The Human Division #1: The B-Team, by John Scalzi

The B-TeamSo I think we’ve established that I’m not terribly much of an e-book reader, because I only have back-lit reading devices and also I don’t like buying books if I don’t get an actual book for my money. We may also have established that I don’t do well with serialized novels because I forget things easily and like to read things all at once.

However, we’ve definitely proven that John Scalzi can write almost anything and I will read it and I will like it, and also that I would like to read it sooner rather than later. So when Mr. Scalzi said hey, I’m writing this book and I’m going to sort of serialize it (it’s really a set of short story “episodes”) in e-book form for thirteen weeks and you have to pay a dollar for each episode but then at the end of the thirteen weeks there will be a book you can pay an equivalent amount of money for, I protested at first but then figured I’d at least shell out a dollar for the first episode and see what happened.


So, yeah. I’m just gonna go preorder those other twelve episodes now.

Basically, if you’ve read any of the Old Man’s War series you’ll enjoy what’s going on here, and even if you haven’t, if you like space and politics and aliens and humor, this is probably a thing you will like.

In this first episode, we meet up with some new faces and some happily familiar ones in the OMW universe, and we find out what’s been going on since The Last Colony/Zoe’s Tale — namely, that things have gone kind of to shit in the alien relations department and also that Earth is like, hey, military branch that’s been helping us out with this overpopulation problem, we don’t really want to talk to you anymore, have fun out there in space with your Colonial Union. So the Union finds itself needing to do some serious negotiating, but of course there are some other people (aliens?) who would rather that not work out, hence the story at hand.

I absolutely enjoyed this, as you may have noticed, because of Scalzi’s patented fine blend of intrigue, explosions, science, and humor both subtle and completely juvenile, as when early on in the story several diplomats find themselves essentially vomited upon. It’s fun stuff, and at 93 Kindle pages for this “double episode” it only took maybe an hour out of my day, so really you have no excuse for not reading this, either now or when the book comes out in May.

Rating: 10/10

3 thoughts on “The Human Division #1: The B-Team, by John Scalzi

  1. Carl V. says:

    So glad you decided to jump on the weekly ride with the rest of us! It was a fun first episode, wasn’t it? Very much a “hook the claws into you” first story. I too believe I’ll be finding myself looking forward to Tuesdays each week for a long time now. In fact I am trying to convince myself that the best thing for me is to actually go to bed early on Monday nights so I can get up early and dive right in before work.


    I was really surprised by the fact that Scalzi started time having passed and now the Earth rebelling against being used for soldier fodder, especially the quick hint that John and Jane are behind this. I liked the surprise and it makes for an interesting premise to start this novel on.

    • Alison says:

      Oh, gosh, you are committed! My current plan is to use the stories as treadmill distraction — it’s worked fantastically so far! — but I’m only on the treadmill on Thursdays, oh no!

      As to the spoiler, I thought I had just forgotten that that had happened in the previous books! I’m glad I didn’t miss that, and I also thought it was an interesting place to start from, and inevitable, perhaps. I do love how Scalzi really thinks these things through.

      • Carl V. says:

        I don’t think it happened in Zoe’s War but it has been soooo long since I’ve read it that I don’t recall. At any rate it was a surprise even if it was just my poor recollection that made it so.

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