The Life of the Mind, Episode One of The End of All Things: Out Now!

Today’s the day! “The Life of the Mind,” the first of four novella-length episodes of The End of All Things, the new novel in the Old Man’s War series, is now out in electronic form and available at your favorite electronic retailer.

Here’s the official synopsis of the episode: “A down-on-his-luck Colonial Union starship pilot finds himself pressed into serving a harsh master-in a mission against the CU. But his kidnappers may have underestimated his knowledge of the ship that they have, quite literally, bound him to piloting.”

Here’s an excerpt from the story. And if you’re in the US, here are some stores you’ll find it in:

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Google Play|iBooks|Kobo

In the UK? It’s also out there, with different artwork courtesy of Tor UK (the text is the same), and should also be available at your favorite eBook stores. In the rest of the world, the novella should be available in either the US or UK version (or both!). If it’s not at one of your local eBook retailers, be patient; it should be on its way.

Now, with the commercial preliminaries out of the way, what’s up in this novella?

1. Remember the cliffhanger at the end of The Human Division? Yes? Well, I waste very little time resolving it in TLoTM. Because you all have been waiting two years to find out what happens next, and because I suspect if I kept stringing it out some of you might decide to murder me dead. I don’t want to be murdered dead. So: Answers!

2. I introduce you to a new character, starship pilot Rafe Daquin. He’s the main character of this episode and will play a significant role in subsequent episodes. I like him a lot — he’s someone who gets put in a near-impossible situation and has to find a way, not just to cope, but to plot against his captors. We get to spend a lot of time in Rafe’s head, figuratively speaking, so I wanted to be sure he was good company. I think I pulled it off.

3. Yes, you’ll see some of your favorites from The Human Division in the episode as well (briefly). Plus action and adventure and the occasional deep thought, i.e., all the stuff you like about the Old Man’s War universe.

4. And naturally, the events in this episode set the stage for the next, “This Hollow Union,” which will be released next week.

I’m super excited for this episode to be out in the world, and I can’t wait for all of you to read it. Enjoy, and more is coming!

60 Comments on “The Life of the Mind, Episode One of The End of All Things: Out Now!”

  1. Looking forward to the audiobook edition. Is there an ETA that I missed?

    Really enjoyed the earlier audiobook series.

  2. I’m still having trouble getting past why the Daedalus, from the later series of the Stargate/Stargate Atlantis TV show, is on the front cover of that alternative front-cover lower down the post.

    Does Jack O’Neill (two l’s) turn up and save the day, or something? Because that’d be sweet.

  3. You’d have to ask the art director at Tor UK. Perhaps they rented it for the occasion. Or perhaps it’s a subtle salute to my association with the Stargate universe, as I was the creative consultant for SG:U.

  4. Really? That’s awesome! I actually really liked SG:U, it was different. Shame MGM went under and cancelled everything :( What bits were your bits? Like is there anything in the show that you can point to and go “that was me”?

  5. No, the point of being the creative consultant was that you helped the show be better in ways that were not obvious. So if I did my job right, you’d never see my influence.

  6. It has been purchased! Can’t wait to start it. I’m also looking forward to picking up the audio version as well. Is William Dufris going to be doing it?

  7. @mkstvns: considering The Human Division appears not to be for sale in Australia, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  8. Love the cover, it’s a beautiful piece of work.
    But for the life of me I can’t figure out who the author is, that typeface is just too damn small.

  9. Cool! I got it a few hours ago, and have already completed it, because that was some seriously compelling reading (which is what I expected after The Human Division).

    That said, I think I found a rather major typo (the words “Colonial Union” where it should be “Conclave”) – who do I contact about that?

  10. “We get to spend a lot of time in Rafe’s head, figuratively speaking”

    More time than Rafe does, ironically.

  11. Woke up this morning and burned through it before work. Really enjoyable to be back in the OMW universe, though I was thinking, “Wow, after 13 episodes in The Human Division, there’s little time wasted in punching through reveals.”

  12. I can’t believe I only just learned about The Human Division! It’s not on Google Play Books (at least, not in Australia)… I don’t suppose you have the power to rectify that, do you? :D

  13. Maybe it’s just the copy editor in me, but that extraneous hyphen in the official synopsis really bugs me (“serving a harsh master-in a mission”). I’m sure the novel is great, though (I’m waiting for the whole thing to be released).

  14. I’ve read all the way through already. It does not disappoint.


    Looking forward to next Tuesday!

  15. Read it, want more now! How many years do I have to wait?

    Next week? Really?

    Man, GRRM has really screwed me over….

    ::runs away before someone yells “GRRM is not Your B*tch”::

  16. Bought and downloaded. I enjoy these serial thingies, something to look forward to. Puts me in a Dickensian frame of mind — waiting for the packet boat.

  17. Read through late last night and finished this morning. Great start, looking forward to more.

  18. We get to spend a lot of time in Rafe’s head, figuratively speaking, so I wanted to be sure he was good company. I think I pulled it off.

    I see what you did there….

  19. You pulled it off. Not quite all the way through the story yet, at work and all, but Rafe’s voice is fantastic.

  20. Do they have a release date for the full book? I’m patient enough to wait until then (also, I have a huge pile of books I’m trying to finish).

