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The Human Division #9: The Observers by [Scalzi, John]
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The Human Division #9: The Observers Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • File Size: 367 KB
  • Print Length: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (March 12, 2013)
  • Publication Date: March 12, 2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AF62F1G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,280 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Randy Johnson VINE VOICE on March 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lt. Wilson is asked by Ambassador Abumwe to be the liaison for the Earth party of observers on the Clarke's latest mission: to negotiate a deal with the Burfinor for biomedical scanners, superior to the Colonial Union's, for five outdated starships. Abumwe remembers the fake Earth party from an earlier mission. Wilson is from the United States as is one of the observers from Earth.

It doesn't take long as one the earth party, the leader, is found dead and an autopsy reveals that it looks as if the Colonial Union killed him. It's up to Wilson to figure out what really happened before this whole thing blows up the Colonial Union's face.
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Everyone loves a good locked-spaceship mystery, right? I certainly do.

The trail of mysterious sabotage continues to dog (hah) Ambassador Abumwe and Lt. Wilson, and only a nasty suspicious pair of minds and a series of fortunate coincidences enables them to figure out part of what is up.

There is still hilarious dialog:
"The romance of the diplomatic life, Lieutenant Wilson," Abumwe said.

"We are living the dream, ma'am," Wilson said. Abumwe stared at Wilson for a moment, as if she were slightly disbelieving the two of them had actually just made a commiserating joke together.

There is also the tiny budding of a romance for Lt. Wilson. Good for him.

Read if: You are enjoying this serial. If you like the moment when everyone realizes it was Col. Mustard with the pipe wrench.

Skip if: You are looking for any resolution to our persistent mystery to happen in this installment.
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I enjoyed this section of The Human Division. The reason I rated this 4 stars is because of the price, compared to length.

Basically if all of these chapters had been combined into one boot in the traditional way, it would have been a short novel, priced around $8 to $10. Instead at a dollar per chapter, the price comes out a bit higher. I can't say that I haven't enjoyed reading them, and I don't feel ripped off, but the length compared to price is a bit off.

I like what John Scalzi is doing here, but I hope if he tries this again we get a bit more bang for the buck. All that said, I don't regret the buy at all. If you're a Scalzi fan, or a fan of The Old Man's War, you should absolutely but this collection.
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I am really enjoying how Scalzi is mixing up the style with every episode. This week we get a murder mystery, the consequences of which could irreparably damage relations between Earth and the Colonial Union.

Dialogue is an obvious strength of Scalzi's writing and we get plenty of witty banter here, especially between Harry and a woman from Earth who has been brought on board to observe the diplomatic process. Things are starting to come to a head now, pieces are moving into position, and I think the threat has just about been revealed. This big threat has been many years in the making, and the connections to John Perry are becoming harder to refute.
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I guess I was expecting something more cohesive? But each story does contribute to the whole. This has to be a fairly profitable franchise for Mr. Scalzi at 99 cents per installment. So far I've paid 11.88 for 12 short stories. A couple of them took less than 30 minutes to read.

If I was a writer I think at this point I would allow it to evolve into a whole new series. Perhaps one in which young people from Earth and the colonies can enlist and have their 'birth bodies' preserved while they serve. Perhaps the stories could follow several recruits from different places and perspectives.
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Get used to the idea that this is served in small portions and the full book will have an overall cost of US $ 13.
If that is too expensive for a book this size then do not bother buying the next one. Getting off the series now is very uninteresting.
This chapter builds up various themes, one important one is who is the mysterious enemy. It will not be confirmed until the last chapter but it is shaping up nicely. I had forgotten that Wilson was an old ship mate of
John Perry. See what happens when you do not reread the original novel!
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I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.

What I liked:

- Keeps the overall story moving right along, while presenting its own self-contained story (although the story has a couple problems, as explained below).
- Good character development; Scalzi explores a few character relationships which weren't really fleshed out before.
- More Harry Wilson, which is usually a good thing. He's a great character in my opinion, and I love reading about his antics.

What I didn't like:

- Yet another "Problem presents itself, Harry Wilson uses a plot device from earlier in the chapter to fix it" scenario. This is getting a little overused at this point since almost every Episode with Harry Wilson uses this format.
- Yet another overly sarcastic character is introduced. These seem to be a staple in the Old Man's War universe, and another overly sarcastic character is brought on board in this Episode. To Scalzi's credit he has a lot of diverse characters in The Human Division, and I realize there's only so many character personalities out there, but this new character's sarcastic personality is unnecessary in my opinion.
- No Hart Schmidt. I think the "bromance" between Harry Wilson and Hart Schmidt is akin to Holmes and Watson, and it's a shame Schmidt wasn't there to constantly complain about Wilson's actions.

Overall I enjoyed this read despite its flaws, and I look forward to the next installment of The Human Division!
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