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A Voice in the Wilderness (The Human Division #4)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,963 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Albert Birnbaum was once one of the biggest political talk show hosts around, but these days hes watching his career enter a death spiral. A stranger offers a solution to his woes, promising to put him back on top. Its everything Birnbaum wants, but is there a catch? And does Birnbaum actually care if there is?
ebook, 36 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Tor Books
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(showing 1-30 of 2,930)
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Feb 05, 2013 Ron rated it liked it
Three and a half stars maybe.

This is a cute short story with many classic Scalzi tropes, but not up to the standard of wit and wisdom long-time Scalzi readers expect. Undoubtedly necessary in the greater scheme of the series but, of itself, forgettable.

Still, a good read.
Mar 31, 2013 Nikki rated it liked it
Hmm. Not such an interesting chapter. It furthers the plot, in the same way as the second episode, but it doesn't include characters to hold on to, to stay interested in. It's a clever enough chapter, but I wasn't emotionally engaged at all. There weren't even references back to the crew of the Clarke, which might've helped.
Feb 06, 2013 Jaime rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The fourth entry in Scalzi's The Human Division provides a vision of what is happening on Earth now that they are aware of the the Colonial Union and the forces arrayed against them spread across the galaxy. The dialogue is tight and quick, the wit is well written and the secret and mysterious deal that talk show host (and main character) Birnbaum accepts is intriguing and enticing all at the same time.

Of special note is the back and forth between Birnbaum and his assistant. The rapid fire barb
Jun 25, 2014 Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Brilliant! This is why Scalzi is world famous and I work 9-5 everyday.
So in this episode we're back on earth still with the question of "Should Earth be with the Colonial Union? Or separate from it?" and obviously people don't learn from history - whoever controls the media, controls everything.
All new characters in this short episode but all wonderful characters that were beautifully written.

Can't wait for the next episode/issue/part...
Here we see a bit of what's happening back on Earth through the story of a fading audio talk show host who is promised fame and notoriety if he will espouse the cause of The Colonial Union. What he doesn't know, however, is who is really backing him, or why.
Oh ha ha, I get it. He's like Rush Limbaugh. How funny that political discourse will be the same 200 years after we've expanded into space. What an imagination.*

*is not in evidence.
Tim Williams
Jul 11, 2013 Tim Williams rated it did not like it
Should have been titled "In the weeds" because that's where Scalzi went with this one. Besides that it is off the main line of the story and kills off the character as well (so he won't be back?), there are problems. No character to like or really relate to. An Earth in the future that sounds (boringly) like today. The only SF nod at all is referencing the Colonial Union, and auto-drive cars that weren't used - huh? And then there is the writing - I expect better. These characters were just more ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Alice rated it really liked it
This is the fourth in John Scalzi's serializations of The Human Division, a story taking place within the same world as Old Man's War. There will be thirteen in total.

This installment takes us to Earth, to radio personality Al Birnbaum. As the story opens, his ratings are on a downward spiral, and he's planning a tryst with a "groupie," when he's approached by a man who calls himself Michael Washington. Washington offers increased ratings in exchange for Birnbaum's slanting his show into pro-CU
Jul 01, 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
Annabeth Leong
Feb 09, 2013 Annabeth Leong rated it liked it
A clear pattern has emerged -- I am happy on the "main story" weeks, and disappointed when the serial goes off main story. The story seems to be settling into a rhythm of one on and one off, which so far means I'm a bit disappointed every other week.

Scalzi's writing remains lively and competent. He has said on his blog that this format has been exciting to him, and listed the alternation as something he particularly likes. Because of this, I've searched myself to understand why it puts me off s
Nov 07, 2013 Pierre rated it liked it
This is a review for the series of the Human Division. I have read all the 13 books in a row, this was my first time reading John Scalzi.
I was at first disturbed by the series: more than 400 different races, some with very unfriendly intents toward each other, but all at about the same technological development level and strength which makes it none really prevails? It just does not fit with my idea of technological advancement and species competition.
Anyway, I decided to forget about the imposs
Amanda Allen
Feb 14, 2014 Amanda Allen rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
This one felt more like a story in itself, but it was also meh-y in that I just didn't care what was happening. If that makes sense, since I carried on reading it and will start the next ep soon. I feel like each ep is a piece of the puzzle. This one in particular was like a border piece. Necessary to the whole but not really interesting.
Peter Anargirou
Feb 06, 2013 Peter Anargirou rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, google-books
A Voice in the Wilderness is another side-story to the overall arc of The Human Division (and a great one at that). For the first time, Scalzi shows us what everyday life is like on Earth. Episode 4 follows a political commentator on Earth and shows us some of the conversations surrounding Earth's relationships with the Colonial Union and the Conclave. It's extremely fascinating and something we haven't seen in the Old Man's War universe previously.

This episode provides great content for the cur
Lis Carey
Mar 05, 2013 Lis Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, fiction, audiobooks
Al Birnbaum is a fading political talk host, watching his career death-spiral and dreaming of the great days. Then he meets a stranger who offers him the key to returning to the top of the ratings and more influence than he had even at his previous highest success.

The problem here, which Al doesn't sufficiently appreciate, is that he has no idea who the stranger works for, or what his ultimate goal is.

