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.
“You should be dead!” Aul yelled at the monitor. “You should be dead, your ship should be dead, you should all be dead! You magnificent shit-eater!”
The End of All Things is the follow up to The Human Division. Shit broke itself, and now we gotta fix it. All while some truly heinous, horrifically awesome sci-fi is going on. When I say Old Man’s War gets better after Perry and Sagan aren’t around anymore, I really mean it. John Scalzi just really knows how to write some good sci-fi.
This book is broken up into four novellas that were each released individually. Where it differs from The Human Division, which was also released in parts individually and collected later into one volume, is that The End of All Things just tells a narrative way better. It feels like a story, not a bunch of little bits and pieces that may or may not be important.
The End of All Things tell- four stories, from four different people, all in chronological order. The goal? To fix everything that goes wrong in The Human Division, and make everyone happy. A lofty, but impossible, goal. There are too many people with too many different, competing, desires. Still a good story.
It is also truly terrifying at times.
The first novella, The Life of the Mind, features a brain in a jar. Really. The….the very idea of being trapped inside your own mind without any input is absolutely horrifying. Scalzi, until this point, has done a very good job in the series at bringing up the horrific without dwelling on it. This novella dwells on it. It feeds on it. It thrives on it. This idea is really weird, creepy, and interesting. He was a person, then he became a brain. They forced him to become a brain that had to follow orders – and he isn’t that good at following orders.
The second novella, This Hollow Union, didn’t go where I expected it to go. Things are heating up fast. But I love the main character, Hafte Sorvalh. I also really love the leader of the Conclave, General Grau. These two are an amazing pair. I just..didn’t expect this novella to end up where it did. I’m scared! I’m really, really scared. The main purpose is to show how absolutely tired the alien Conclave is of humans, but most specifically the Colonial Union, as if we didn’t know that already. The secondary purpose was the end of the novella, which holy shit was not where I expected it to go.
The third novella, Can Long Endure, is another one I didn’t expect the end of. It just didn’t have the holy shit consequences that This Hollow Union had. The purpose is to see just how much the Colonial Union is falling to pieces. They’re on the brink of collapse. All because of their own shitty actions. No one wants to play with them anymore. Not the Conclave, not Earth, not their planets. Not even their soldiers. No one. Shit is getting real, and it is getting real quickly.
The last novella, To Stand or Fall, is the end. The real end to the series, not the end like we got in The Last Colony. There is nowhere else to go from here. The novella actually feels quick, because it so smoothly slides into where the end is. There were a few diplomatic hiccoughs, but everything just kind of ended. Quickly. I was actually expecting more flash, more bang. But it was more like a flop.
Overall, I really liked The End of All Things, and I enjoyed reading Old Man’s War. It isn’t my favourite by any means, but I had a lot of fun reading it. I enjoyed many of the concepts. There were some things I would have liked different, but isn’t that true of everyone of every series? As is, it was enjoyable.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Old Man’s War series page!