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The End of the Whole Mess by Stephen King

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This is a guest post by Konstantine Paradias.

The End of the Whole Mess is a post-apocalyptic short story by Stephen King, as told from the view point of Howard Fonroy, the older brother of one of the smartest (and few remaining) men on the planet.

Non-Spoiler version in a jiffy:

Howard Fonroy is a moderately successful writer, who has lived his entire life in awe (and fear) of his Lex Luthory-type genius of his brother, Robert. During his talks with Robert, the reader realizes that things have indeed taken a turn for the worse and that the world is teetering at the edge. Drastic measures are required, or else mankind will end up destroying itself pretty soon. Thus, Robert dedicates his life to finding a way out of this, convincing his brother to follow along with a madcap plan that actually works. In a surprising twist, not only does he make it, but everyone also lives happily ever after with nobody dying.

Hahahahaha…no. That’s not what happens at all.

My thoughts on the story:

Say what you will about Stephen King, but the man can write a wicked backstory for his characters. In the story’s few pages, you actually get emotionally invested in both characters and you end up loving the infuriatingly intelligent Robert. However, the story does seem to suffer from comic book logic syndrome, with an oversimplified solution and execution, which might put some of you hard scifi guys out there off. As for me, I absolutely loved this story and its ending sent chills up my spine.


  • Word count: 10,000 words
  • The story was first published in Omni Magazine in 1986, and later published in the Nightmares & Dreamscapes collection (1993) and Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (2008).
  • Stephen King is a world-renowned author. You’ve probably seen at least one movie version of his book. If you’ve never heard of him before, then welcome to earth, ye mighty alien overlords!

Where you can find this little gem:

Konstantine Paradias is a short story science fiction and fantasy writer, who has his own blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at