like he had moved on to brighter, shinier objects and just wanted to get this whole thing over with? I mean, this was a nice way to spend time and I didn't resent it and it tied things up while leaving doors open and yet it was totally uninspiring. Well that's not quite true. The first sequence, detailing the unlucky life of a combo programmer/pilot turned into a ship and who then turns on his tormenters, was actually riveting. But the remainder of the book was very much Eh? Eh!
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
August 21, 2015
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/08/21/b...

I won’t lie, Old Man’s War is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I’ve always been more of a Fantasy reader, and around the time that book came out, my Science Fiction reading was pretty much limited to Star Wars novels and the occasional Star Trek title thrown in. However, Scalzi’s sense of humor along with the rollicking space action and adventure in these books really helped me along, showing me that there’s a lot more to the genre than just hard science and media tie-ins. I’ve followed the Old Man’s War series ever since, and all the books have brought me no small amount of entertainment.

So it was with great excitement when I heard that a sixth novel will be coming out in 2015, a direct sequel to The Human Division. And like The Human Division, the plan was for The End of All Things to again be serialized, except the proportions will be changed. Instead of getting sixteen episodes, this time we’ll only get four, but each part will also be longer, so they’ll be more like novelettes.

If The Human Division taught me anything, is that I don’t mind the serialized format. There’s a certain kind of pleasure to be had, watching a bunch of self-contained little parts come together to form one complete, coherent whole. And if anything, the smaller number of episodes as well as their greater length improved the overall flow of the story in The End of All Things. It was a good book, and a worthy addition to the series. The only real downside is that this would make a poor jumping-on point for new readers. So if you’re fresh to the Old Man’s War universe, you probably wouldn’t want to start here; there’s a lot of history you’ll be missing, and not least because this book deals with a lot of the consequences of events from the last few installments. I recommend starting from the beginning, because you’ll definitely want to know all the details – and because it’s amazing.

Below you’ll get my thoughts on each episode as well as a more detailed analysis.


This is the story of how our main protagonist and narrator Rafe Daquin became a brain in a box.

Yep. The Life of the Mind embodies everything I love about the Old Man’s War series. Missing ships. Kidnapped pilots. A mysterious organization conspiring and gathering strength in the shadows. Daquin finds himself entangled in this mess, but even when he is captured by aliens and forced to do their bidding, his first instinct is to fight back and find a way out of his predicament. The fact that he doesn’t have a body anymore and is just a mass of brain tissue hooked up to a ship computer is just a setback. Just another problem to be solved.

The protagonist’s personality and attitude made this one a winner. In the face of overwhelming odds, his optimism was infectious, even if it was sometimes driven by the desire to stick it to the alien Rraey. You know within the first few pages that he makes it out okay, but the conclusion to this section was still oh so satisfying. A really great intro episode to this novel that sets the tone and starts thing off with a bang.


We switch focus in this one, following Hafte Sorvalh, the Chief Advisor to the head of the Conclave, General Tarsem Gau. She’s probably the second most powerful being in the universe, but as she reminds us, being second isn’t always all that it’s cracked up to be.

I admit to feeling slightly disappointed when I realized this would be a more political story. But after some major twists, I changed my mind. This might not be my favorite episode, but it’s undoubtedly the most important; something huge happens that will throw the entire Conclave into disarray and the ripples will be felt across the galaxy.


Can Long Endure was probably my least favorite episode, but it also showed a very different point of view. In this story, the focus shifts yet again, this time on a group of Colonial Defense Force soldiers who are now busy scrambling from planet to planet, stomping out the sparks of rebellion before they can catch fire and spread. But the will of a huge administrative entity like the Colonial Union is one thing. What about the lives of its soldiers with their boots on the ground, carrying out orders from on high?

This episode lacked the scope of the previous two, perhaps, but it was also the most “human”. It’s a very intimate look into the mind of a CDF officer Heather Lee, just another grunt doing her duty for the good of the CU. But she’s her own person too, and the costs of her government’s decisions are beginning to open her eyes to some ugly truths. And it’s time for Heather to make her own choices.


This final episode brings the story to a conclusion. There’s a marked difference in tone from the beginning of the novel, in stark contrast to Rafe Daquin’s snarky attitude and spirited narration. Instead, a certain gravitas surrounds the story, which is fitting I suppose.

In this story, we see the return of several familiar faces here, including a couple beloved personalities. We are also presented the resolution to the problem posed by the shadowy organization calling itself Equilibrium. Given all the build-up, this finale should have been epic and glorious. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite get that. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good ending, because it was. I just couldn’t help feeling it should have been more.

