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John Scalzi Books in Order (Old Man’s War, Lock In, Dispatcher, Kaiju Preservation Society)

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All of John Scalzi’s books in order!

Who is John Scalzi?

John Scalzi II is an American best-selling author who writes science fiction novels – and the popular blog Whatever. He publish his first novel, “Agent to the Stars,” on his website in 1999, but found success a few years later with Old Man’s War, a military science fiction book, and its sequels.

As he extended the Old Man’s War universe, John Scalzi wrote more series like the Lock In series, The Interdependency series, and more, but also stand-alone novels, and non-fiction books.

He also worked as a creative consultant on the science-fiction television show Stargate Universe, was the writer for the 2015 mobile device video game by Industrial Toys, called Midnight Star, and wrote a weekly column on science fiction/fantasy films for

How to read John Scalzi’s Books in Order?

The Old Man’s War Series in Order

This is a Military science fiction story that began with a 75-year-old soldier in the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF) named John Perry. Like his colleagues, Perry gets rejuvenated into a young and enhanced body before being sent to combat in the Galaxy. His chances of survival are low.

For more information, go to our Old Man’s War Reading Order.

  1. Old Man’s War (2005)
  2. Questions for a Soldier (short story, 2005)
  3. The Ghost Brigades (2006)
  4. The Sagan Diary (novelette, 2007)
  5. After the Coup (short story, 2008)

* The next two novels tell a story from two different points of view. You can read them in the order you want. That said, Zoe’s Tale is considered by some as optional.

  1. The Last Colony (2007)
  2. Zoe’s Tale (2008)
  3. The Human Division (2013)
  4. The End of All Things (2015)

The Lock-In Series in Order

  1. Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome (2014) – Not long from now, a virus will sweep the globe. Most will suffer no worse than flu-like symptoms, but an unlucky one percent will be changed forever. Hundreds of millions become “locked in”, awake, aware, but completely unable to control their bodies.
  2. Lock In (2014) – Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent – and nearly five million souls in the United States alone – the disease causes “Lock In”: Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge. A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “integrator” – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.
  3. Head On (2018) – Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it. Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

The Android’s Dream Universe in Order

  1. The Android’s Dream (2006) – A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most . . . unusual . . . way. To avoid war, Earth’s government must find an equally unusual object: a type of sheep (“The Android’s Dream”), used in the alien race’s coronation ceremony. To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero, and hacker extraordinaire, who, with the help of a childhood friend turned artificial intelligence, scours the earth looking for the rare creature. But there are others with plans for the sheep as well. Mercenaries employed by the military. Adherents of a secret religion based on the writings of a 21st century SF author. And alien races, eager to start a revolution on their homeworld and a war on Earth.
  2. Judge Sn Goes Golfing (short story, 2009) – Judge Nugan Bufan Sn is a brilliant alien jurist whose misanthropy and lack of social graces are matched only by his futile, unrequited love for the game of golf. When he hits the links at the abysmal Dulles Woods golf course, the unexpected happens: He begins to play well. But there are more hazards on the course for Sn than just sand traps and disaffected caddies…

The Interdependency Sequence in Order

Our universe is ruled by physics. Faster than light travel is impossible―until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars.

  1. The Collapsing Empire (2017) – Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war―and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control. The Flow is eternal―but it’s not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well. In rare cases, entire worlds have been cut off from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, three individuals―a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency―must race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.
  2. The Consuming Fire (2018) – Emperox Grayland II of the Interdependency is ready to take desperate measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth―or at the very least an opportunity to an ascension to power. While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war. A war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will between spaceships and battlefields.
  3. The Last Emperox (2020) – Emperox Grayland II has finally wrested control of her empire from those who oppose her and who deny the reality of this collapse. But “control” is a slippery thing, and even as Grayland strives to save as many of her people form impoverished isolation, the forces opposing her rule will make a final, desperate push to topple her from her throne and power, by any means necessary. Grayland and her thinning list of allies must use every tool at their disposal to save themselves, and all of humanity. And yet it may not be enough. 

