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The B-Team (The Human Division #1)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  4,621 Ratings  ·  250 Reviews
The opening episode of The Human Division, John Scalzi's new thirteen-episode novel in the world of his bestselling Old Man's War.

Colonial Union Ambassador Ode Abumwe and her team are used to life on the lower end of the diplomatic ladder. But when a high-profile diplomat goes missing, Abumwe and her team are last minute replacements on a mission critical to the Colonial U
ebook, 93 pages
Published January 15th 2013 by Tor Books
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Wil Wheaton
Mar 04, 2013 Wil Wheaton rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Like the first episode of any series, it took me quite a bit of time to figure out who the characters were, what they were about, and why I should care about them. When I got all that figured out, and settled in for the ride, it was a lot of fun.

It's a great setup, though, and I can't wait to see where John takes them.
Jun 21, 2014 Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Since John Scalzi released The Human Division as an episodic tale over 13 weeks - I wanted to rate/review each one as I read it (even though I bought them all as part of The Human Division book).

This was fantastic. In the beginning it was jumping all around and I couldn't keep the characters straight but he pulled it all together and I really enjoyed this first episode.

It picks up after The Last Colony/Zoe's Tale - the Earth has either split from the Colonial Union or at the very least is on the
Mar 27, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it
The B-Team is a fun bit of sf, fitting perfectly into the universe and style of Old Man's War. It isn't groundbreaking, but it's fun, and definitely whets my appetite for more. I think it might even be a good introduction to Scalzi's Old Man's War universe.

I'm wondering how this serial novel will work out. I hope we at least stick with a smallish group of lead characters, or it'll feel pretty bitty and disjointed. Guess I'd better read on and find out!
Claire Fun
Jan 07, 2013 Claire Fun rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Oh, now this was fun. A rip-riding little adventure, like a stand alone short story, set in the universe of the 'Old Man's War' series. Mostly it was introducing the new characters, as this is the first of 13 ebooks of assorted chapters, short stories, or novellas that will make up the 5th book in the series. It's an interesting approach and at 64-77p certainly an affordable way to find out if it's for you. As a lover of the series I already knew I would buy the book and I do wonder which way wi ...more
Jan 15, 2013 Darren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
A lot of this one is about looking for a needle in a haystack, not to give anything away. The problem with needle-in-a-haystack searches, as an opening for a larger narrative, is that they need to engage the reader. Sifting through chaff does not engage the reader. So they're amped up, as here. All of a sudden you're looking for a hay-coloured needle, made out of I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Hay. And that haystack? It's large enough that if a toddler were to take his or her first steps on one end of ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Daniel rated it liked it
The first installment of Scalzi's serial book in the Colonial Union-verse is a light, quick read that offers problem solving, mystery, and intrigue that extends from the developments of the original trilogy (and, possibly, from "Zoe's Tale," which I have not read). This time, Harry Wilson takes some of the limelight, and his humor and smarts fit Scalzi's writing style.

More than anything, I'm curious to see how Scalzi handles a serialized format. This installment offered 93 pages, while future on
Feb 13, 2013 Tia rated it liked it
Although this was a quick read, it wasn't really all that engaging. It is about a diplomat team that is sent into an emergency situation mostly because they are convenient, and they proved that they weren't quite such a B team after all.

Although it has only been a few weeks since I read this, I am having trouble remembering the names of the characters, which is a bad sign. John Perry from Old Man's War was a wonderful character, who I count among my favorite characters ever. These guys ... well,
Tanja Berg
Perfectly readable SF novella. Prior knowledge of Scalzi's universe is definitely a plus, it helped me get into it at any rate. The Colonial Defense Force (CDF) has lost Earth, that is, fresh replenishment of soldiers. It badly needs other friends in a hostile universe. An important diplomatic mission ends in disaster as the ambassador's ship is blown to smithereens, leaving now surivors. There are four days until the alien species arrive for the negotiations and a replacement team has to be fou ...more
Jessica Hinckle
Jan 24, 2013 Jessica Hinckle rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this. Quick read with a lot of sarcastic humor and an interesting story. A tad predictable, and there aren't any truly shocking twists, or.... any twists really. Maybe one. But, I enjoyed the main characters and their personalities enough that I'm going to continue reading the series. Next installment is only 27 pages, so why not?

I recommend. Worth the .99 cents it sells for on Google Play and I probably would pay more. Overall, an awesome little sci-fi series.
Belinda Lewis
Sep 10, 2014 Belinda Lewis rated it really liked it
I read all of the Human Division stories in the single novel format one after the other. So I'm only going to review them this once.

John Scalzi writes enjoyable, really funny space opera. I really enjoyed these, even though 'action' science fiction is not really my thing.

