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Ranking Author John Scalzi’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

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“What are John Scalzi’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Scalzi’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by John Scalzi and looked at his Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page. We will update the article if/when a new book by John Scalzi is released. Although it probably won’t be immediate so the scores on each site have time to settle and aren’t overly influenced by the early, usually much more opinionated, users.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s By John Scalzi’s



18 ) The Sagan Diary (Old Man’s War, #2.5)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 18
  • LibraryThing: 18

Fans of John Scalzi’s “Old Man” universe, prepare yourselves: there’s a long new story in that universe, told from the point of view of one of the series’ most intriguing characters. Subterranean Press is proud to publish The Sagan Diary, a long novelette that for the first time looks at the worlds of the Hugo-nominated Old Man’s War and its sequel The Ghost Brigades from the point of view of Lieutenant Jane Sagan, who in a series of diary entries gives her views on some of the events included in the series… and sheds new light into some previously unexplored corners. If you thought you knew Jane Sagan before, prepare to be surprised.

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17 ) The God Engines

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 17
  • Amazon: 17
  • LibraryThing: 17

“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…”

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16 ) Zoe’s Tale (Old Man’s War, #4)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 16
  • Amazon: 15
  • LibraryThing: 14

“I ask because it’s what I have to do. I’m Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don’t know my tale: How I did what I did ― how I did what I had to do ― not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I’m going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try to make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes.”

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15 ) Redshirts

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 14
  • Amazon: 15
  • LibraryThing: 13

“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, with the chance to serve on “”Away Missions”” alongside the starship’s famous senior officers.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to realize that 1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces, 2) the ship’s senior officers always survive these confrontations, and 3) sadly, at least one low-ranking crew member is invariably killed. Unsurprisingly, the savvier crew members below decks avoid Away Missions at all costs.

Then Andrew stumbles on information that transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.”

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14 ) Questions for a Soldier (Old Man’s War, #1.5)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 15
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 15

Scalzi revisits the world of his acclaimed debut novel.

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13 ) After the Coup (Old Man’s War, #4.5)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 16

In a universe of harsh interstellar conflict, the practice of interspecies diplomacy—when possible—is important. So being a Colonial Union officer attached to an interplanetary diplomatic mission sometimes means taking a fall. Literally.

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12 ) The End of All Things (Old Man’s War, #6)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 10
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 10

“Humans expanded into space…only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from a hostile universe. The Colonial Union used the Earth and its excess population for colonists and soldiers. It was a good arrangement…for the Colonial Union. Then the Earth said: no more.

Now the Colonial Union is living on borrowed time-a couple of decades at most, before the ranks of the Colonial Defense Forces are depleted and the struggling human colonies are vulnerable to the alien species who have been waiting for the first sign of weakness, to drive humanity to ruin. And there’s another problem: A group, lurking in the darkness of space, playing human and alien against each other-and against their own kind -for their own unknown reasons.

In this collapsing universe, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson and the Colonial Union diplomats he works with race against the clock to discover who is behind attacks on the Union and on alien races, to seek peace with a suspicious, angry Earth, and keep humanity’s union intact…or else risk oblivion, and extinction-and the end of all things.”

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11 ) Lock In (Lock In, #1)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 4

“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.”

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10 ) The Dispatcher

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 12

“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. “

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7 ) The Human Division (Old Man’s War, #5)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 7

“The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance―an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn’t obvious or easy.

Against such possibilities, managing the survival of the Colonial Union won’t be easy, either. It will take diplomatic finesse, political cunning…and a brilliant “”B Team,”” centered on the resourceful Lieutenant Harry Wilson, that can be deployed to deal with the unpredictable and unexpected things the universe throws at you when you’re struggling to preserve the unity of the human race.”

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7 ) The Android’s Dream

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 10

“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 Brian Javna, a childhood friend turned artificial intelligence, scours the earth looking for the rare creature. And they find it, in the unknowing form of Robin Baker, pet store owner, whose genes contain traces of the sheep DNA.

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 science fiction author. And alien races, eager to start a revolution on their home world and a war on Earth. “

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7 ) Agent to the Stars

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 12
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 8

“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.”

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6 ) The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 6

“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.

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.”

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5 ) The Last Colony (Old Man’s War #3)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 9

“Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up.

That is, until his and Jane’s past reaches out to bring them back into the game ― as leaders of a new human colony, to be peopled by settlers from all the major human worlds, for a deep political purpose that will put Perry and Sagan back in the thick of interstellar politics, betrayal, and war.”

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3 ) Fuzzy Nation

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 4

“Jack Holloway works alone. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

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3 ) Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 2

“In the near future–and sooner than you think–a new virus will sweep the globe. At first it will look like the flu, but then we will discover there is something else about it…something we weren’t expecting. It will change society forever.

No, this isn’t another zombie virus. And no, this isn’t the apocalypse. It’s Haden’s syndrome. We’ll survive it. But the world will be remade in its image.

”Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome” is a novella that will take you through the heart of this terrifying disease, from its unusual and ironic origin to the frantic response of doctors, scientists and governments. You will see the ”moon shot” response to free the people locked in thrall to the disease. And you experience the emerging society that those with the disease build for themselves–and for the rest of us.”

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2 ) The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War, #2)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 3

“The universe is a dangerous place for humanity―and it’s about to become far more dangerous. Three races that humans have clashed with before have allied to halt our expansion into space. Their linchpin: the turncoat military scientist Charles Boutin, who knows the CDF’s biggest military secrets. To prevail, the CDF must find out why Boutin did what he did.

Jared Dirac is the only human who can provide answers — a superhuman hybrid, created from Boutin’s DNA, Jared’s brain should be able to access Boutin’s electronic memories. But when the memory transplant appears to fail, Jared is given to the Ghost Brigades.

At first, Jared is a perfect soldier, but as Boutin’s memories slowly surface, Jared begins to intuit the reason’s for Boutin’s betrayal. As Jared desperately hunts for his “”father,”” he must also come to grips with his own choices. Time is running out: The alliance is preparing its offensive, and some of them plan worse things than humanity’s mere military defeat…”

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1 ) Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War, #1)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 1

“The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce―and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.”

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John Scalzi’s Best Books



John Scalzi Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War, #1) 111 1
The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War, #2) 433 2
Fuzzy Nation 284 3
Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome 932 3
The Last Colony (Old Man’s War #3) 639 5
The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1) 2116 6
The Human Division (Old Man’s War, #5) 597 7
The Android’s Dream 8310 7
Agent to the Stars 1218 7
The Dispatcher 7312 10
Lock In (Lock In, #1) 1394 11
The End of All Things (Old Man’s War, #6) 101110 12
After the Coup (Old Man’s War, #4.5) 111116 13
Questions for a Soldier (Old Man’s War, #1.5) 151115 14
Redshirts 141513 15
Zoe’s Tale (Old Man’s War, #4) 161514 16
The God Engines 171717 17
The Sagan Diary (Old Man’s War, #2.5) 181818 18