The human division

John Scalzi, 1969-

Book - 2013

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SCIENCE FICTION/Scalzi, John
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Subjects
Genres
Science fiction
Published
New York : Tor 2013.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Physical Description
431 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
0765369559
9780765333513
0765333511
Main Author
John Scalzi, 1969- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Sort of a mixed bag here from the author of Redshirts (2012) and other fine sf novels. Scalzi's writing is as readable as ever, but the story—set in the universe of his Old Man's War (2004)—is a bit unfocused. But that's probably unavoidable, given that the novel began life as a 13-part online serial. Here's the premise: the Colonial Union is on the outs from planet Earth, the union's big secret—that it has used humanity as a sort of factory for its soldiers—having recently been revealed. An allied group of alien races, the Conclave, is courting humanity, offering safety in their vast numbers, but this could spell disaster for the CU. Each of the book's 13 interconnected stories adds a piece to the picture, using multiple points of view to move the narrative forward. Readers expecting a straightforward sequel to Old Man's War and its follow-ups may be disappointed, but any new novel from the extremely talented Scalzi is always good news, and this one, despite its experimental feel and shifting narrative, is one more proof that he's an unqualified A-lister in the genre. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In this collection of linked stories, army technician Harry Wilson and diplomatic corp officer Hart Schmidt are just two of the memorable characters trying to improve the reputation of humanity in a galaxy where everyone seems against them—even the population of their home planet, Earth. With a knack for crafting entertaining interstellar politics and diplomacy, Scalzi tells 13 discrete stories (originally sold serially online), each with its own perspective and tone. All told, these add up to one satisfying and very fun whole. VERDICT Featuring the author's trademark humor, clever dialog, and a hefty dose of action, this is a wonderful addition to Scalzi's "Old Man's War" universe. [Page 102]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

No wonder LJ's editorial staff were atwitter over Hugo Award nominee Scalzi's (Redshirts) latest novel—it kicks ass! It's hard to sum up pithily the background where Earth has finally cut off supplying soldiers and colonists to the Colonial Union (CU). As the CU struggles to get Earth back into the fold, it also needs to avoid conflict with any of the other 600 races in the universe at all costs; diplomacy is the new gold standard. Though each can be read independently, chapters function as a tapestry of related missions with fast plot movement and political intrigue joined with "hard" sf. Characters overlap; most, but not all, chapters feature Ambassador Ode Abumwe's diplomatic mission group supported by Lt. Harry Wilson. "She was acerbic and forbidding; he was sarcastic and aggravating." Wilson, the mission's token Colonial Defense Force (CDF) soldier, is like all CDF: ex-Earth, completely green with bionic blood, and a kind of iPad device embedded in his head. His wry, sarcastic humor, chutzpah, capability, and can-do attitude make him the effective amalgam of Scotty, Spock, McCoy, and Kirk all rolled into one funny green man. Refreshingly, most of the missions are fairly low-level political stuff (e.g., trading for Burfinor medical technology); nothing cosmos-threatening, no epic sagas, and it's unfailingly confounding to see fiction "real" future life that reflects today's—down to the stereotype of media talk show hosts. Despite the diplomatic shenanigans and Wilson's cheerful insouciance, the possibility of an upcoming human division is real. Earthlings need to choose between "a forced alliance with former oppressors" or leaving the CU to join a large political bloc called the Conclave. Which would you choose? Verdict Enjoyable, lol funny, readable, and realistic. Bradbury or Asimov fans will OD on this. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Scalzi's hectically paced and philosophical continuation of the Old Man's War series is an invigorating and morally complex interstellar thriller with heart. The human Colonial Union has lost the trust of neighboring worlds due to allegations that it's been delaying Earth's technological development so it can "farm" Earth for colonists and soldiers. When the Polk, a Union ambassadorial starship, is obliterated while on a secret diplomatic mission with the alien Utche, the Union sends in a "B-team"—rebellious and unorthodox Lt. Harry Wilson, meek diplomatic assistant Hart Schmidt, and aggressive ambassador Abumwe—to seal negotiations and discover who (or what) destroyed the Polk. Scalzi injects the thrilling wonder of escapist science fiction with the painful despair of human betrayal and selfishness, focusing as much on conflicts of the heart as on warring alien civilizations. First released as digital serial installments, the book's chapters reverberate with cliffhanger suspense, building and resolving a central conflict while building on more complex story arcs. Deeply realized characters and stinging webs of political and social deceit lend mystery and emotionally harsh realism to a thrilling setting of deep space and distant worlds. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. (May) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Lieutenant Harry Wilson counters hostile alien forces, angry humans, and unpredictable elements from the universe in order to protect the interests of the Colonial Union.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Following the events of The Last Colony, John Scalzi tells the story of the fight to maintain the unity of the human race.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.Being published online from January to April 2013 as a three-month digital serial, The Human Division will appear as a full-length novel of the Old Man's War universe, plus—for the first time in print—the first tale of Lieutenant Harry Wilson, and a coda that wasn't part of the digital serialization.Old Man's War Series #1 Old Man’s War #2 The Ghost Brigades #3 The Last Colony #4 Zoe’s Tale #5 The Human Division #6 The End of All Things Short fiction: “After the Coup”Other Tor BooksThe Android’s DreamAgent to the StarsYour Hate Mail Will Be GradedFuzzy NationRedshirtsLock InThe Collapsing Empire (forthcoming)