Episode Four of The Human Division is set on Earth, where conspiracy theories are thriving, the
Evgeni Kirilov
Aug 25, 2014 Evgeni Kirilov rated it liked it
Not a bad story, but the characters weren't interesting to me. I think it advanced the plot of The Human Division well enough, but it was barely decent on its own.
Andrew Yi
Feb 07, 2013 Andrew Yi rated it it was amazing
A Voice in the Wilderness is a showcase of the mastery of John Scalzi's Old Man's War universe. At first, OMW's books seem so disperate and different from each other, yet all books feel as if they are drawing from the same breath. The broad view of the OMW Universe gives us some glimpses here and there on what normal civilian life, but tends to focus more on the Colonial Union's militarized divisions. With The Human Division, we are now getting a distinct glimpse at some of the many granular liv ...more
Mayank Agarwal
Jan 25, 2015 Mayank Agarwal rated it liked it
Well written fast paced story in the Old Man's Universe. Best part it's based earth side and we get the first glimpses on whats going on there. Fits in well with how it progress overall plot line of the book, but by itself it's meaningless.
Shawn Camp
Feb 06, 2013 Shawn Camp rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, read-2013
The fourth installment brings us to Albert Birnbaum, a radio talk show host spiraling downward in his career. He's offered a chance to resurect that and more but at what cost?

This brings the recent stories to light by showing the antagonist's role in things and how they can manipulate those to their needs. I really enjoyed this one despite it being another quick read (35 minutes).

I have yet to read anything in the Old Man's War despite these short chapters within the Human Division. I'm gettin
Shannon Appelcline
May 02, 2015 Shannon Appelcline rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
An interesting and well-needed look at what's going on on Earth. One of the things that I've been enjoying about these short stories is that Scalzi is regularly leaving questions open, which happens again here.
A talk-radio show host.

I loved it so much I immediately pre-ordered the remaining nine episodes. And yes, I want them now. I'm really looking forward to seeing how all these threads and characters come together.

I bought it.
Mar 09, 2013 Kevin rated it liked it
I just feel this was a little too preachy about the current state of our political media. Are there any intelligent people out there who don't realize that ALL political talking heads are just doing it for the money? There's a reason we don't have a news channel called Just the Facts News of JFN. The facts aren't sexy, presenting both sides of an argument fairly and accurately doesn't sell. Hence your O'Reillys and Maddows. I'm sorry but if you listen to these wonks and actually believe that the ...more
Joe Martin
Feb 05, 2013 Joe Martin rated it liked it
I've been looking forward to this for a couple of days, so I was pretty excited when it showed up on my Kindle this morning. I can report that it's a good entry in the overall story arc but not a great one.

It's biggest flaw is that the main character is a radio talk show host (or a slight parody of one, depending on what you think of talk show hosts) and the political situation in the story strongly resembles our own current political situation. That was both too cute and too unrealistic to make
Feb 15, 2015 Patrick rated it liked it
Yet another solid installment. I like that each new piece comes from a different perspective. It keeps things interesting.
Jun 05, 2014 Drew rated it it was ok
Shelves: space-sci-fi
Overall these aren't the best on their own but put together they make a great story
Feb 21, 2013 Marcelo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Light- to mid-core sic-fi fans.
Recommended to Marcelo by:
In a strange turn of events, John Scalzi takes us to Earth and a radio show that, at first, has nothing to do with the story. Then again, the book is called The Human Division, taking place in the aftermath of certain events of previous Old Man's War story lines (which I won't spoil).

This chapter leaves us with some very interesting questions: who's manipulating Earth's population's opinion of the CDF and the present state of human affairs in the galaxy? To what end? Yet another cliffhanger in a
Feb 06, 2013 heidi rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, scifi, reviewed
The problem with Faustian bargains for power and fame is that it doesn't work out so well for Faust. Or in this case, a talk show host named Birnbaum.

The action in this episode takes place entirely on Earth, and as readers we are left with many more questions than answers. I feel ok about that in this medium -- it's like the lovely damsel is tied to the railroad track, and MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH...

So this episode is rabble-rousing political-social assassination, tantilizing hints, and no a
It's really hard to properly rate or comment on an episode like this, a generally stand-alone story involving a previously unseen, one off character. (and not an especially likable character, for that.) Only tangentially related to the primary plot of the Human Brigade series. It is, however, the first story I can recall in the Old Man's War series that actually takes place on Earth (which isn't a heck of a lot different than current Earth, come to think of it.)
Feb 18, 2013 Neil rated it it was ok
felt like the hokey part of ender's game where a few "ideas" seeded to a talk show or chat room starts unraveling society. as if every possible stance on everything isn't already being constantly spewed in any technologically-connected society.

update: just noticed that scalzi has now attained every possible rating from me (5 for god engines, 4 for old man's war and last colony, 3 for ghost brigades, 2 for this one, and 1 for zoe's tale). congrads!?
Feb 08, 2013 Nilchance rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2013 Dan rated it liked it
This installment of the serialized novel, The Human Condition, takes us to Earth to discover what's been happening there while the events of the previous parts are occurring. This chapter is yet another example of John Scalzi's virtuoso handling of character and dialogue; although I have to admit that the outcome was a bit predictable. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this part and eagerly await the release of the new episode next week.
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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)
  • The B-Team (The Human Division, #1)
  • Walk the Plank (The Human Division, #2)
  • We Only Need the Heads (The Human Division, #3)
  • 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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