John Scalzi is the bestselling author of the Old Man’s War military science-fiction series, for which all three novels were nominated for the Hugo Award. In addition, he wrote several additional sci-fi series including the Android’s Dream, the Lock-In series, and the Interdependency series, as well as standalone novels like Fuzzy Nation and Redshirts.
Here are the John Scalzi books in order based on publication and chronology.
New John Scalzi Books
Old Man’s War Series
- Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War #1), 2005
- Questions for a Soldier (novella), 2005
- The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War #2), 2006
- The Sagan Diary (novella), 2007
- The Last Colony (Old Man’s War #3), 2007
- Zoe’s Tale (Old Man’s War #4), 2008
- After the Coup (novella), 2008
- The Human Division (Old Man’s War #5), 2013
- The End of All Things (Old Man’s War #6), 2015
The Android’s Dream Series
- The Android’s Dream (The Android’s Dream #1), 2006
- Judge Sn Goes Golfing (The Android’s Dream #1.5), 2009
Shadow War of the Night Dragons Series
- The Dead City, 2012
Lock In Series
Standalone John Scalzi Books
John Scalzi Novellas and Short Stories
- Questions for a Soldier (Old Man’s War short story), 2005
- After the Coup (Old Man’s War short story), 2010
- The President’s Brain is Missing, 2011
- How I Proposed to My Wife, 2011
- An Election, 2012 (short story)
- The Tale of the Wicked, 2012 (novella)
- Muse of Fire, 2013 (novella)
- Everything but the Squeal, 2016 (novella)
- Miniatures, 2016 (short story collection)
- The Dispatcher, 2017 (novella)
- A Very Scalzi Christmas, 2019 (short story collection)
John Scalzi Non-Fiction Books
- Rough Guide to Money Online, 2000
- The Rough Guide to the Universe, 2003
- Uncle John’s Presents Book of the Dumb, 2003
- Uncle John’s Presents Book of the Dumb 2, 2004
- The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies, 2005
- You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop, 2007
- Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, 2008
- Book of the Dumb, 2011
- 24 Frames into the Future, 2012
- The Mallet of Loving Correction, 2013
- Don’t Live For Your Obituary, 2017
- Virtue Signaling and Other Heresies, 2018
John Scalzi Biography
John Scalzi (full name John Michael Scalzi II) was born in 1969, in Fairfield, California as one of three children to a single mother. He is part Italian through his grandfather who emigrated to the US from Italy when he was a child. John Scalzi grew up in several Los Angeles cities such as Covina, Glendora, Azusa, and San Dimas. His family was always poor, and this early experience led him to writer later on his famous essay titled Being Poor,
During his childhood, he enjoyed reading science-fiction novels and mystery books, a passion that he carried with him into adulthood to become, later on, a prolific sci-fi author. In addition, at the age of 6 he even read The People’s Almanac, by David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace.
He attended a boarding school in Claremont named The Webb School of California. Next, he went to the University of Chicago, where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy in 1991. While he was working on his thesis, he had as advisor Saul Bellow, and then Ted Cohen, however, Scalzi didn’t finish his thesis in the end.
In 1990 he was the editor-in-chief for the student newspaper Chicago Maroon. He same year he began working as a freelancer for the Chicago Sun-Time. At the time, he was still a college student.
After graduating from university, John Scalzi began working as a corporate consultant, while also writing articles and movie reviews for the Fresno Bee newspaper.
In 1996, he moved with his family to the Washington, D.C. area, where he began working at AOL as the in-house writer and editor. After being laid off two years later, in 1998, he continued freelancing and writing books full time.
In 2010, the author became president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a position he stayed at for 3 years until 2013.
Before writing science fiction novels, he was debating between this genre and crime mystery, however, after flipping a coin, he settled on sci-fi. However, with his Lock In series, he actually managed to merge the two genres successfully.
John Scalzi wrote his first book in 1997 and released it free on his website under the title Agent to the Stars in return for any donation his readers wanted to give him if they liked the story. Over the next five years, the author earned around $4,000 through donations for his novel.
In 2005, Subterranean Press published the book in a limited hardcover edition, followed by trade and mass paperback editions released by Tor.
However, the book that established John Scalzi as an international bestselling author was Old Man’s War, published in 2005, a Robert Heinlein-style novel that started the same-titled series. A military science-fiction story, the book tells the adventures of an elderly who is recruited for an intergalactic army to fight for space colonization. The book was bought by Tor, which published it in 2005. Next year, in 2006, the book was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel of the year.
