I am relatively new to the world of science fiction. I just started to get into science fiction about 10 months ago. The first sci-fi book I got was Old Man’s War and I fell in love with Scalzi’s writing and the world of Old Man’s War. I listened to all the installments of Old Man’s War(excluding Zoe’s War) on audiobook because they translate so well to audiobook. William Dufris is an excellent narrator and the personality he has given characters like John Perry and Harry Wilson has been the highlight of listening to these books. I was extremely surprised to find out that Tavia Gilbert would be doing some of the narration in The End of All Things along with Dufris. I unfortunately was a bit disappointed in Gilbert’s presentation of her narration of The End of All Things. Though it was nice to have a female point of view(other than Zoe) and an alien point of view at that, the delivery of the characters fell flat for me. My biggest gripe was that Harry Wilson’s character, from the view point of the two female point of views, just didn’t seem like the Harry Wilson we have been following. This is the only Old Man’s War book that I would recommend people not listen to the audiobook.
I liked The End of All Things by John Scalzi but this installment felt off to me. The Human Division was just fantastic. Each of the individual stories were either exciting or humorous and the connection between the characters was what I really enjoyed. In The End of All Things, that connection, especially the connection between Harry Wilson and Hart Schmidt was missing. Schmidt was the normal everyday character I could relate to in The Human Division and he was hardly in The End of All Things. In The End of All Things, the individual stories just didn’t impress me as much as the previous book. Yes, I did really like the opening story about Raff Daquin but when the narrator changed, and we got a view point from the Conclave’s Hafte Sorvalh it just felt too different. The book became extremely dialogue and political heavy. Even though politics has been a big part of the Old Man’s War universe, it was always in the background behind humor, and fun characters doing fun things. In The End of All Things, the politics is right in your face, and it just didn’t work as well for me.
More than any other Old Man’s War book, I felt that Scalzi was being a little too preachy about real world politics in this. Maybe it was the lack of fun in the second and forth episodes but I was constantly being reminded how much of a correlation this all had with American foreign policy. Some readers will just eat this stuff up and love this commentary, but I’m not one of them.
In the end afterword(at lease in the audiobook), where Scalzi gives the reader an alternate opening chapter, Scalzi himself admits that he rewrote The End of All Things many times. He just didn’t know what type of point of view and characters he wanted to go with. I always felt that he absolutely knew where he was going in the previous installments but in this one it just didn’t seem so.
For a long time, I was under the impression that this was the last book in the Old Man’s War series. I could be wrong but I thought it was advertised so, until Scalzi signed that writing deal with TOR. I just feel that this is a different story before that deal and after that deal. I have no proof of that, just a gut feeling. I don’t think TOR wanted Scalzi to close the Old Man’s War series. That might be a big reason why John Perry is not in The End of All Things.
I guess I am disappointed because I got the story I didn’t want. I really should just review the story as it is. This is the story the author has decided to go with and I should respect that. However, as a fan, I can’t help but be disappointed that this isn’t the closing book in the Old Man’s War series, a book that brings back all the characters from previous books, and unites them again. That just wasn’t this book and I can’t help but long for what could possibly have been.
For this Scalzi reader, I’m hoping for fresh and new things from him. I am very much looking forward to the Lock In sequel.
3/5 11/25 Possible Score
Plot – 2(O.K.)
Characters – 2(O.K.)
Setting/World Building – 3(Good)
Writing Style – 2(O.K.)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 2(O.K.)