This final episode was not what I expected, but it did its job nonetheless. To Stand or Fall was a punchy and cleverly executed conclusion to The End of All Things, as well as a pretty solid offering as the latest piece of the story to the Old Man’s War saga thus far.
Profile Image for Mark.
989 reviews63 followers
August 17, 2015
Somewhere along the way, the Old Man's War series lost its heart. I suspect this happened some time after the third book, when it seemed that things were going to come to a conclusion in a trilogy, only then Scalzi kept revisiting the universe because there is money to be made. The fourth book, Zoe's Tale, was possibly the most naked cash-in I have ever encountered. I actually thought the previous volume, The Human Division, breathed a bit of fresh life into the series with its interconnected short stories and it could have worked as a palette cleanser as the series transitioned into different ideas.

Unfortunately, we never quite get there. In this sixth volume, we again have the interconnected short story idea going on, although in this case it's four novellas, so each individual story has a bit more meat to it. None of these stories connect back to the Perry family, who provide what I feel is the emotional center of this whole universe.

There is no real sense of the stakes for most of this volume, the titular potential End of All Things - for humanity, that is, which could be wiped out as the balance of power was shaken with the happenings from the previous book. Even with catastrophic consequences possible for Earth, the home world of humanity in this crazy outer space, there's no feeling it. There's no caring! There's only four different narrators in four different stories, two of which are male and two of which are female; two normal humans, one human brain in a box, one alien, all of whom nonetheless maintain exactly the same ironic detachment and snark at all times. To me they really felt indistinguishable from one another.

Once again, I feel as if I have tread upon this ground recently in reading James S.A. Corey's The Expanse series, the most recent book of which, Nemesis Games treats with similar things and does so, so much better in doing so. It's a night and day comparison. That is a book where you can feel tension, where the stakes are apparent, and where, when bad things are happening, they are happening to characters we know and care about.

This did not rub me as being the kind of cheap cash-in that was Zoe's Tale, but nonetheless I just kind of get the feeling that Scalzi doesn't want to write about this stuff any more and feels like he can't leave that money on the table. At least in comparison to Zoe's, The End of All Things treads on new ground rather than giving us different POV characters and re-explaining what happened before. But when you turn in your second straight connected short-stories-as-novel in a row, like, what are you doing, really? The plot advances, two books worth now, without ever giving the reader much investment in the larger story that is being served.

There were some good parts. The first of the novellas is probably the best of the four and it does do a decent job of laying the foundation for what is going on underneath the other three stories. Others... ehh. Maybe I'm just a hater, I don't know. If every novel was written in the same way as every other novel, that would be boring. Maybe this connected short story thing is trying to explore new ground? But it does not feel that way to me - especially since I just recently read some bold new writing ideas for spreading out POVs in Joe Abercrombie's Shattered Sea trilogy. A story is stronger when you can carry out each POV through the whole story and have them connect to one another at different times throughout.

Curiously, after the plot's conclusion, Scalzi shares some uncompleted fragments from an original draft of the book. I don't know that I have seen this move often except with books that were posthumously published, sometimes based on the best idea of what the complete story would be rather than a definitive, author-decreed complete story. An uncharitable view of this decision would be that he wants you to see how hard he worked on the story because the old version that he had drafted kind of sucks and it is in fact the case that the novel that was ultimately published, flawed and frustrating as it is, makes a big step up from what was originally being written in those very early drafts. A charitable view would just be that he thinks that people might find it interesting to see from where it came.

I don't doubt that he pulled up an OK book out of a bad beginning. I know he can do better. I know he can do worse. I guess I could be happy with OK. There are at least three fantasy series right now that I have read and I have waited multiple years for the next book. Maybe sometimes you need to just push out an OK book to get to the story you really want to tell. Maybe that story is still inside of Scalzi, and maybe the OMW series will move on to that in subsequent volumes. Maybe people out there really like this stuff. I don't know. He did win a Hugo for what was one of the worst books I have ever read all the way through.

In the end, a hearty meh, and what would probably be 2.5 stars if there were half-stars. I round up to three instead.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,617 reviews429 followers
July 25, 2020
-¿Será el final de esta cosa? Lo dudamos yo y la cuenta bancaria de Scalzi.-

Género. Ciencia ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. El libro El final de todas las cosas (publicación original: The End of All Things, 2015) muestra que los desencuentros de la Tierra con la Unión Colonial se han extendido a otros planetas, y es que una nueva facción ha puesto en su punto de mira tanto al Cónclave como a la Unión. Sexto libro (¿y final?) de la saga La vieja guardia.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

Profile Image for Lata.
3,599 reviews192 followers
November 24, 2017
I am glad I decided to read this series. I've enjoyed each instalment a little more than the one previous, and the team-up of Ode Abumwe and Harry Wilson (and Hart Schmidt) has been terrific in this and the previous book. The B-Team came through beautifully and did amazing things.
I liked how each novella in this book changed point of view, and how each character showed the impact of the worsening situation within the Colonial Union.
And Ode Abumwe and Hafte Sorvalh--I just loved both women.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,655 reviews1,692 followers
May 16, 2017
I love this series! This one wasn't my favorite, but it does a great job finishing off the arc started way back in The Last Colony and escalated in The Human Division. Whenever Scalzi comes back to this series, he'll have a brand new universe to play around in. Also, it's chock full of Scalzi's smart, irreverent voice.