I wish that he'd written these serials as an actual novel though - there's certainly enough of a narrative thread to tie it all together - and I think it would have made for a better, richer read.
Did Not Finish

I gave it about 40 minutes and was not into it. I wasn't paying attention and he really overused the word said.

The premise sounds interesting and I have been meaning to read Old Man's War so I think I'll start with that and pick this up as a book later.
Jan 12, 2013 Ron rated it really liked it
Outstanding. Vintage--no, classic Scalzi. Fast-paced, wry humor, seat-of-the pants action. Not great literature, but certainly great fun.

I don't see how he can keep the pace or the quantity up, but count me in for the ride.
Shawn Kass
Jan 16, 2013 Shawn Kass rated it really liked it
Fun little read, brings back memories of Star Trek
Dec 28, 2016 Enzo rated it really liked it
So this is a side story within the "Old Man's War" universe. That is quite interesting once you get the characters to fall into place. But once you do put them in their place it becomes a really good story that John Scalzi is delivering across 13 novellas.
I will refrain to say anything that might spoil "Old Man's War" series readers. I am going to place "The B-Team" around the time of "Last Colony" for those who have read those books you know what happened. So during a diplomatic encounter the
Bogdan Epure
Oct 26, 2016 Bogdan Epure rated it really liked it
O serie de scurte povestiri surprinzător de antrenante. Continuă povestea din seria Old Man's War și o face bine. Mai bine ca ultimele 2 cărți din serie. M-a dezamăgit puțin, dacă prin dezamăgire înțelegem că mi-a făcut poftă de următoarele cărți din serie și nu a avut un sfârșit foarte bine conturat, că m-a cam lăsat în pom la final.
Jan 29, 2013 John rated it it was amazing
This review is for the entirety of The Human Division, comprised of The B-Team; Walk the Plank; We Only Need the Heads; A Voice in the Wilderness; Tales From the Clarke; The Back Channel; The Dog King; The Sound of Rebellion; The Observers; This Must Be the Place; A Problem of Proportion; The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads; Earth Below, Sky Above.

My first thought about this, the latest story in the Old Man's War universe from John Scalzi, was annoyance that I hadn't read it whilst it was being rel
Mar 02, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This review poses an interesting conundrum. How does a reviewer complete a review based solely on the first two segments of a book being released as an episodic narrative?

To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure and I'm willing to give it my best shot, but I warn you now... this will be the last time I volunteer for this kind of review. Trying to formulate an opinion on the first two chapters of a scifi epic is just too much and I'm not sure a whole lot can be gained from a review of this natur
Jan 17, 2013 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audible posted a free download of the first part of John Scalzi's serial novel, The Human Division, for anyone who likes their Facebook page. I'm sure the idea was to get people hooked on the story so they'd buy each of the installments as they come out, once a week.

It worked.

At least, for me, it did. Part one, The B-Team, introduces a science fiction world with the technology to halt aging, implant computers in people's minds, jump through space, and survive a trip through the void with only a
Tommy Carlson
Jan 19, 2013 Tommy Carlson rated it liked it
So, John Scalzi is trying out serialization by diving back into the Old Man's War universe. Sweet! The idea is that he'll release thirteen works, one per week. Each one will be a self-contained story but, together, will form an overarching tale.

I want to pause at this point and mention how sweet pre-orders are on an eReader. Pre-ordered books just show up on the release date. It's awesome! That said, you should still strip the DRM from them. Although, in this case, the books have no DRM, because
Desmond Shepherd
Mar 28, 2013 Desmond Shepherd rated it really liked it
This whole idea of serialized fiction has me intrigued. Why not release episodic content like a television show, week after week? Maybe it could draw in a new crowd of readers who want quick fiction.

I took the plunge on The B-Team by John Scalzi to see how he attempts to do this. With the first installment of the 13 episodes, I was very pleased. Bear in mind, I'm not familiar with any of his other books. This is my first time reading his work.

Scalzi gets right into the action, establishing a sec
B.C. Young
Mar 28, 2013 B.C. Young rated it really liked it
This whole idea of serialized fiction has me intrigued. Why not release episodic content like a television show, week after week? Maybe it could draw in a new crowd of readers who want quick fiction.

I took the plunge on The B-Team by John Scalzi to see how he attempts to do this. With the first installment of the 13 episodes, I was very pleased. Bear in mind, I'm not familiar with any of his other books. This is my first time reading his work.

Scalzi gets right into the action, establishing a sec
Kyle West
Jan 25, 2013 Kyle West rated it really liked it
This is my first intro to Scalzi, and if this is any indication, I'll be coming back for more. I find the episodic nature of this series to be highly intriguing. "The B-Team" is fast-paced, well-plotted, and leaves me wanting more. It really is like a TV show, only with words. That said, it's a lot longer than they typical thirty minutes to an hour you'd find on TV. I'd guess "The B-Team" was anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 words. It took me about two hours to read in all, which was a pleasant su ...more
Apr 13, 2013 Fred rated it liked it
Going to put of all The Human Division parts in this review, since they are not stand alone books.

