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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By linda on 05-23-13
A Middling Position
First and formost, if you haven't read the Old Man's War series and are considering picking up this book - what are you doing?
Even if you've stumbled onto this page by accident and your curiosity is naught but a faint glimmer in the distance, that's good enough. Go to the search bar and find his earlier works before coming to this one.
It's not that the Human Division (located in the same universe as OMW) won't make any sense (it won't) or even that there are spoilers in the Human Division for the previous series (there are) - the truth is that Scalzi's first foray into this world was better. As a matter of fact, it was fantastic.
His characters had more shades, the aliens were more interesting, the science was explored more deeply, and the plot line was more intricate.
Scalzi is true to his style in this newest novel - easy and interesting, funny without pandering to the audience, and the story zips along - but it's clear that the Human Division is propped up by the strength of the last series.
Don't get me wrong - Scalzi stands heads above the rest of herd, and is still one of the most engaging sci-fi writers around. I'll continue reading the series with the same relish as I read most of Scalzi's work, but given how high he set the bar with the first series, it's hard not to feel a little let down.
Also, as an aside: the dialogue tags. My god, the dialogue tags. In the written form it's easy enough to gloss over the word "said", but listening to it repeated over and over and over was occasionally, frustratingly, hugely distracting.
Every so often, I found myself thinking of synonyms that Scalzi could have used in place of the word "said" and noting the rare occasions he chose to use them.
If that's liable to bother you, you might want to consider getting the book.
66 of 74 people found this review helpful
By GadgetDon on 07-14-13
Smart People solving problems
This story takes place in John Scalzi's Old Man's War universe. Personally, I liked but didn't love Old Man's War, and the sequels dropped off fast for me. I'd given up on that universe, but this story was originally released serially, I'd heard good things about the first episode, so risked a buck. Enjoyed it so much, got the series, and then the collection when released.
For centuries, the Colonial Union didn't have a lot of use of diplomacy. When humans broke out into interstellar space, they were really good at this fighting thing. An overcrowded Earth supplied an unending number of soldiers and colonists, so the CU went where they wanted, kicked everyone out of their way, and killed anyone who wouldn't move. Their soldiers were highly developed cyborg forces that originally had been the old and dying from Earth (put them in a new body with genetic and nanotech improvements). Many died in the wars, but there were a lot of old people on Earth who wanted a second chance.
Unfortunately for the Colonial Union, the good times have come to an end. Earth has learned how much the CU was holding it back, so no more colonists or soldiers. And the other races have formed an alliance. So brute force won't work anymore, they have to be smart.
And I like smart.
The first story, for example, has a nice bit of problem solving at its core - how do you find a black box that isn't meant to be found unless it responds to the right signals, and the battery has run down. And once the black box is found - how to deal with the data inside and its implications.
This story builds on the tech from the OMW universe. It's possible, if you haven't read OMW, you may be at sea with some of the references (BrainPal, SmartBlood, and so forth). They get explained, briefly, I don't know if that will be enough (having come into it knowing about those).
As I said, the story was originally released serially. This collected edition includes two bonus stories. The first, After The Coup, was a prequel to the other stories, amusing but not at the same level I thought. The second, though, was a gem. Starting with the title, "Halfte Sorvalh Eats a Churro and Speaks to the Youth of Today", it is placed after the events in the other stories. It's a wonderful little vignette of an alien talking to some schoolkids after the traumatic events in the last episode.
Yes, traumatic events in the last episode. While this is a great tale on it's own, the final episode all but has a "to be continued" sign stuck on the end. I don't mind, and am looking forward to the "next season" of the Human Division.
One minor annoyance, though. First, when writing dialog, John Scalzi does way too much "Blah Blah", he said. "Stuff stuff stuff", she said. "But interjection interjection", George said. In an audiobook, that does get annoying. Annoying to the point that the performance got four stars. I know these books are "unabridged" when recorded - but maybe a little editing for things like that would be appropriate.
15 of 18 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Melanie on 10-28-14
A return to the Old Man's War universe
Would you listen to The Human Division again? Why?
I'd probably not re-listen to it, there are some things about the writing in the book becomes a little annoying. I imagine that on the page the snappy 'He said' 'she said' 'he said' isn't so bad, but the repetition really started to bug me.
Would you recommend The Human Division to your friends? Why or why not?
I'd recommend it to people who were already fans of the Old Man's War universe, whilst it has new characters, it is not a standalone set of stories.
Any additional comments?
This is really a collection of inter-linked short stories, if you go in expecting this rather than a complete novel then you will enjoy it more.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Animar on 09-07-13
Survives with the relation between lead characters
A light story with some engaging character relationships. It feels like the author is attempting to convey flat irony too often and the constant repetition of ...said ...said ...said is, well, repetitive. Please be a bit more creative.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By darko on 12-24-15
Awesome story but I was really put off by:
By the amount of times 'said' is used... Surely other words can be used.
The premise was excellent and the narrator engaging.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Tracey Anderson on 10-14-17
I don't usually enjoy space sci fi but John Scalzi makes it great! Everything he does is smart and thoughtful but not overly dramatic.