  21. Bought it, read it, loved it. Thank you.

    I am greatly looking forward to Part 2 next week; I’m using it as a personal reward programme for trudging through the dreck which constitutes most of the Hugo contenders.

  22. I have the hardcopy book on pre-order (yes, I know I’m old school), so I’m staying away from the individual pieces until I can read it all at once. That said, it’s great to know that the UofC influence can be seen in your title choices as well as your writing in general!

  23. And jolly good it is, too! Looking forward to next week’s episode (and will probably re-read this one beforehand as I went through it in a helluva hurry!).

  24. Will there be a german translation? I’m afraid my English isnt good enough… :D

  25. I was going to wait and buy the novel. But last night I caved, cancelled the pre-order, and bought the episode. Boy, am I glad! Lots of loose threads tired up and a satisfying close. You’re still the best, Scalzi. Great read!

  26. Hi John

    Was there a particular reason for not doing the episodic format in audio book?

    I really enjoyed getting The Human Division like that and was looking forward to getting The End of All Things in the same way.


  27. I got the episodes for the last one but have decided to wait for the whole book this time. I still gotta read “The Three-Body Problem” before Hugo deadline, so I might as well wait.

    I liked both the sample of this and the next one that John read last weekend, so am looking forward to it.

  28. @ James Caplan: Screw that! I pre-ordered the book at my local bookstore, AND I just downloaded “Life of the Mind”. I’ll probably download the rest of them as well…

    John Scalzi just needs to shut up and take my money :-)

  29. ARGH. I hate making decisions like this. If I get them episodically i will know something sooner, if I wait until the book is available there is a chance I will not be left frustrated three times first.

  30. Both covers are good, but the UK edition has that old-school look. I almost expect the author to be Eric Frank Russell.

  31. @womanwhoweaves, that was my dilemma also. I think we both have the same expression as your Grumpy avatar while pondering this.

    The UK cover is a bit TOO old-school for me. Also, it has a pilot from Star Wars along with the Stargate spaceship, which makes it look generic rip-offy. But perhaps the Brits will dig it.

  32. I enjoyed it very much! Whipped through it this morning even thoughIi am on vacation and being distracted.

  33. Read and enjoyed it a lot. Weird that I binge-watched Sense8 the night before and read this. Gave me less squick for what’s happening to Rafe, oddly. Something about transhumanism as a working concept and am in an Eclipse Phase game which has mind-switching as a regular thing and that piloting can be as involved as this episode…

    Very very good first installment, btw. Thank you very much!

  34. I really liked how Rafe dug himself out of an impossible situation by using the only tool he had left: the ability to ask questions, of himself at first, but then Control and Ocampo. It reminded me (in a good way!) of “The Sound of Rebellion” from “Human Division.”

  35. I’m here in New Zealand whining and crying because Amazon won’t let me buy it…where the price and my One-Click should be says “This title is currently not available for purchase.” Waaahhh! I want to buy it!

  36. Tsk. I’d never wish you harm for an extended cliff-hanger. However, if you leave me hanging for over a decade, I will begin to address all correspondence to you with “Dear David Gerrold”…

  37. So it seems Tor is trying to keep the Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy camp happy ( Any second thoughts on the ten year deal since you are demonstrably not of the same mind set? Not a criticism btw, as a writer I love the precedent set, look forward to reading the next ten years worth of output, and respect multiple viewpoints…just curious if this has caused any alteration in how you see Tor and your working relationship.

  38. I’d love to buy and read this now, but the Amazon – Germany price is 12 Euros ($13.55 USD). Much as I love your work, that’s just too steep for me. It looks like a ‘wait and see’ situation.

    Is the full book price going to be 4x that price? If so, your publisher is trying to get that advance back FAST, :).

  39. Well, for the Human Division, I gritted my teeth and waited for the whole thing to come out. This time I gave in and bought the first installment. I guess I’ll find out which way I prefer.

  40. @Jess Mulligan

    That’s the full novel you are looking at.
    The first episode “The Life of the Mind” is 2.20€ or 2.48€ for the UK cover.

  41. I stand happily corrected! I must have been distracted by something shiny, :).


  42. Sorry, going to wait for the full book. I hated having 13 different “books” on my Kindle for The Human Division and while 4 is a lot better than 13, I prefer 1. I suspect the economics of a Kindle Serial weren’t as good, but I would have paid upfront for the whole thing if I could have only one “book” at the end instead of multiple.

  43. I second JameC: I’m waiting, in part, because I don’t want 4 “books” on my kindle (yes, you can group them into collections, but still. The other reason is that I know if I buy one I’ll get all excited and be pissed I have to wait for the other 3. I’ll wait for a larger brain candy binge when the full book is available.


  44. I third JameC: it’s annoying having THD in 13 parts and if I want to go back, I have to open up several different files to find something (Except “The Dog King”, which I remember b/c it is a literal shaggy dog story).

    So I’m gonna wait to get it all in one piece.

    (Also, obligatory: I for one welcome our new bee overlords.)

  45. I eagerly bought The Human Division by episode, then again in paper. This time, I can’t buy tEOAT from Australia at all, using same Amazon account. Apple neither. Dammit retailers, someone take my fscking money! (I know it’s not your fault, John)