So this is the sixth book in Scalzi's Old Man's War series. The first three books are a trilogy, #4 is a weird re-telling of #3, and then Human Division and this one. The last two are in the more experimental vein, both being told in "episodes" instead of one long story. The episodes in Human Division were smaller (there were thirteen of them), but here there are only four, longer novella-length ones. They all serve their purpose in the larger story, but can also be read on their own individually (why you would want to do that escapes me).

The main arc in this book (really, carried over from the last two proper books) is the predicament the galaxy has found itself in now that Earth is clued in to the fuckery the Colonial Union has been getting up to over the years, subjugating and killing alien races to colonize planets, using Earth as a soldier farm without letting anyone on the planet know what's actually going on in the galaxy, and just generally being shitty galactic neighbors. In response, most other aliens in the galaxy formed a union of their own--The Conclave--to protect themselves against the CU. So now the CU has to live with the consequences of its actions, and not only find a way to get a long with everyone, but to repair the damages their past actions have caused.

And as if that wasn't hard enough of a task, there's an invisible third party out there stealing ships and committing acts of terror against both sides to escalate the tension between the two groups AND the humans back on Earth as well.

But that's just background. The meat of this book is in its four novellas, each of which tell a complete story in a different way, featuring different main characters, but which all fit into the universe he's created and move the over-arching plot along. My favorite was probably the very first one, because the narrator was super sassy and clever, and was also a dude with his brain in a box. We also get one from the POV of the assistant to the leader of the Conclave, one about CU soldiers who are seeing firsthand as the CU's power erodes, and the last one brings it all to a head, ending with events that effectively change the universe Scalzi is writing in forever. I really love the first three Old Man's War books and their focus on one story with one or two POV characters, but I'm also super digging this episodic format and what it does to Scalzi's storytelling. It's such a neat way to bring across these super large and massive changes, and it's such a pleasingly economic way to approach storytelling.

I will look forward to the next book in the series being out within a couple of years, but I wouldn't mind re-visiting all six of these in a row, just so I can see how the whole thing fits together, either.

(As a note, I read this on audiobook, the first of the OMW books I've done that with. I liked the experience and the dual narrators Tavia Gilbert and William Dufris, although I did miss Scalzi's usual Wheatoney narrator. He just does Scalzi's narrative voice so well.)

[4.5 stars]
Profile Image for Marijan Šiško.
Author 1 book63 followers
December 4, 2016
I tako završava ciklus staračkog rata. Sve što sam već napisao o Scalzijevim djelima stoji i dalje. Osvježavajuće, novo zanimljivo, a opet s toliko klasičnih elemenata da budu prepoznatljivi. uostalom, tko god je u stanju bešavno uklopiti 'damn it Jim...' momenat u svoju knjigu zaslužuje od mene naklon.
Profile Image for Mike.
483 reviews376 followers
October 13, 2015
My reviews for the constituent parts:
Life of the Mind
This Hollow Union
Can Long Endure
To Stand or Fall

I greatly enjoyed this book. Scalzi did a great job extending the events from The Human Division. I loved the first three installments, where we got to spend time with secondary or completely new characters, but found the last installment lacking (for reasons I laid out in my review of To Stand of Fall). I think Scalzi wanted to use this book as a pivot to a new galactic dynamic. We saw how much things had been thrown out of the status quo in the Human Division and now Scalzi has reset the board, allowing him to explore different parts within this new paradigm.

I did feel like this book was a bit shorter than the Human Division and didn't quite delve as deeply into the nooks and crannies of the universe but there was plenty of interesting reflections and characters. All in all this was a great addition to the Old Man's War universe.
Profile Image for Krbo.
326 reviews41 followers
June 1, 2016
ugodna zabava

nastavak događaja oko Kolonijalne unije, Konklave i Zemlje kroz nekoliko općom radnjom povezanih priča uz alternativnu prvu (i najbolju)

alternativa mi se uopće nije svidjela pa sam ju malo probao i preskočio.

skoro pa četvorka

Profile Image for Veronique.
1,232 reviews169 followers
November 15, 2017
“And so we learn how simple it is to change the history of the universe,” Sorvalh said. “All you need is for every other thing to have gone so horribly wrong

This was a straight continuation to The Human Division with my favourite characters back. Once more the narration is divided between several different points of views but this time each section is much longer. This made it a little of a shock at the first transition, for me, but then I just focused on the story. Scalzi of course does it again, juggling all these plot threads and finding a believable way of tying them off :0)
Profile Image for Eric.
872 reviews77 followers
July 2, 2015
Following a similar approach to author John Scalzi's last novel in the series, The Human Division, which was broken into thirteen segments, this was broken into four novellas, which are being serialized weekly over the next month. Instead of writing four separate reviews, I'll just collect the four novella reviews here.

