Thursday, 12 November 2015

The End of All Things by John Scalzi

Lowdown: The causes of the human division are finally unveiled.
Another year, another Scalzi book. With this, The End of All Things, the sixth book in the Old Man’s War saga and the long awaited direct sequel of the two year old The Human Division, Scalzi proves he’s like good wine. Not only is can he be counted on to always deliver, he’s actually improving as he goes. [I should have really found a better metaphor here, since I do not like wine, but let us go on with the show.]
I will avoid pretty much any plot discussions here; let us just say that The End of All Things acts as the second half of The Human Division and provides a satisfying ending to that end-less book (while opening the window wide to further sequels that, through Scalzi’s much hyped contract with his publisher, we know will come). There are differences in style between End of All Things and Human Division, though: the newer episode is made of only four stories, and they are each told in first person mode by different people (some of which are non human people). One story teller per each story.
Probably what I liked the most about The End of All Things was the way Scalzi plays with the politics of the world he had created. Make no mistakes about it, although our book features action, it mostly concerns the unfolding of a political drama. The power play at hand, and all the detailed factors causing it to traverse the specific path it does, remind me of another series of science fiction books altogether: Asimov’s Foundation. That used to be the cornerstone of my sci-fi universe; it therefore brings me great delight to witness a contemporary author step up to take the role of a contemporary Asimov and provide entertaining, clever and, well, contemporary science fiction.
The only sad part of this equation is that Asimov delivered us with several hundred books, while Scalzi only manages a fraction of that. Come on, John Scalzi, you can do it!
As an anecdote, I will note The End of All Things features bits where it is clear Scalzi wrote himself into the story. How do I know? Well, being a daily reader of Scalzi's blog for the past seven years or so has granted me with some familiarity with the author, to the point he sort of feels like a family member. I guess that's what happens after daily interactions over so many years. Seriously, though: if you haven't done it thus far, do examine his blog; it is one of the Internet's best. Even better than mine.
Overall: A clever, entertaining, conclusion in an ongoing space opera. 4.5 out of 5 crabs.

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