The Ninjabot

John Scalzi’s “The Human Division” – A Serialized Sequel to “Old Man’s War”

Posted on February 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm by Amanda Andonian

The Human Division - John Scalzi

Do you like to read science fiction? Are you a fan of serialized formats where you have to wait week to week for the next installment? No? Well, too bad, because John Scalzi, in association with Tor, started a new series last month that continues the saga of Old Man’s War.

The story picks up where the end of The Last Colony left off, with the Colonial Defense Forces and Earth at odds with each other over the fact that the CDF has been using Earth as an endless supply of disposable soldiers, while also keeping the people of Earth in the dark about just how dangerous outer space really is for humanity. On top of that, the Conclave, a unified body of over 400 alien races, set to stop human expansion throughout space. Facing the threat of human extinction, the CDF is desperate to negotiate alliances with those races who haven’t joined the Conclave yet, but their efforts are thwarted constantly by mysterious circumstances.

Enter “The B-Team,” which is the first installment of The Human Division, and sets up the story of Lieutenant Harry Wilson, Ambassador Ode Abumwe, and her assistant Hart Schmidt. Though the three of them don’t know it, their unique talents make these three the last hope of humanity in navigating the treacherous waters of the alien treaties that will save the human race from extinction at the hands of the Conclave. Using their political cunning, diplomatic abilities, and just flying by the seat of their pants, this B-Team is fighting for humanity’s survival in the face of ridiculous odds.

As you can see, “The B-Team” gets the story off to a roaring start, but I was a little disappointed with the second installment “Walk the Plank,” because it’s considerably shorter and takes the form of an audio transcript, so the setting is difficult to parse out from the conversations in the transcript. However, it’s clearly setting up a larger story, and Scalzi acknowledges how short it is on his Whatever blog, insisting that it’s still extremely important to the overall plot despite its brevity:

“Walk the Plank” is one of the shortest of the episodes, but this particular episode carries a lot of freight, both in the sense of storytelling, and in the sense of being stylistically unique among the episodes.

Fortunately, the third installment, “We Only Need the Heads,” drew me right back in again, as well as proving a satisfying pay off to the setup from “Walk the Plank.” I can’t wait to see where the story is going, and I’m looking forward to every Tuesday when I see that little email from Amazon telling me that my purchase is being delivered to my Kindle! I also enjoy discovering the story behind each subtitle, and I’ve tried not to read them all lest I accidentally spoil things for myself.

Fans of science fiction will enjoy this weekly series, especially if you’re already a fan of Scalzi’s work, and it’s made even more awesome by the amazing cover work from John Harris. If you don’t want to wait week-to-week, though, Tor will be releasing the whole story in a special edition hardcover book in the summer, which will be available through all your usual book outlets.

For more information on The Human Division, including release dates and synopses of each episode, check out this post on Scalzi’s blog. If you want to go ahead and buy each installment of the series now, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Apple iBookstore, Google Play, and Kobo.

The Human Division - John Scalzi

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