'The Life of the Mind'

An interesting, if unexpected, start to the novel, having it be the memoir of another person turned "brain-in-a-box" ship -- except, unlike the one we previously encountered in A Problem of Proportion, this one quickly learns to fight back.

'This Hollow Union'

For this installment, the focal point is Conclave second-in-command Hafte Sorvalh and her dealings with humans -- both from Earth and the Colonial Union. The behind-the-curtain political machinations were interesting, as was the introduction of Conclave head of intelligence Vnac Oi. It is fun to see the scope of what Scalzi can do using these shorter length novellas from different points-of-view instead of a linear story following one cast of characters.

'Can Long Endure'

A look at a platoon of rank-and-file Colonial Union soldiers during an exhausting stretch of them quelling endless uprisings and rebellions from their own colonies. It brings up some interesting philosophical points regarding how the CU should be handling their position. I'm a bit surprised that Harry Wilson, Hart Schmidt, and Ambassador Abumwe have only been tertiary characters until this point, but maybe they are being saved for the grand finale.

'To Stand or Fall'

The final installment follows Lieutenant Harry Wilson from right after the events of Can Long Endure. It does an admirable job of tying the first three parts of the novel together, and of concluding the overarching story begun in The Human Division.

Where The Human Division felt like a thirteen-episode television show, this felt much more like a four-episode mini-series that delved deeper into fewer topics. Both of these experiments in serialization prove that Scalzi is a master of his craft and one of the best sci-fi authors working right now. I look forward to his future work, of which there is a surprising amount of clarity, since he just signed a ten book deal with Tor.
Profile Image for Adah Udechukwu.
621 reviews83 followers
July 31, 2018
The End of All Things was awesome. Totally awesome. I loved every moment
Profile Image for Neil Hepworth.
229 reviews47 followers
October 16, 2015
Certainly not bad with a capital B science fiction (heaven knows I’ve read enough of that this summer), but there is no pop, no fizz, and nothing that you’ll remember in a week...unless you’re prone to hang onto your disappointment like I am. This novel is a lot like The Phantom Menace - scroll down a bit to find out why.

A Review of Each of the Four Stories Found in The End of All Things:

“The Life of the Mind” - Not bad. An interesting start about a brain that used to be in a body but now lives in a box. Don’t worry, I didn’t just spoil anything, I’m mean, we’re told this little nugget of info in the first sentence. "The Life of the Mind" was the longest of the four, and the first half of it was pretty interesting, but once the brain gets in the box the only way to get information is to download info from a PDA and have the hero-brain-in-the-box play scenes of recorded meetings. WAY too much information is divulged in this manner. I admit, the ending, though quick, is nicely entertaining. This is a good story to start with and if the following stories had progressively gotten bigger, better, badder and more exciting, then we’d have a great book on our hands. But we don’t. 3 out of 5 stars.

“This Hollow Union” - Turn on C-SPAN and slather the politicians with an extra dose of superiority complex and you'll have a pretty good idea what you're in for in story number two. During which story is a brief, albeit exciting rescue scene. Then we go back to C-SPAN. Hollow indeed. 2 out of 5 stars.

“Can Long Endure” - Finally, we return to the green men of the CDF, which is (I think most of us would agree) the reason we all latched on to the Old Man’s War universe in the first place. After a three-book hiatus, the green men who kick asses are back. At last there is some action in the story...but never fear, all of the it is just thinly disguised (and completely nuanced-free) commentary on the current wars going on in 2015 in the Middle East - a healthy dose of guilt to go along with your action. And no, all of the talk about “root causes” does not qualify as nuance.

Unfortunately, as other reviewers have pointed out, our super-cool-amazing-green-men all speak with the typical Scalzi snark, and so all of the green men sound the same...in fact they sound just like the aliens from the last story...who, in fact, also sound the same as the head in the box from the first story. I’m glad I didn’t have to endure for too long. 2 out of 5 stars.

“To Stand or Fall” - The end is nigh, and so we start the last chapter with a lengthy, yet compassionate, interrogation. There's a meeting in this room, and then a meeting in this room, and then a conference in this room wherein everyone pulls together and talks it out so that peace can exist! And the exciting scene you think is going to end the novel is successfully avoided. Whew - really dodged a bullet there. 2.5 stars out of 5.

Final thoughts: the emotional scenes, the loss of life and character - I didn’t care about any of them. I didn’t grow to love any of the characters, I didn’t find them endearing, I didn’t find them thoughtful. I found them pedantic and irritating. And the book, it just has no substance.

How Old Man’s War is a lot like Star Wars:

The End of All Things is the The Phantom Menace of OMW - just enough action and snappy dialogue to make for a good trailer, but when you sit down in the movie theater, it turns out to be just a bunch of dudes and dudettes (and aliens) sitting around and politicking. The End of All Things even has George Lucas’s signature level of social critique leveled against the United States.

