The Human Division (Old Man's War) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Apr 2014
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If anyone stands at the core of the American science fiction tradition at the moment, it is Scalzi.--The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition. John Scalzi is the most entertaining, accessible writer working in SF today.--Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box. All the heart and smarts I've come to expect from Scalzi.... Run, don't walk, and get another copy for your kids while you're at it.--Cory Doctorow on Zoe's Tale. Heartstopping in its absolute rightness.--RT Book Reviews, Top Pick! on The Last Colony. Astonishingly proficient.Publishers Weekly, starred review on Old Man's War --Various
Following the events of The Last Colony, the pressure is on - for the very unity of the human race is at stake in John Scalzi's The Human Division. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
About a decade ago, John Scalzi published OMW, got a blurb saying it was like Heinlein (Starship Troopers variant, not I Will Fear No Evil or Time Enough for Love variant) - and it was pretty darn good military sci-fi. Then the next few books set in the OMW universe got squishier and squishier, to the extent that vol 4 was not only a retelling of vol3 from a different viewpoint, but that viewpoint was of a teenage girl and the book was targeted at a YA market.
Scalzi's a pretty good writer, so he could pull it off. But at some point it stopped being what made me want to read it in the first place. Apparently, Scalzi no longer to wanted to write it either, so he took a 5-year break from it.
The Human Division is, then, the triumphant return…but while its good, and not as limited as you might think from being assembled from 13 standalone e-pub stories, its just that it does not have any closure. It ends. Threads are not just dangling, the whole loom is just sitting there. Its also more intergalactic politics than military sci-fi (but I was at least aware that ship had sailed some time back).
Honestly, I'd say wait and see if there are sequels planned and actually published before you run out and buy this. Otherwise, this smells like a scam to take advantage of e-publishing and micropayments, and while fixing up short stories into a book has a long and honourable history, well, I've never met a collection with a softer ending than this before. There are some good moments here, but no (or very little) payoff for a lot of buildup.
This is a collection of short stories rather than a standalone novel. It follows on from The Last Colony/Zoe's Tale, with the Colonial Union and the Conclave in something of a cold war, negotiating to get Earth on their side, mainly focussing on Harry Wilson (who was one of the "Old Farts" from Old Mans War), and junior diplomat Hart Schmidt, as they're thrown into a lot of hopeless diplomatic missions as firefighters.
The stories are generally fun. Scalzi's humorous lighthearted style works well for short stories. We do expand on the ongoing political storyline, and the fact that the Colonial Union is pretty reprehensible.
I didn't feel satisfied though.
Wilson finds things a bit too easy. Always saving the day, usually single handedly. He literally is superhuman (All CU soldiers are, but he's the only one we see for most of the stories).
In the background we have a huge mystery hinting at a fifth column within the colonial union, or possibly within Earth which would be awesome if this was developed. Instead it's a recurring backdrop.
As an extension to the Old Mans War series I'd really like this to have gone somewhere. It all feels rather inconsequential. Even some major events don;t give the sense that anything really has changed.
The character development is excellent with several well-drawn characters, especially Harry Wilson. There's a strong strain of humour in the character relationships and dialogue.
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Most recent customer reviews
I purchased the whole series and it doesn't disappoint....more please!!!
Looking forward to the next instalment.
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