The book was born out of the author’s research on military science-fiction novels doing well in sales after perusing the bookstore shelves. Since he loved reading sci-fi novels from a very young age, the genre felt natural to him.
The second book in the series, The Ghost Brigades, was published in 2006. The book no longer focuses on the same main character from the first novel in the series. One year later, in 2007, the third book came out titled The Last Colony. The series has several short stories as well included.
In 2008, the series’ book 4 came out with the title Zoe’s Tale.
Since then, the author wrote numerous books in series, standalone novels, short stories, short story collections, and even non-fiction books.
2015 was another milestone in the author’s career when he signed with Tor a $3.4 million deal for 13 books to span 10 years. Three books would be children’s books, while the rest 10 are adult novels. The first book released for this new collaboration was The Collapsing Empire, the first in the Interdependency space opera series, a sci-fi novel set in a new universe.
This particular deal is extremely positive for the writer, who in an interview said,
literally for a decade, I don’t have to worry about whether I’m going to sell my next book. I don’t have to worry about whether the publisher is going to make a good-faith effort to actually sell the book, that it’s not going to get shoved down a hole somewhere…It’s about the freedom to say, for the next 10 years, the only thing I have to worry about is writing the books.
In 2019, three short stories written by John Scalzi were adapted into a Netflix anthology series titled Love, Death & Robots.
The author’s non-fiction books cover topics from finance, stargazing, to sci-fi movies and even a book about people who do dumb things.
In addition to writing books, the author is also a prominent blogger writing on his personal blog titled Whatever. He started writing on that blog in 1998. The book is extremely popular in its genre, as it gets over 2 million page views per month, and over 45 unique visitors each day.
Initially, he started his blog when he was an online columnist and newspaper writer, and he wanted to keep his skills sharp in case he got more gigs, as a writing exercise.
2020 saw the publication of The Last Emperox, the third and last book in the Interdependency series. The series is set some 1500 year in the future, in a place far away from our planet Earth, where planetary systems are interconnected by the extradimensional, river-like Flow, which is danger of disappearing, leading to the isolation of the planets from each other.
As a sidenote, the author was also a creative consultant for the Stargate Universe SyFy show, where he read scripts and gave recommendations on character development and technical aspects of writing. In addition, he was a writer for Midnight Star, a popular video game by Industrial Toys,
Over the years, John Scalzi received several awards for his writing, including the following:
- Hugo Best Novel nominee, 2006 : Old Man’s War
- John W. Campbell Best Book winner, 2006 : Old Man’s War
- Prometheus Award Best Novel nominee, 2007 : The Ghost Brigades
- Hugo Best Novel nominee, 2008 : The Last Colony
- Hugo Best Novel nominee, 2009 : Zoe’s Tale
- Andre Norton Award Best Book nominee, 2010 : Zoe’s Tale
- Hugo Best Novel winner, 2013 : Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
- John W Campbell Memorial Award Best Novel nominee, 2015 : Lock In
- Hugo Best Book nominee, 2018 : The Collapsing Empire
In an interview, the author mentioned that in order to keep focused on work, he uses an app that basically blocks all external news and social media sites for a certain number of hours, which keep him away from any distractions that could hinder his work. This way he has several hours where he does nothing but work without any interruptions.
Currently, John Scalzi and his family live in Bradford, Ohio, where he has been living since 2001. He is now writing his next novel, being happily tied down through the Tor deal that will keep him busy writing books until 2027. So far, his books have been translated into over 20 languages.
Praise for John Scalzi
Scalzi at his best, with characters who are going to stay with you (Will Wheaton on The Last Emperox)
Clever dialogue, fast-paced story and strong characters (The Times)
Scalzi is one of the slickest writers that SF has ever produced (Wall Street Journal)
His speculative elements are top-notch (Washington Post)
Gripping and surpassingly original. It’s Starship Troopers without the lectures . . . It’s funny, it’s sad, and it’s true (Cory Doctorow on Old Man’s War)
John Scalzi is the most entertaining, accessible writer working in SF today (Joe Hill)
Solid sidesteps most of the cliches of military science fiction, delivers fast-paced scenes of combat and pays attention to the science underpinning his premise. (San Francisco Chronicles)
A fun, breezy thriller, one that showcases a world that carries with it some extremely astute commentary on some of the real problems that we face in our own (The Verge on Head On)
If Stephen King were to try his hand at science fiction, he’d be lucky to be half as entertaining as John Scalzi. (Dallas Morning News on The Ghost Brigades)
- The author’s Whatever blog
- Author interview with The Verge
- Author interview with Den of Geek
- Author’s publisher page