(...which is not to say the United States doesn’t deserve critiquing, only that the depth of analysis of our problems comes across with the intelligence of an enthusiastic high school freshman who's just found CNN...)

The End of All Things relies on characters who, I’m sure Scalzi thought were clever, but after pages and pages of banter and drivel, the dialogue begins to weary the ear. At least George Lucas tossed in an epic lightsaber duel and space battle at the end of The Phantom Menace to compensate the audience for sitting through two hours of political bickering and motions. In this novel, Scalzi doesn’t even give us that. To be fair, Scalzi didn’t create a Jar-Jar Binks, so I guess he’s got that going for him.

Actually, Old Man’s War as Star Wars works on a few more levels, too. Just like Star Wars, I read Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades many years ago and fell in love with the OMW universe (and Scalzi, too). The characters, the space, the spaceships, the action, the intelligent plot were all fresh, engaging, and most of all, entertaining. Then came The Last Colony, which was less, much less than its predecessors. Then came Zoe's Tale, which was less, much much less than The Last Colony. The Human Division breathed some life back into the OMW’s universe and put some action back in the game, a little bit like The Clone Wars did - it even came in episodic format. But now, at The End of All Things, the joy is gone. No more memorable characters, no more rousing action scenes, no more insight - just people and aliens standing (or sitting) around and talking for the sake of hearing their own voices. George Lucas, what have you done to my childhood?

I love Star Wars, and I’m still gonna go see The Force Awakens. I loved John Scalzi and his OMW universe, and I’m not going to read another novel set there.

To be sure, just like Star Wars, OMW will continue on long without me. Scalzi just signed a nicely sized deal for a nicely sized chunk of cash, and good for him - I won’t not admit that it makes me jealous (both the money and the fact that he can write novels and I cannot). He’ll keep writing OMW books, and lots of people will keep reading and enjoying them - I just won’t be one of ‘em.
Profile Image for Sensei_cor.
259 reviews83 followers
August 28, 2021
Continuación directa de "La humanidad dividida" aunque con más puntos de vista para que tengas toda la información de las cosas que pasan en los distintos lugares donde transcurre la acción.

Muy bien, en la línea de los anteriores. Muy disfrutable como siempre!
Profile Image for Tanabrus.
1,841 reviews160 followers
June 16, 2022
Un'ottima conclusione per una gran bella serie fantascientifica, che chiude in maniera dignitosa le vicende della UC, della Terra e del Conclave.

Avrei immaginato ci sarebbe stato spazio per Perry in questo finale, o per la figlia, o per la moglie. Invece si sono seguiti bene o male i personaggi del libro precedente, oltre a nuovi.

Non che la storia non scorra o non sia bella per questo, ma per chiudere correttamente il cerchio mi sarebbe piaciuta la comparsa di chi aveva cominciato tutto (sia a livello di personaggi della serie, sia per quanto riguarda la situazione politico-diplomatica)

Ottima serie nel complesso, comunque.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,133 reviews309 followers
October 1, 2020
This final book in the Old Man's War series pretty much wraps everything up. This book is divided into four distinct parts, featuring different characters, but closely related and tied together by characters who, for the most part, we are already familiar with.

The exception is the opening part, "The Life of the Mind", which features a new character, Rafe Daquin. This first section was by far my favourite in the book. The other three were all ok, but did not engage me as completely.

As a whole, the Old Man's War series is a 3 star read for me. I know most people love the snarky tone, but it just isn't for me. It made me feel like the stories lacked depth, because any emotion was always kind of brushed off in a drily humourous way. This probably explains why The Ghost Brigades ended up being my favourite of the series. The two main characters were pretty much incapable of humour, so the story felt like it had a lot more emotional depth.

Overall, I'm glad I read the series, but I don't think Scalzi is really the best pick for me personally. However, if you are among the many who enjoy that kind of humourous tone, you will enjoy it.
Profile Image for Rob.
848 reviews535 followers
August 22, 2015
Executive Summary: I didn't enjoy this quite as much as The Human Division, but it wraps things up nicely.

Audio book: I've always enjoyed William Dufris as a narrator for this series. In this book, he splits time (2 stories a piece, with bonus material read by Mr. Dufris) with Tavia Gilbert who did the narration for Zoe's Tale.

This seemed like a good choice, as each narrated the story from characters of their gender. Both do an excellent job, and this is definitely a series that works well in audio, but then, I think that's the case for all of Mr. Scalzi's novels.

Full Review
The Human Division is probably my favorite of Mr. Scalzi's novels to date. Well, technically it wasn't really a novel, but a collection of short stories, but I consumed it as a novel. In a similar vein, this book is really a collection of four novellas.

