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The Human Division (Old Man's War #5)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  15,101 Ratings  ·  1,085 Reviews
Following the events of The Last Colony, John Scalzi tells the story of the fight to maintain the unity of the human race.

The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source o
Hardcover, 431 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Tor Books (first published May 2013)
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Paige Ellen Stone The first three books of this series are among the best books Scalzi has produced. Since then, he has sort of tapped the well dry. "The Human…moreThe first three books of this series are among the best books Scalzi has produced. Since then, he has sort of tapped the well dry. "The Human Division" can be read as a stand-alone and you might even like it more than most of the fans who have read the earlier books in the saga.
No, it is not a "spin-off" series, but rather more a case of Scalzi failing to resist the urge to indulge, in my opinion, his publisher, by writing a rather weak sequel to the series.(less)
Brad No, different authors. Ender's Game was written by Orson Scott Card. Both Science Fiction, but different worlds.

Community Reviews

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Nov 19, 2014 Bookwraiths rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, library
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

I read The Human Division a few months ago. Since I thoroughly hated it, I tried to return it to the library where I got it from, put it out of my mind, and hope that after a few days/weeks/months, I’d have a more favorable view of it in hindsight. But that hasn’t really happened. Honestly, time has only cemented my personal dislike of this serialized novel, so please understand before you go further that I’m not really going to say anything favorable a
Aug 03, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans, especially Scalzi fans
There are 13 "episodes" that author John Scalzi has broken this book down into, and they are being released weekly for the next few months. Instead of writing thirteen separate reviews, I will review each self-contained episode here, which will, eventually, be a review of this entire work.

'The B-Team'

Well this is certainly off to a hell of a start. Not only does Scalzi give the requisite background information on the "Old Man's War" universe without being boring or summarizing his previous book
Mar 16, 2013 Christian rated it it was ok
PART ONE - March 16


Is how each part of John Scalzi's experiment in Dickensian Science Fiction would end if the author had stuck to Chucky D's well-established method of chopping what we now know as classics into weekly or monthly episodes - "please sir - can I have some more?" Next week, child, next week - assuming you can pony up another 99c for Audible.

But no – Scalzi wants to have his cake, eat it and still have the abs of a Men's Health cover model. The Human Division c
Lindsey Rey
Oct 24, 2014 Lindsey Rey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction, 2015
My favorite in the series so far! Loved all of the diplomacy and the B-team!
Aug 19, 2015 Krbo rated it really liked it
Originalno ova knjiga je zbirka priča (13) objavljenih u e-obliku tijekom nekoliko mjeseci. Tu su i dvije dodatne.

No nema nikakve brige oko toga, čak je i zanimljivo kako je svako poglavlje (priča) lijepo zaokružena.
Većinom su to različiti slučajevi pa je osigurana visoka dinamika radnje - pred kraj se počinje provlačiti i jedna zajednička tema koja ostaje neriješena. (hoće li ju nastaviti i u najnovijem nastavku ostaje vidjeti no dobra je pa bi bilo OK)

Wilson je zanimljiv lik, a humor je dosta
Tom Negrino
Mar 07, 2013 Tom Negrino rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Scalzi fans, with caveats
I'm an unhappy customer after reading The Human Division in its serialized run. It was clear by around episode 8 that Scalzi would not be able to wrap up all the threads of the story, but (no spoilers) the book ends with an epic battle and no resolution of the main plot, and with smoking guns littering the stage. The day of the final episode's release, Scalzi announced that there was going to be a sequel (or perhaps sequels, given how he's likening The Human Division to a TV series), which he'd ...more
Mar 09, 2016 Connor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Yep, this series is still totally awesome. It's definitely a different kind of formatting, but I really enjoyed the change. I had a couple of areas where I wished I'd gotten a little bit more information, but overall, I loved this. I skipped Zoe's Tale because I'd heard it's just The Last Colony rewritten in Zoe's perspective, but I'll go back and read it eventually.
Executive Summary: This might be my favorite book in the Old Man's War universe yet. Though it's not really a book, so much as a collection of short stories. Either way, I can't wait for the next one!

Audio book:William Dufris is a great fit for this series. I really like Wil Wheaton for Scalzi books, but I was really missing Mr. Dufris for Zoe's Tale (though I totally understand why they didn't use him). He does a great job delivering the snark and really just the dialogue in general that I'll c
Dec 01, 2016 Marijan rated it really liked it
skupina priča, povezanih manje više istim likovima, koja kronološki slijedi dosadašnje knjige, a kvalitetom ne zaostaje.
Fred Hughes
Feb 17, 2013 Fred Hughes rated it it was amazing
Author John Scalzi has answered our wishes to read more stories based on the Old Man’s War series with this book of 13 superb short stories in that universe. While each story is a stand alone story our protagonists appear in most of the stories.