1. The B-Team - 3 Stars - Good stuff. More a short story than a book.

2. Walk the Plank - 2 stars - Weaker than the first story, but still a pretty good stand alone short story.

3. We only need the heads - 3 stars - Same bunch of characters as the first story. And now the 2nd story makes more sense. Good third episode.

4. A Voice in the Wilderness - 1 star - Bit boring chapter. Fun ending though. Take
Patrick Davis
Jan 17, 2013 Patrick Davis rated it it was ok
I was very glad to hear that John Scalzi was returning to the Old Man's War universe, and especially interested to see how this story in TV-show format would work. I still have high hopes for both the concept and the story, but I came away from this first installment disappointed.

I liked the setup: a ship gets destroyed by an unknown attacker, and an unlucky yet resourceful B-team has to 1, complete the mission, and 2, figure out who took out the first ship. The post-Perry and Sagan climate was
Dec 29, 2012 G33z3r rated it really liked it
Tor's experiment in publishing John Scalzi's latest story in 13 weekly installments begins with The B Team. I liked Mr. Scalzi's previous novels, so I decided to try the installment plan.

This is set in the same universe as Scalzi's Old Man's War, though it involves all new characters and situations. Humans have ventured to the stars and established colonies on dozens of worlds, competing and cooperating with a huge range of other star-faring alien races, a good old-fashioned space opera. I think
Peter Anargirou
Jan 19, 2013 Peter Anargirou rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
The B-Team marks John Scalzi's return to his Old Man's War universe, the series for which he's most known. Set after the events of The Last Colony and Zoe's Tale, it tells of a Colonial Union team sent to repair a diplomatic mission gone wrong. While it seems enjoyable without knowledge of the previous books in the series, it would also spoil them. I highly recommend reading the rest of the series first. Readers familiar with the series should enjoy seeing the ramifications of Perry and Sagan's ...more
Lis Carey
Jan 26, 2013 Lis Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, fiction, audiobooks
This is another short story, the first of thirteen connected shorts set in Scalzi's Old Man's War universe.

The Colonial Union has a major problem. They're no longer on speaking terms with Earth, so they no longer have Earth as a source of new recruits for the Colonial Defense Force, and they're a couple of generations away from being able to recruit sufficient numbers from their own colony worlds to meet their needs. And meanwhile, about two thirds of their previously divided and chaotically at
Oct 03, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
Scalzi is a fantastic writer. In no time at all he can build a believable world filled with likable characters. The disadvantage I had with this story is that it is deep into the Old Man's War series. But even by dropping into the middle of the story The B-Team was a small enough that I could grab on to the plot points of this particular mission and enjoy it thoroughly.

I really enjoyed this one; the dialog was crisp and fun and I particularly liked that these people were not considered the best-
Jan 07, 2013 heidi rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, scifi, reviewed
This takes me back to glory days of James Schmitz and his can-do heroes and heroines. I mean that in the nicest way.

I really love the idea of a B-team of not-quite professional-grade diplomats who nonetheless have great improvisational skills. I think that it's a lot easier for us to imagine ourselves as, rather than being part of the A-team of brilliance and unfettered success.

Here's a problem. Figure it out.

This is the first installation in a serial. I think it's an interesting and hopeful tur
Jan 19, 2013 Randy rated it it was amazing
Scalzi's experiment in a thirteen part novel, one episode a week, then the book of them. It's set in his Old Man's War universe.

The CDF is in trouble. Earth has pulled out of it, the source of all it's soldiers and colonists for the many planets settled. The most optimistic projections suggest the human race might be extinct in thirty years as the Conclave, a union of hundreds of alien races opposed to the CDF, conquers the settled human worlds.

An ambassadorial ship goes missing, presumed destro
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Is this stand alone or part of Old Man's War? 3 29 Feb 21, 2013 10:39AM  
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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

The Human Division (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Walk the Plank (The Human Division, #2)
  • We Only Need the Heads (The Human Division, #3)
  • A Voice in the Wilderness (The Human Division, #4)
  • Tales From the Clarke (The Human Division, #5)
  • The Back Channel (The Human Division, #6)
  • The Dog King (The Human Division, #7)
  • The Sound of Rebellion (The Human Division, #8)
  • The Observers (The Human Division, #9)
  • This Must Be the Place (The Human Division, #10)
  • A Problem of Proportion (The Human Division, #11)

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“Because every time I think of starships skipping across the galaxy, I imagine Albert Einstein in a policeman’s uniform, writing up a ticket.” 2 likes
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