I'm not sure why he opted to tell fewer stories this time around, but I think it was slightly to the collection's detriment. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy it, but a story I didn't enjoy as much: Can Long Endure now stands out a lot more as one of four stories, rather than one of thirteen. It felt much slower, and in a book this short, I'd have liked more time spent on other things instead of following around a squad of soldiers. It would have worked much better if he cut it in half, and either did more in the final story, or told another story that moved the plot along more.

Thankfully, the other three stories were much better. I particularly enjoyed This Hollow Union, and would put it right up there with the best stories in The Human Division. I can't recall if we got stories from inside the Conclave in the last book, but it was a nice addition here.

The conclusion in Stand or Fall was quite good, though it felt a bit rushed due to the meandering in Can Long Endure. That said, considering this may be our last Old Man's War book for a long time, things are left in a good place. Harry Wilson probably remains my favorite character in the series, and it felt fitting to end things with his POV.

The Life of the Mind does a good job resolving the cliffhanger ending from The Human Division quickly, but then drags a bit in the middle before getting really good and setting the stage for the rest of the book.

The bonus material, which is an alternate take on The Life of the Mind was fine, but nothing special. I felt it added very little to the collection, but it's worth a listen if you've already bought it.

Overall, this is a good book, that anyone who's read this far in the series won't want to miss, and I expect will be happy with.

Story Ratings
The Life of the Mind - 3.5 stars
This Hollow Union - 4.5 stars
Can Long Endure - 3 Stars
Stand or Fall - 4 stars
Profile Image for César Bustíos.
273 reviews100 followers
November 14, 2019
"Acabamos de aprender lo fácil que es cambiar la historia del universo. Solo se necesita que todo lo anterior haya sido un desastre. Acompáñenme, señoras embajadoras. Anunciemos nuestra nueva era de paz juntas; que nadie nos arrebate tal honor. Y luego, vayamos de la mano a la guerra. Por primera y, esperemos, última vez."

Luego de seis novelas, una noveleta y dos cuentos, esto llega a su fin, o, por lo menos, el fin de este arco narrativo. Antes de ponerme a llorar por llegar al final de la saga, tengo que decir que me consuela haber escuchado por ahí que Scalzi no descarta regresar en el futuro al universo de La Vieja Guardia con otro arco. ¡Esperemos!

El autor sabe que es esa prosa ágil y divertida lo que vende, de esa que no paras de leer y te comes el libro en algunos días. Si has leído The Sagan Diary puedes estar seguro de que Scalzi cuenta con la habilidad suficiente para escribir cosas mucho más profundas, el problema es que él mismo se ha marcado un estilo que tal vez no vaya con lo que queremos sus seguidores (tal vez esa fue la razón por la cual le di tres estrellas, no es mi tipo de lectura). En fin, yo me la paso genial y estoy dispuesto a tirar mi dinero a cualquier libro que salga de este univero; de hecho, cualquier cosa que diga Scalzi en la portada. Ahora con La Interdependencia tenemos para divertirnos un buen rato.

Ha sido un viaje tremendo.

Profile Image for Tudor Vlad.
327 reviews73 followers
July 28, 2016
Another end, another disappointment. I don’t know if John Scalzi will keep writing books in the Old Man’s War universe after this one, but I hope he stops. It doesn’t feel like him writing out of pleasure, but rather the publisher forcing him to milk this franchise some more. By all means, this was not a bad book but it was bad when compared to the rest of the series. All throughout this book there is a sense of urgency, of pending destruction, and I wish John Scalzi had the courage of not giving everyone a happy ending. Everything is resolved with little consequences or hardships.
Profile Image for Lilia Ford.
Author 15 books186 followers
December 1, 2015
This series has always been highly readable, but I do think the most recent two books demonstrated a genuine advance in complexity, both in the ideas being explored and in the narrative and plot structures used to explore them. The End of All Things like The Human Division is essentially an agglomeration of independent stories, which sounds unwieldy, but which I found enabled Scalzi to juxtapose different and often contradictory perspectives on an unfolding crisis. Thematically this is important first, because so much that happens in this crisis--and war in general--takes place because bits of key information are spread about among people who don't communicate with each other, especially soldiers, brass and diplomats; and second, in terms of the whole of the series, some of the sections are narrated by non-human "aliens" supposedly enemies of the Colonial Union, and it has been the lack of those perspectives that brought the Colonial Union and humanity to the point of annihilation in the first place.

I will also put in a word for Scalzi's continuing exploration of female leadership with the characters Hafte Sorvalh and Ambassador Ode Abumwe and a climactic scene that I personally found groundbreaking: .

Despite the title, this is not the final book in the series, which is good because just about everything to do with the "bad guys" is left unresolved, somewhat annoyingly to be honest. Scalzi will have to do a fair amount of work to make "Equilibrium" into something more than a SPECTRE-like "Evil Organization of Doom," because so far they lack anything resembling coherence of ideology or aim to go along with their formidable ability to deliver set-piece friendly mayhem. It matters because failure there would greatly weaken the series' larger critique of the CU and human militarism in general.

