Litercurious Book Review

TitleThe End Of The Whole Mess
AuthorStephen King
PublisherSimon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged (Sep. 29, 2009)
Time1 Hour, 1 Minute
GenreShort Stories, Horror literature and fiction
ISBN 10/13 ASIN9780743598231/ 978-0743598231

“I want to tell you about the end of war. The degeneration of mankind, and the death of the Messiah.” 

The End Of The Whole Mess, Stephen King, Simon & Schuster Audio Unabridged September, 29, 2009


The seemingly infinitely creative Stephen King is the author of The End Of The Whole Mess and Other Short Stories.


The End of the Whole Mess is a short science fiction story by American writer Stephen King, first published in Omni Magazine in 1986. It was collected in King’s Nightmares & Dreamscapes in 1993 and in Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse in 2008. The story is written in the form of a personal journal. It relates the story of the narrators’, Howard Fornoy, genius younger brother’s attempt to cure humanity’s aggressive tendencies.

Key Character’s

Narrator: Howard Fornoy

Brother: Robert, the ‘Messiah;’ 7 year age difference.


In an apocryphal tale set in a pre-apocalyptic era sometime in the near future; a gifted narcissistic philanthropist and his older talented brother engage in a plan to improve society and fix its ills. The apparent failure of their plan triggers the very apocalypse they had sought to curtail. As often happens with quick fixes, the medicine proves worse than the sickness, and as a result humanity’s future again hangs in the balance.

Author’s Purpose For The Story

King challenges the audience to re-assess their own zeitgeist from the perspective of the two key characters: Howard Fornoy and his autodidactic younger brother Robert. His cautionary fable encourages the reader to asses the decisions made and the resultant consequences. King presents us with the dichotomy between allowing a failing system to continue unchanged and falling to the lowest point naturally; or to do something so outrageous that your actions precipitate a more dire situation. King cleverly convinces us of the primacy of Bob’s theory in a world lacking hope. Once the process is set in operation, the unforeseen and irrevocable consequences begin to unfold. 



Mathew Broderick provides a first person compelling and skillful narrative. He immediately engenders the character with his eloquent delivery and managed to add tone and texture in a perfect tempo throughout. Broderick manages to paint the characters in full 3D, techno-color on the canvas of the mind. He expertly annunciates every emotion, with impressive levels of expertise. All these combine to produce a totally enjoyable journey. Broderick’s narration enhanced and improved the story bringing it to life fully formed and entrancing.    


The perfect storm of the author and narrator combines to create a thoroughly enjoyable distraction from the woes of the world in 2020. It may only take just over an hour to listen to this apologue, but the story will continue to resonate with you for days.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


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