The End of All Things (Old Man's War)
by John Scalzi
Edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Cover Artist: John Harris
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765376077
Date: 11 August 2015 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Deprived of an endless source of recruits, the Colonial Union is getting a little desperate. There is peace, but it is a fragile thing. A secret group is working to force humans back into battle. The group has a greater reach than might be expected.
"The Life of Mind" tells how a pilot loses his body and gains a ship. It is hard luck tale of Rafe Daquin who was on an unlucky ship, escaped it to become stranded. His next berth, well it may be his last.
"This Hollow Union" is a tale of sacrifice. The Conclave was a great success, but is on the verge of failure. As is often the case, the leaders needed to create something are not the same ones who are needed for success.
"Can Long Endure" follows the action of Colonial Soldiers as they try to keep the Colonial Union together. The plans of the Equilibrium are developing as they push against the Union and hope for the troubled union to finally fail.
"Too Stand or Fall" is the final confrontation between the Colonial Union, Conclave, and the Equilibrium. The future of peace and the galaxy are in the hands of just a few people. None of whom completely trust one another, but by circumstance are left with few choices.
This is another serial collection of four stories set in the Old Man's War universe. The action builds off of that from The Human Division. As such it is not the best starting point for new readers. The action is good and the plots intertwine between the stories into a mosaic that in the end reveals the whole picture. There is a bonus alternate version of the first story "The Life of Mind" at the end.
The action bounces around to several different areas with a couple of loose linkages. Although not too bad, the action seems to be a bit dragged out. This is a result of linking a series of stories. The bouncing between POVs allow more knowledge of the universe, but it can weaken the connection between characters. Scalzi handles it fairly well as he used diplomats who interact with both major sides. Fans of the original series will find quite a bit to enjoy here.
I enjoyed the four original stories, the alternate version of "The Life of Mind" wasn't as compelling for me. The technology and transfer situations were interesting as was the exploration of crime and punishment. There are still stories to be told in the universe, but I would like to see a novel again instead of another mosaic.