That being said, I have no desire to see this series end given that it's ridiculously entertaining AND unlike most, actually getting better with each book. Overall, I would highly recommend this to all traditional sci-fi fans, especially those who like military or alien-invasion focused stories.

Profile Image for Javier Muñoz.
791 reviews70 followers
March 21, 2021
La serie de la vieja guardia es una saga que me ha entretenido mucho y seguramente volveré a leer en el futuro, en especial los tres primeros que me parecen de lo mejor que he leído en ciencia ficción militar, incluso la historia de Zoe me parece que está muy bien, pero he de reconocer que los últimos dos libros me han decepcionado bastante.

No es que no sean libros entretenidos o que cambie la forma de escribir de Scalzi, o que no tenga sus momentos de brillantez, que los sigue teniendo... quizás sea un caso de "no eres tú, soy yo" y el que ha cambiado como lector desde que inicié la saga soy yo, o quizás tenga que ver con el hecho de que las historias me parecen "más pequeñas" aún teniendo en cuenta la escala galáctica, porque en realidad son colecciones de novelas cortas relacionadas entre sí... el caso es que estas últimas dos novelas no me han calado tanto como las anteriores, y en especial esta última me ha parecido un final de saga bastante flojo.

Hablando de esta nivela, me ha dado la impresión de que Scalzi intenta utilizar los viejos trucos que siempre le han funcionado pero, al menos en mi caso, han perdido algo de efecto. Además termina con un final abrupto, con bastantes menos fuegos artificiales de los que esperaría de este autor. Mi sensación fue bastante agridulce, porque además me sorprendió ver que quedaban aún bastantes páginas... por lo visto lo que hay al final del libro es una versión alternativa del principio del primer relato de este libro... sinceramente, después de leer la introducción a este último relato, he decidido no leerlo, una versión altenativa incompleta que acaba en un cliffhanger... no le veo interés la verdad.
Profile Image for Joel.
624 reviews229 followers
August 16, 2015
I won't try to justify why I love this book with a huge pile of words. I will say that Scalzi writes a certain type of character really well; the first person, cocky, smarter-than-the-room type. Which he writes to a degree in this book, even though it's a series of semi-connected short stories, ala The Human Division. Scalzi proves some range in this book, featuring a good chunk of strong female prominence, as well as the strong male characters that he's known for. Overall, I don't feel that I need 1000 words to say "this story is really awesome".

Scalzi does what he does best, and for this book, it was exactly what I love him for. It doesn't come across as tired, boring, or unoriginal; he finds a way to make his writing relevant at all times, to make equal time between a male and female protagonist feel normal and not planned/forced, which is what many of us are looking for in a female protagonist (for them to feel like just the lead character who HAPPENS to be female, rather than a forced female character).

I loved the book, I enjoyed it immensely, and I look forward to more Scalzi. I have an appointment to meet and hang out with John next week, and I'm looking forward to it an extreme amount. His books are amazing, and this one is no exception.
Profile Image for Gary.
442 reviews186 followers
September 13, 2015
Definitely the best book in this series since The Ghost Brigades. Scalzi puts his philosophy degree to good use in this one, using four different first person narratives to tell one linear story about the importance of appreciating differing points of view. And it's a pretty kick ass action space opera story, too. If not for Scalzi's tendency to overwrite his dialogue exchanges and to occasionally lead the reader by the nose, this very good (and sometimes great) book could have been an all time classic.
Profile Image for Lady*M.
1,069 reviews99 followers
August 23, 2015
4+ stars

The End of All Things is a sixth book in the Old Man's War series. Scalzi retired John Perry and Harry Wilson became the new face of the series. What I liked about this book is that Scalzi told the story from the different places of the conflict and, like a jigsaw, made them all fit together into one large tapestry. The book consist of four novella's (plus one bonus alternate version): The Life of the Mind, This Hollow Union, Can Long Endure and To Stand or Fall (plus alternate The Life of the Mind).

The Life of the Mind is told from the POV of Rafe Daquin, programmer turned pilot who takes a job on the Chandler, a cargo ship. The job is simple and should be uneventful. But, of course, that is not the case. The crew is betrayed by one of its passengers and all of them killed. Rafe is spared, only to be turned into 'brain in the box' and hooked to Chandler to become basically a suicide pilot for the Equilibrium, mysterious group which is trying to destroy both human Colonial Union and alien Conclave.

After the initial panic, Rafe has to utilize all his knowledge and cunning to outsmart his captors, human and alien alike, to try to escape and save his life. It could be, in fact, that his fate will be the fate of humanity. Rafe is likable narrator not the least because he finds humor even in his horrible situation.

