Friday, July 17, 2015

The Human Division (by John Scalzi)

Warning to RSS readers: minor spoilers. Non-RSS readers can highlight to read the spoiler text.

When The Human Division was released, I read the comments on John's blog that indicated there was a cliffhanger. So I decided to hold off on reading it until the sequel was released, to spare myself any frustration. Glad I did! Even knowing there was a cliffhanger, I was expecting there to be a little more resolution. Specifically, I thought the big bad would be revealed, and then the sequel would focus on subsequent events. But not the case, so I'm excited to download The End of All Things soon.

This is a classic Scalzi book, with classic Scalzi pros and cons. On the pro side: it is incredibly smart and propulsive, with clever banter and delightful characters, particularly Harry Wilson (an old favorite) and Captain Sophia Coloma. I love how front-and-center women are in Scalzi's novels, and how he makes an effort to strike a gender balance in his books. He's such a popular writer that I feel it's good for the genre as a whole. On the con side, it's true that his characters are uniformly clever and sarcastic, and basically all sound like Scalzi. But... that's what makes the books so entertaining! Our flaws are often the flip side of our best qualities, are they not?

I should probably also mention that this was originally released serially -- so how does it hang together as a novel? Pretty well! I actually enjoyed all the chapters, maybe the one about Schmidt the least (possibly because of expectations, as I was hoping he was the mole). I was always happy to get back to the Clarke and to anything to do with Harry Wilson.

I see The End of All Things is in four parts, as opposed to the 13 parts of The Human Division, and I think that's probably a good call. It strikes a balance between the standalone pieces and the work as a whole. I look forward to seeing how it all wraps up.

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Blogger Beth said...

Oh, I didn't realize the sequel was coming out! I read this in serial form and it was so much fun, my first serialized novel. I should reread it in preparation for the sequel.

(I agree with all pros and cons.)

9:58 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

The first four parts are all out individually I think -- I'm waiting for the book to be released as a whole, which should be soon!

10:53 AM  

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