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The Human Division (Old Man's War) Hardcover – May 14, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Old Man's War
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765333511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765333513
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. --David Pitt

Review

“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

Customer Reviews

I became a great fan of Scalzi after reading Old Man's War.
Edward R. Lilley
I started reading the first page of book one, and he had me reeled in and crying by the end of the first chapter.
T. Dalton
I have read most of Scalzi's books and have found most of them very well written and good stories.
Wallace Kleck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 187 people found the following review helpful By Michael Haspert on May 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading Scalzi's humorous pacing and smart-assed aliens but my joy diminished as I watched the pages-remaining shrink until I finally realized that this was not going to wrap up in one book. It ends, for one sense of the word, like one of the serialized chapters. Furthermore,the end came even more abruptly than I had expected. I got to it and learned that the remaining pages were an extra, not a continuation of the story except in the most tangential sense.

I had skipped the serial method of delivery because I wanted to be able to read through to a conclusion and because I did not want to have one story split into 14 titles on my kindle. So I guess I am still ahead if this is volume 1 of 3, or whatever it turns out to be.

I wish it would have been clear before I bought. This seems so near the border between an honest miscommunication and sleazy marketing that it is irritating.
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95 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Karl Katzke on May 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Note: Slight spoiler.

OK, we've got another Old Man's War novel! Great! It's a serialized novel, which is a neat new thing, which incentivizes coherent beginnings and endings to volumes. Although some of us who like their novels, even if they read like collections of short stories, to be in one chunk, because we read it straight through in one sitting. So we wait for the book edition to come out. Also great! Except that it's an unsatisfying read because there's all this awesome intrigue and problem solving and IT DOESN'T GO ANYWHERE EXCEPT A POTENTIALLY EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM. It's like there's another story that was supposed to wrap up all of the plot lines that got started, and it got left out in a giant editing mistake.

So, great story, great universe, I loved some of the lines, and this is very much the "New" (post-Fuzzy) Scalzi who lets his sense of humor out and isn't trying too hard to become an established sci-fi writer. But, one star off, because Scalzi accidentally the.

(Yes, that was on purpose.)
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By John in PS on May 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me preface this review by saying that I enjoyed the first three books in the Old Man's War. I did not write reviews for these book but would have given the first five stars, the second four, and the third, three. My impression about half way through The Last Colony, the third book in the series, was that the storyline was running a bit long in the tooth and I was encouraged by a note from the author at the end that it would be the last book in the series. I did not read Zoe's Tale because I was not interested in a retelling of Last Colony from a different point of view.

Having now finished The Human Division, it is clear (in my opinion) that this series is long past it's expiration date. I found myself struggling to remain interested a quarter of the way in, and really struggling halfway through to finish the book. One could say it drags, but that would be admitting that there was something there to drag. The great majority of The Human Division is written in dialogue between characters, which is fine, but hundreds of pages of "Wilson said" "Schmidt said" "Abumwe said" gets old fast. The book was originally released in a series of short stories, but collected in book form they felt very disjointed to me. The Green Mile this was not. I found the chapter about a talk show radio host cringe worthy - a cliched version of Glen Beck complete with a rally on the Mall in Washington DC. Last, Scalzi has a particular talent for writing smart ass characters which sound quite a bit like himself writing on his blog. One or two books with a number of characters who share this voice would be fine, an entire series of smart ass characters is not only tiring, it gives the impression that an author only has one or two voices in which he is able to speak.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Nwal on June 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the way John Scalzi writes. He would be successful in any genre. His vision of the future is unique and entertaining. I have read all of his books in the "Old Mans War" series and liked them. This book was written in serial form with a new chapter or two being issued at a time. I waited til it was completed and ordered the entire book at once. Unfortunately, it reads as a collection of loosely connected short stories instead of a novel and that is why I only gave it 3 stars. Still an OK read, but not his best. I hope the next book in the series has more continuity and does more to advance the overall theme of the series.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Richardson on May 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished this "book" and was annoyed. I came onto Amazon to read the reviews, which I often skip prior to reading a favourite author in case of spoilers, and then discovered the true scope of the scam!

This item should NOT be marketed as a novel. It should CLEARLY state it is a collection of short stories, or an anthology or something.

Why would this help? First off it sets expectations. Secondly, it removes a lot of confusion regarding the vastly different chapters, characters and very very odd pacing if it were to be considered a novel.

Did I like the writing? Yes. Was it funny? Yes. Does it work as a one sitting enjoyment? NO!

***Spoiler***
There is no closure in this book. It simply stops. Very annoying if you do not know it is a collection of somewhat related short stories.

Put "Collection of Short Stories" on the cover somewhere, stop treating your paying fans like idiots, stop these cheap marketing shams and I'll you you the star back.....
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More About the Author

John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you're reading this, makes perfect sense. He's best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller "Redshirts," which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word "Whatever" into Google. No, seriously, try it.

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