The back ground to the stories for those not yet enlightened by the Old Man’s War series is that when you reach 75 years old you can join the CDF and have your consciousness transferred into a young body with enhanced capabilities. The main condition to t
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jan 20, 2013 Mogsy (MMOGC) rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Back when I first started getting into reading more sci-fi, John Scalzi's Old Man's War series was a great starting point. The books had just the right mix of space travel, aliens and futuristic technology, but were still light enough not to intimidate a relative newcomer to the genre. Now they still rank among some of my favorite books of all time.

So when I found out about Scalzi's new serialized novel based on the Old Man's War universe, I became all excited and got set to pick up t
Matthew Hester
Jan 09, 2013 Matthew Hester rated it it was amazing
I think Scalzi has just solidified what the future of the publishing industry looks like. Gone are the days where 1400 page epics can wait for years to be released (GRR Martin, i'm looking at you) as consumers want immediate payouts on investments in this instant gratification society we exist in.
While constructing a coherent story that is broken out into individual segments can be difficult, it allows for a unique way to explore aspects of the story that might otherwise been ignored and present
Consider this experiment a success, I think.

The Human Division is the fifth novel set in John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe, but it can be read on its own if you are so inclined (although I highly recommend reading the first three books–they are wonderful).

The experiment I’m referring to is that The Human Division was initially released as thirteen separate ‘episodes’ at set intervals, and then collected together in ‘novel’ form and released as a hardcover. I say this was an experiment because
Apr 23, 2013 Ric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This latest entry into what will probably turn out to be a long-running multi-publication series (that started with the entertaining Old Man's War) is vintage Scalzi. Mr. Scalzi, who apparently hasn't found a gag line that was beyond inclusion in his books, sprinkles The Human Division with his brand of humorous, irreverent, quirky and inventive story-telling. Whether for marketing purposes or for novelty, the author has chosen to piece this book together from episodes of short story length that

May 16, 2013 Jon rated it it was amazing
Well then, that was a thing.

So, the easy bits. This was typical Scalzi, and I say that in a good way. This was amusing, interesting and engrossing sci-fi in a universe that I already love, by and author I also already love. If you like Scalzi, you'll like this. If you don't, you won't.

There. Now that that's out of the way.

This was, as Scalzi has said in several places, somewhat of an experiment. The individual "episodes" (chapters) were released weekly, and the intention was for them to stand al
Tudor Vlad
Jul 25, 2016 Tudor Vlad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The Human Division felt different from the other Old Man’s War novels, there was a tonal shift which was to be expected after The Last Colony’s ending. It does not follow any of the original characters, but instead we get to follow new ones. The main character in this book does appear in the original trilogy and it took me way too long to figure out who Harry was. The book has an interesting format, it feels almost like a conventional science fiction television show. The book is divided into thi ...more
Alex Ristea
Jan 27, 2014 Alex Ristea rated it really liked it
I read this hardcover edition all in one go, but really it's a collection of short stories that reads like a novel.

As is the nature of short stories, sometimes the reader feels too distant from the story, but thankfully The Human Division is closer to the novel form.

That being said, I was impressed by how Scalzi took advantage of the medium, and changed his writing style between stories. There was some clever authorial experimentation, and it worked.

It's a more serious look at the issues starte
Fantasy Literature
Jun 01, 2013 Fantasy Literature rated it really liked it
4 stars from Kat and Marion:
Jared Millet
"When I was your age, television was called books." Now we've come full circle to a book structured and released episodically like a television program. The Human Division isn't a serial in the traditional sense of a novel broken up into chunks with cliffhangers. Instead, most of the chapters stand on their own as complete short stories while contributing to the whole. So did it work?

Oh, yes.

As for the story itself, I'm not going to say much. It's the fifth in the Old Man's War series (yes, I sk
May 16, 2013 Karl rated it really liked it
I finished the book in two big gulps in the evening. It certainly reads fine straight through, except the episodic nature of the original 'chapters' is a superior delivery mechanism for this book. If I were to read it again, I'd put it down after each 'chapter'.

The story was an excellent addition to the universe overall. There wasn't much space in the serialized editions to review characters and events, which means it kind of dives you straight in to the universe. I'd recommend re-reading the p
Jul 13, 2013 Tim rated it liked it
The BEST I can give it is a 3. What we have here is a TV show (that has never been made) presented in novel form. Each chapter an episode, and the flimsiest of thread connecting them into a seasonal arc - that was left unresolved. The last chapter comes up short as the cliff-hanger episode.

