cover image The End of All Things

The End of All Things

John Scalzi. Tor, $24.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7607-7

Hugo-winner Scalzi integrates the best aspects of war stories into the polished and powerful sixth volume—which consists of four connected novellas—in the Old Man’s War space opera series. The inevitable and parallel downward spirals of the two corrupt space empires, the human Colonial Union and the alien Conclave, are finally coming to a head. All four protagonists work for one of the two entities, and Scalzi shifts among their perspectives to thread a fine needle, recognizing that good people can be entrenched in terrible systems and sometimes can’t (or won’t) change them. Added tension comes in the form of a group called the Equilibrium, which is intent on destroying both the Colonial Union and the Conclave and killing billions in the process. Human Harry Wilson and alien Hafte Sorvalh will be familiar to returning readers, while CU pilot Rafe Daquin and CU Lt. Heather Lee are welcome new voices. New readers will certainly enjoy the work, but the real payoff comes for longtime fans, who will especially appreciate a powerful moment featuring the alien General Gau. Scalzi knows just how to satisfy his fans, providing tense, thrilling action scenes while turning a critical eye on the interstellar equivalents of the military-industrial complex. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. (Aug.)