OMG! Spoilers!

Don’t look below if you don’t want to see the ending of Zoe’s Tale! Stop now! Avert your eyes!

Really, I hope it doesn’t ruin the rest of the book for you.

77 Comments on “OMG! Spoilers!”

  1. Does that really count as “Writing yourself out of that corner you painted your plot into”? It seems to easy. Although, maybe more books should end like that.

  2. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang who is Chang but is Not not chang


    It’s the most original ending ever. And yet so complex. Leave so many unsanswered questions…

  3. I think I’m depressed now….. all the proud feelings of not allowing “The Final Countdown” to be number one in America just left as complete depression over Zoe’s death set in….

  4. Nah, nothing could be depressing on such a fine winter day today. High should be in the mid-70s again, as it has been over the weekend.

  5. Pssh. That was completely telegraphed when Zoe and her friend were complaining about teenaged boys. Try again.

  6. amandageddon – She is a slacker of the highest order, a geek of not so much, went back to school to become an even bigger geek and possibly get paid for it. She loves it when a plan comes together.

    Oh noes! Stupid spoilers! I couldn’t NOT read it, really. I gotta read the spoilers!

  7. Can you write a similar ending for the ’08 presidential race? Maybe a bus wreck or national TV outage or something?

  8. Lies and the lying liars who tell them!

    Coming at the end of one of your books, John, I think that would be a great ending. Somehow I could see it all fitting.

    On second thought, it would fit better for The High Castle than an OMW novel. Just think, you could re-use the ending for various books (say, the Rough Guide to the Universe, Second Edition)

  9. Damn! And here I was expecting a song and dance number at the end.

    What kind of author does this to people? You just go out of your way to blow things up, don’t you? You’re drunk with power, Scalzi! Utterly besotted, I tell you!

    I can see the reviews now: “Scalzi is rarely happy with the common elements of day-to-day life. Therefore, in his madness, he makes the common elements of day-to-day life lethally explosive. What other authors do with really big, freakin’ planet-shattering bombs, Scalzi does with a rigged toothbrush.”

    Sorry… I seem to have rambled off there.

  10. Wow, sucks for those people that died horribly. Wait…does this somehow become some kind of cross cultural tie in and Zoe is the last surviving member of that planet and is sent off to another planet that has a sun of a different color and then she discovers that due to this new illumination she has super powers and becomes the leader of the CU and…I really don’t know where I was going with this.

  11. I personally like, “And then they were eated by bears.”

    But you know, I work on a smaller scale than you do.

  12. Slowly, Trixi removed her bra – and her voluptuous breasts sprang free. And then the planet blew up and everyone died horribly. The End!

    [There, fixed it for ya].

  13. “And then the planet blew up and everyone died horribly.

    Passers-by we amazed at the amount of blood.

    The end.”

  14. Whew! That relieves us from having to buy the sequel. I just read Jack Campbell’s third book in The Lost Fleet series and though I love the writing, love the space battles, it’s going to a fourth book, darn it.

  15. I suspect we have to read chapters 1-24 in order to find out which planet exploded, and whether or not the planet deserved explosion, as well as whether or not the beings that resided on the planet deserved horrible deaths. If chapters 1-24 are as brief as chapter 25, it could make for a cool bedtime story for kids.

  16. #25 Anne C..
    R.E. Jack Campell’s books (per amazon..) says 6 books in Lost Fleet….

    JohnS..So that would be a book “That in the ending the World was without form and exploding gas….” :-)

  17. Um… Does this mean congratulations are in order for FINISHING???

    If so, Conga Rats!!!

    If not, delay implementation of this comment until appropriate.

  18. See, usually I just have the dinosaurs eat everybody. But that’s why you’re the guy They (and you know who They are) are trying to Shanghai you into writing something good for SciFi, and I’m just collecting nice rejection letters.

    However, let me offer this critique.

    Douglas Adams did it better. Try again. This isn’t your story.

  19. damn fingers, that should have been,

    “Douglas Adams did it better, it was the start of his story. Try it again. This isn’t your story.”

  20. “Does it have to be a good novel?”

    That just begs the response – Has that ever been a requirement before? or – Why start now?

    Both said in jest and good fun.

  21. “Douglas Adams did it better, it was the start of his story. Try it again. This isn’t your story.”

    Steve – It’s a tie-in. Zoe’s Tale is a prequel.