And now its been green-lighted for a second "season" - Scalzi's own words. Is it his goal to break out a TV show (probably Syfy - ugh) by introducing this text and then saying to the powers that be "Look, bui
May 26, 2014 Paul rated it did not like it
I wanted to finish this book, but I just couldn't go on. I did not hate the book, but I "did not like it" and had to rate it one star. The characters are flat and undeveloped. The dialogue sounds like the conversations you hear walking through a middle school. And the clichés! I think Scalzi needs a better editor, or a good advisor. The plot could have been something, but it wasn't. Looks like I'm hot and cold with Scalzi. I rated Old Man's War and Fuzzy Nation high, and Red Shirts low.
Ben Babcock
I had trouble describing The Human Division to friends, because the Old Man’s War universe is military science-fiction, but this particularly novel isn’t so heavy on the “military” aspect. Following the events in The Last Colony (which I haven’t read yet), the Colonial Union has to let military operations take a back seat and resort to democracy to get what it wants. The State Department is suddenly important, meaning that even the diplomats who don’t get the crucial negotations—the “B-Team”, if ...more
Curtis Edmonds
May 02, 2013 Curtis Edmonds rated it liked it
When I was young, I'd occasionally hear my grandfather refer to something-or-other - usually a stray dog - as a "duke's mixture," which I figured out from context meant "a little of this and a little of that." The term refers to a brand of tobacco put out by the Duke family - of Duke University fame, you understand, and there's a large estate near where I live in central New Jersey called Duke Farms. Anyway, this tobacco was apparently made up of pieces of this and that, and the name lives on as ...more
Matt Smith
Apr 23, 2015 Matt Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015, sci-fi
Being that this is like the fifth John Scalzi Old Man's War Universe book I've read this year, I feel myself growing battle weary and perhaps a mite burnt out on Scalzi's writing.

This isn't a slam on his books themselves. I think Scalzi is probably the preeminent populist science fiction writer out there right now. His style clearly resonates with a lot of his fanbase and he's good enough to keep churning out these really solid books (all of these books save Zoe's Tale have been four stars). But
Mar 26, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
A lot of fun, but I kept wondering if this was Scalzi's Retief tribute. It didn't work quite as well -- Lieutenant Harry Wilson, nominally an active-duty commissioned nerd attached to diplomatic staff for non-combat duties -- is absurdly, ridiculously, capable. He diagnoses alien technologies, jumps out of spaceships, invents new forensics and military techniques, saves lives and negotiations.

But he is not written or appreciated by other characters as extraordinary -- instead he just muddles alo
Much as I've enjoyed the latest installment in the Old Man's War saga, it left me both disappointed and eager: disappointed, because the many intriguing threads in the books did not bring a complete resolution, which is left to the next book (or books) in the series; eager because this same lack of resolution means there will be more. And that's a good thing.

As it happens with many of John Scalzi's works, The Human Division starts in a deceptively rambling fashion, the reader's distraction (for
Beth Cato
May 16, 2013 Beth Cato rated it really liked it
This is so far into the series that it's difficult to say anything without it being a spoiler. Suffice to say, this is another solid volume in a fantastic science fiction story. Scalzi writes deep political intrigue with aliens and humans, with humans often as the most villainous at all... though in this book, that's not quite clear anymore. There's another enemy lurking in the shadows and the ending leaves the issue as a frustrating mystery.

I really enjoy Scalzi's dialogue--he does great banter
Apr 10, 2013 Nikki rated it liked it
And now the serial's over, I will sum up my impressions here. I quickly skimmed through all the episodes again, trying to decide how I felt about how well it all tied in. And I really don't know. Some of it still feels incredibly bitty, sort of gratuitous -- The Dog King, for example, is funny, but I'm not sure how much it contributes.

The overall plot is pretty good, but by the time the next "season" comes out, my surmises and hopes will be so much less present and powerful. I wish there'd been
Nov 11, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great addition yo the series. This time we move away from John Perry and focus on other characters in the universe. One of the other original old farts , Wilson ,largely takes the lead alongside a cast of diplomats.
The focus is on the Colonial Union readjusting itself to Earth pulling away from it and suddenly having to pull away from military force and look for alliances.
Overall very interesting and covers a lot of ground. A bit episodic, obviously done to initial release in sections bu
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John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)
More about John Scalzi...

Other Books in the Series

Old Man's War (7 books)
  • Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1)
  • The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2)
  • The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3)
  • Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)
  • The End of All Things (Old Man's War, #6)
  • To Stand or Fall (The End of All Things, #4)

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