This Hollow Union turns to the Conclave, union of 400 alien species, led by General Tarsem Gau. The narrator is his right hand (wo)man Hafte Sorvalh, a Lalan counselor, who is trying to help the General preserve the union from the ambition and stupidity of some of its members. The situation is complicated by the announced arrival of two human delegations - one from Earth, one from Colonial Union - since humans aren't particularly popular with the Conclave members. When Earth's ship is attacked and CU's Chandler comes to the rescue carrying unsettling information, Sorvalh is thrust in the thick of it - literally and figuratively.

I always liked how Scalzi was able to describe the otherness of the aliens, not just their looks, but their way of life. And, Lalan's way of life inspires the General to and give Conclave the future in Sorvalh's hands. Not that she is happy about it.

In Can Long Endure, Scalzi gives us the ground look at the civil war brewing in the Colonial Union. A Colonial Defense Forces squad flies through the Union's space, putting out fires on the planets that want to secede from the Union. Lieutenant Heather Lee, their leader, is the POV character. As the missions continue, the members of the team start questioning their role, since they were originally formed to fight against aliens. The Equilibrium is going forward with their plans, which puts Lee's squad in danger. I liked how this story ended. The CDF badasses are again shown to be more complicated than what you might presume from genetically modified super soldiers.

Finally, Lieutenant Harry Wilson gets the spotlight in To Stand or Fall. Stationed on the Chandler, he is in charge of interrogating the Equilibrium prisoners, both alien and human alike. When he discovers their plans, he and Ambassador Abumwe need to juggle three sides - Conclave, Colonial Union and Earth - to stop the galactic war that will lead to their complete destruction and possible extinction of the human kind. Wilson once again demonstrates his ability to think outside of the box and aggravate all sides equally, but he gets the results. In a grand Scalzi tradition, he is a little sarcastic shit, but you have to love him:

“This isn’t really something I could have put into a note.”
“Try it now.”
“All right,” I said. “‘Dear Danielle Lowen: How are you? I am fine. The group that destroyed Earth Station and made it look like the Colonial Union did it is now planning to nuke the surface of your planet until it glows, and frame the Conclave for it. Hope you are well. Looking forward to rescuing you in space again soon. Your friend, Harry Wilson.’”

Scalzi ties the stories together and, unbelievably, leaves the universe in a good place. He promises more books in the series in the future (he has at least one more contracted), but not near future. This is a good place to make a pause.

I thoroughly enjoyed this addition to the series. I like Scalzi's humor and his easy-to-read style, his ability to evoke emotions and underline absurdity even in the direst situations. His characters are likable and complex - even people who do horrible things have redeeming qualities. Old Man's War series is accessible even to the people who aren't sci-fi fans. The End of All Things is highly recommended.

Profile Image for نیما اکبرخانی.
Author 3 books121 followers
February 8, 2020
پایان جنگ پیرمرد.
پاره اول یعنی روایت با زاویهی مغز توی جعبه فراتر از فوق العاده بود.
ادامه‌ی داستان هم مثل باقی کارهای این مجموعه خیل خوب بود، این کتاب چون آخرین داستان بود به نوعی جمع بندی همه‌‌ی مسائل و ارائه‌ی راه حل برای همه مشکلاتی بود که در تفرقه‌ی انسان پیش اومد.
همینطور بیانیه‌ی سیاسی یا همون درون مایه‌ی داستان آقای اسکالزی رو هم شامل می‌شد.
موازنه کوچکتر از این بود که بخواد تهدیدی برای کسی باشه البته به شرطی که اتحادیه یا شورا نخواد دشمن بسازه. به نوعی کلیت داستان هم گویای حال و روز خود بشره ، بشری که حاضر نیست ائتلاف کنه و اون قدر در خدعه و توطئه فرو رفته که واقعا عاقبتش رو خدا به خیر کنه.
بشری که یادش می‌ره و توی شرایط جنگی و کینه ورزی حتی می تونه با بیگانه ها هم ائتلاف کنه تا بتونه منافع خودش رو تامین کنه. اشاره‌ی خیلی واضح به اینکه چطوری از جنبش های پاک آزادی خواهی و استقلال طلبی سواستفاده می‌شه و ...
مجموعه کلا سیاسی بود ولی این کتاب آخر از همه بیشتر.
نهایتا مجموعه‌ی جنگ پیرمرد باعث شد من ایام خوشی رو سپری کنم. شعارهای کتاب اونقدر کمه و اونقدر خوب استتار شده که می‌شه به راحتی ندیدشون گرفت و صرفا لذت برد.
پایان بندی خوشی هم داشت صد البته که من هیچ ایرادی بهش نمی گیرم. می تونست خیلی بدتر از این ها تموم بشه ولی چه کاریه آدم خوشی مردم رو خراب کنه ؟ :))))
در هر حال اگر اهل علمی تخیلی خوندن نیستید خدای نکرده، باز هم گزینه‌ی خوبیه برای چشیدن این ژانر که داستان به شدت خوش خوان و روان و جذابه. اهلش هم که می دونه باید اینو ببلعه.
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