  22. Douglas Adams not only started his story with the earth exploding, he also ended the fifth and final book of the Hitchhikers Trilogy with the earth yet again exploding. Just goes to show how much mileage authors can get out of exploding planets!

  23. nonono. The end of the book should have a speaker attached, and when the last page is turned, the speaker starts playing “final countdown” (just like those annoying, i mean awesome, christmas cards)

  24. What’s funny is that I don’t put it above you to do this. I mean, I imagine it’d have a complicated lead-up, and even the horrible destruction wouldn’t be so abrupt, but, I can see you just killing off everyone.

  25. Excellent action-packed ending! It’s a close second to Michael O’Donoghue’s all-purpose closer, “And then everyone got run over by a truck.”

  26. … yea… but (and how many will get this reference?) what do the astronauts do between then and meeting the All-Knowing Alien Life Force disguised as an old white guy? Hmmmm?

  27. I can’t help wondering if this is the shocking conclusion to a book-length fart joke! I know we’re talking about two separate Scalziverses here, but that’s where the “shocking” comes into play. We’d never see it coming!

  28. Hmmm, writer’s block? Zoe stale?

    Which reminds me that when I saw the name of Dan Brown’s upcoming book, I immediately thought “The Solo Monkey”, an acknowledgement that he needs another 999 monkeys before he stands a chance of producing a readable line of prose.

  29. Through the power of advanced computational reverse literary reconstruction, I can exclusively reveal the opening of Chapter 1:

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single heroine in residence on a good planet, must be in want of an explosion.

    However little known the feelings or views of such a woman may be on her first landing on a planet, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding aliens, that she is considered as the rightful target of some one or other of their warlords.

    ‘My dear Genghis Bennet,’ said his broodmare to him one day, ‘have you heard that Netherworld III is colonised at last?’

    Genghis Bennet made no answer….

  30. Sorry, JP — you have it wrong. You forgot the romantic angle. It is:

    It is a truth universally aknowledged that a young man in possession of a good planet must be in want of a wife. It is also a truth, less universally aknowledged, that in general he would much prefer a good explosion. (Er.. of a sort or another.)

    However little known the feelings or views of such a man on his first landing on a planet, this truth is so wel fixed in the minds of the surrounding life forms, that he is considered the rightful property of one or another of their genetic lines.

    “My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his wife to him one day, “Have you heard that Netherworld is colonized at last? We should marry the young man to one of our daughters before he finds out about the fissionable material easilly available on the surface. Indeed, it would be most vexing to lose new genes to an explosion, before we have secured them for our family.”

  31. Well, presumably yes, eventually. Although having Chapter 26 in the published book read, “Something else happened, but I’m not telling and you can’t make me” might be quite fun.

  32. I’ve always wanted to write a Very Serious Literary Work that ended with exactly that chapter. After 350 pages, our protagonist, a tormented Creative Writing professor at a small college, is finally about to confront his long-suffering mistress…

    and then BAM! ASTEROID! The End.

  33. Har dee har har. No wait…this really DID make me laugh. Damn you John. Just when I got finished telling a friend how hard it is to get a laugh out of me.

  34. Hey John you forgot to write in the part where Obi-Won Kenobi is inside the Millennium Falcon and has to sit down because of the thousands of voices screaming out all at once.

  35. At Clarion ’77 one of the catch phrases was, “And then everyone got run over by a truck.”

    Must have been an awfully big truck to blow up the planet!

  36. Karen @ 77 said:
    At Clarion ‘77 one of the catch phrases was, “And then everyone got run over by a truck.”

    Must have been an awfully big truck to blow up the planet!

    Or one moving very, very quickly.

    I can just see the truck commercials now… with typical cheesy computer graphics and uber-masculine narration: [image of space-suited dirty construction workers getting into a truck] “When these guys need to move a planet, they can’t wait all day. The new Dodge Hyper9000 with Anti-matter Hemi(tm) Goes from zero to point nine lightspeed faster than the Toyota Megaquad! Even more planet-busting power than Ford or Chevy!”

  37. Thanks for saving me $25. Now I do not have to buy the book. I already know the ending so no need to read the middle.

  38. Bennett: Whoa, that was one freaky dream.

    Zoey: Did it end with everyone blowing up?

    Bennett: Yes.

    Zoey: Wow I think I have the same dream!

    Dun dun dun!!!

  39. Shouldn’t that be “Then Zoe wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette”?

    Nah, it should be Zoe wakes up and sees Aquaman in the shower.

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