The Human Division (and some House Cleaning)
To those who recommended John Scalzi’s The Human Division, thank you. Seriously, it is one of the best novels I’ve read in a while. Just amazing.
The Human Division is set in Scalzi’s Old Man’s War Universe. The title basically sums up the theme, humanity is divided. For centuries , the Colonial Union has kept Earth a backwater, exploiting humanity’s homeworld for colonists and soldiers. But with the revelations made in The Lost Colony, the relationship between Earth and the CU is ruptured.
Most of the episodes that make up the novel feature Lieutenant Harry Wilson and the awesome diplomatic team/ crew of the two ships named Clarke, who attempt to deal with the new reality in which the CU must use diplomacy, not force. But, in all honestly, the real plot of the novel is the discovered conspiracy to not only keep Earth permanently estranged from the CU, but to destroy the CU (and the rival Conclave).
There is action aplenty and lots of humor. Even though the CU is less than sympathetic, I really enjoyed almost all of the characters. Wilson is a trip, Schmidt is endearing, Abumwe is a boss (she is one of my two favorite characters), and Sorvalh is the bomb (my other favorite character).
There are only two episodes that don’t really work for me. “A Voice in the Wilderness” perhaps is the weakest section of the entire novel. It just doesn’t fit, in my opinion. Maybe i’m just having a hard time with the modern stasis that has afflicted Earth for centuries (no matter how many have passed). But it just doesn’t seem “right.” The other weak episode, in my opinion, is “The Sound of Rebellion.” I think my issue with this episode is that I think the CU won too easily.
And that is a frustration of the various stories in the novel. Things seem to conclude too easily in the protagonists’ favors (not that it saves them in the end with a holy shit wham cliffhanger).
I was recommended this novel because it started life through serialization. After having read it, this is not quite what I had in mind. The Human Division is more a short story collection than a novel or a continuing coherent narrative. Rather, it is more like a television series. And it works. I want more. Dammit, I want more.
Now, onto the house cleaning. I need to elucidate a comments policy. Typically, I will allow anything unless it is economic spam, abusive, or too sensitive.
If you are wanting to comment on posts made by my former co-writer (aka my brother), your comments may never appear. Largely because he was the primary editor when we set up the blog. And by now, he’s forgotten the password.
Which also explains my failure to redesign the blog last year when I flirted with that idea. One of these days, I’ll need to make a concerted effort to get the password.