The Dispatcher Series in Order

  1. The Dispatcher (2016) – One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone—999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don’t know. But it changes everything: war, crime, daily life. Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher—a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch those whose circumstances put them in death’s crosshairs, so they can have a second chance to avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death, and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge what they see as a wrong. It’s a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it’s too late…before not even a Dispatcher can save him.
  2. Murder by Other Means (2020) – Tony Valdez is used to working his job as a dispatcher within the rules of the law and the state. But times are tough, and more and more Tony finds himself riding the line between what’s legal and what will pay his bills. After one of these shady gigs, and after being a witness to a crime gone horribly wrong, Tony discovers that people around him are dying, for reasons that make no sense…and which just may implicate him.
  3. Travel by Bullet (2023) – When Tony is called to a Chicago emergency room by an old friend and fellow dispatcher, he is suddenly and unwillingly thrown into a whirlpool of schemes and plots involving billions of dollars, with vast caches of wealth ranging from real estate to cryptocurrency up for grabs. All Tony wants to do is keep his friend safe. But it’s hard to do when friends keep secrets, enemies offer seductive deals, and nothing is ever what it seems. The world has changed…but the stakes are still life and death.

More Stand-alone Novels by John Scalzi

Agent to the Stars (1999) – The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity’s first interstellar friendship. There’s just one problem: They’re hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity’s trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He’s one of Hollywood’s hottest young agents. But although Stein may have just concluded the biggest deal of his career, it’s quite another thing to negotiate for an entire alien race. To earn his percentage this time, he’s going to need all the smarts, skills, and wits he can muster.

The God Engines (2009) – Captain Ean Tephe is a man of faith, whose allegiance to his lord and to his ship is uncontested. The Bishopry Militant knows this — and so, when it needs a ship and crew to undertake a secret, sacred mission to a hidden land, Tephe is the captain to whom the task is given. Tephe knows from that the start that his mission will be a test of his skill as a leader of men and as a devout follower of his god. It s what he doesn t know that matters: to what ends his faith and his ship will ultimately be put — and that the tests he will face will come not only from his god and the Bishopry Militant, but from another, more malevolent source entirely…

Fuzzy Nation (2011) – A re-imagining of H. Beam Piper’s 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy. On the planet Zarathustra, Jack Holloway is about to strike it rich. A contractor for intergalactic behemoth ZaraCorp, he’s just discovered a mining seam worth billions. It would make the corporation a fortune, and set Jack up for life. Everyone wins – then he discovers the Fuzzies. Small, intelligent and cat-like, the Fuzzies are the cutest creatures this side of the galaxy. They’ve set up home in Jack’s cabin, and have become best friends with his dog. They’re also standing in the way of ZaraCorp’s profits. For the planet’s resources can only be exploited if it’s free of native sentients. ZaraCorp’s solution: to eliminate the Fuzzies for good. And they’ll permanently silence anyone who interferes – including Jack.

Redshirts (2012) – Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is even more delighted when he’s assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better … although there are a few strange things going on: every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces; the ship’s captain, the chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these encounters; at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed. Suddenly it’s less surprising how much energy is expended below decks on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned an Away Mission. Andrew’s fate may have been sealed … until he stumbles on a piece of information that changes everything … and offers him and his fellow redshirts a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives …

The Kaiju Preservation Society (2022) – When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on. What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm, human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble. It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society who have found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

Starter Villain (2023) – Inheriting your uncle’s supervillain business is more complicated than you might think. Particularly when you discover who’s running the place. Charlie’s life is going nowhere fast. A divorced substitute teacher living with his cat in a house his siblings want to sell, all he wants is to open a pub downtown, if only the bank will approve his loan. Then his long-lost uncle Jake dies and leaves his supervillain business (complete with island volcano lair) to Charlie. But becoming a supervillain isn’t all giant laser death rays and lava pits.

Slow Time Between the Stars (2023, as part of the Far Reaches series) – Equipped with the entirety of human knowledge, a sentient ship is launched on a last-ditch journey to find a new home for civilization. Trillions of miles. Tens of thousands of years. In the space between, the AI has plenty of time to think about life, the vastness of the universe, everything it was meant to do, and—with a perspective created but not limited by humans—what it should do.

Non-fiction books by John Scalzi

  • The Rough Guide to Money Online (2000)
  • The Rough Guide to the Universe (2003)
  • Uncle John’s Presents Book of the Dumb (2003)
  • The Book of the Dumb 2 (2004)
  • The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies (20053)
  • You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing (2007)
  • Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008 (2008)
  • The Mallet of Loving Correction (2013)
  • Don’t Live For Your Obituary: Advice, Commentary, and Personal Observations on Writing, 2008–2017 (2017)

If you like our article about reading John Scalzi books in order, don’t forget to bookmark it! You may also be interested in The Landry series, The Dollanganger series, Joe Haldeman’s Forever War series, and The Murderbot series by Martha Wells…This article was last updated on July 27, 2023.


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