Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Back Channel (The Human Division, #6)” as Want to Read:
The Back Channel (The Human Division, #6)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Back Channel (The Human Division #6)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,537 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The Conclave is a confederation of 400 alien races - many of whom would like to see the Colonial Union - and the humans inside of it - blasted to extinction. To avoid a conflict that neither side can afford, Conclave leader General Tarsem Gau appoints Hafte Sorvalh to resolve an emerging diplomatic crisis with the humans, before the only acceptable solution is war.

"The Bac
Audiobook, Audible, Unabridged
Published February 19th 2013 by Audible Frontiers
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Back Channel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Back Channel

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,228)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Vintage Scalzi. It's not a bluff if you mean it. Of course, as often as that sort of challenge works, it doesn't because you have to be dealing with a rational person. Many of us aren't.

A good read.
Almost half way through Scalzi's 13 episode tale. It feels like a t.v. show where each episode has a different POV, a different style, a different purpose. Very cool.
This one takes us to the POV of the Conclave and it's nice to remember that both the good guys in a book and the bad guys both believe they are right if you look at things from their point of view.

Bring on the next one - this is good stuff.

Another solid, but short, addition to the ongoing series. The tension continues to mount between Earth, the Colonial Union, and the Conclave. This episode introduces us to some of the main alien characters in the Coalition and follows from their perspective. It's hard to pull off a complete episodic story in just 45 minutes to an hour, but Scalzi has been doing a decent job so far for the most part.

I still think this guy should take over writing the Star Wars books. He's got the right amount of
Annabeth Leong
This is the first installment I really liked that did not include the main cast. It was a complete story in itself, with interesting (and sympathetic) characters, some of which I remembered from previous books in the OMW universe. The tie to the main plot felt stronger than with the other episodes that went afield, and I enjoyed seeing Rigney appear (he's been a minor character in several main plot episodes). This encourages me -- I had been starting to think I'd be disappointed every other week ...more
This installment really made me think about the fine line between war and diplomacy. It is mostly from the point of view of The Conclave, the alien consortium. Of course, no political association is all one thing or another, so it's a lot of alien-politics-maneuvering. I thought that was great.

I also really had fun with the writing.
"“Well,” Sorvalh said, impressed. “Aren’t you fierce.”
“F you, xig,” the colonist said.
“A bit repetitive, however,” Sorvalh said.

And then she goes on to intimidate t
What is a churro, anyway? Must google.

Anyway, this is a fun addition to the series. It still feels way too bitty: I'm not sure it'll work at all as a novel, but it is quite fun as a serial, like this. I liked this 'episode', too, with its focus on alien races. They all feel quite close to human to me, but it's still pretty good.
Suzanne Earley
I am still enjoying this story, although I think I'm going to wish I had just waited and got them all together. If nothing else, it means all this short fiction is pumping up my book count for the year!
My only complaint is that I wish each of these short stories had more to them!
I love the way Scalzi writes his non-human characters.
This is the sixth of thirteen installments in The Human Division, a serial novel by John Scalzi. New installments are released on Tuesdays, though the entire book will be released, as well. As much as it might frustrate a reader to jump around between installments all at once, we're almost at the halfway point, which may be too much for some to catch up on.

This episode introduces members of the Conclave, a group of alien races allied for common benefit. Apparently they've encountered humans befo
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
Shannon Appelcline
This story doesn't really have enough tension to carry a narrative; there's not enough at stake (or at least, not enough that feels important to us). Despite that it remains interesting, largely because of its focus on General Gao, one of the more interesting characters in the universe. It also does a good job of bringing in all the past stories, and showing how they combine into a more coherent mosaic.
Lis Carey
The Colonial Union doesn't want another war with the Conclave, an alliance of four hundred alien species--a war that might wipe out humans in the galaxy. General Gau, leader of the Conclave, also wants to avoid a war, having noticed that the Conclave did not actually win the last one.

But there's a growing faction in the Conclave that does want war, and wildcat human colonies that just happen to include a few Colonial Defense Forces soldiers, risk giving them the excuse they need. Determined to a
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
Episode six of John Scalzi's new novel finds us with the Conclave, that federation of four hundred alien races that have been at war with the Colonial Union. General Gau, one of the architects of the Conclave, is discussing the existence of ten wildcat human colonies on worlds claimed by the Conclave. From earlier episodes, we know they aren't really wildcats.

Some in the Conclave are looking for any excuse to re-launch the war with Humans. Gau knows that, despite overwhelming numbers, it could b
Mayank Agarwal
Best story yet in the book Human Division(based on Old Man's War). This time around the action is based all over from Conclave, to Earth to a Wildcat colony. We have Diplomacy, Intrigue and some cool face-off.
Peter Anargirou
With the sixth episode of the Human Division, Scalzi finally gave me what I really wanted. He showed me the Conclave.

While the Back Channel shows humans as well, it really showcases alien members of the Conclave and the Conclave itself as a political unit. More than anything in the Old Man's War universe, that's what I wanted to see next, so I was thrilled to find myself before a large political body of the Conclave.

The Back Channel raises some tension in the story while reaffirming that while t
Really having trouble with the weak premise established in episode #3: that a piece of "military"(i.e. informational, NOT a munition) technology, which is conceivable today, simply being present at a civilian settlement in the far future is actually conclusive of military involvement. It's your world, John, but please try to *convince* us it could happen. We read a bunch of shit every year, we don't re-read your novels. *Explain* how the CU keeps their very desirable technology from leaking out ...more
I feel like this is the point where things are picking up. Time to decide if I finish this ore take a break and move to another series...
Evgeni Kirilov
Finally an alien viewpoint! That alone merits 4 stars, but the story was also really solid, so 5 it is. I now want a General Gau book.
This section is mostly talking heads, so it could have been info dumpy and dull, but it isn't. It's funny as hell, particularly the conversation over churros.

I bought it.
Overall these aren't the best on their own but put together they make a great story
Cheri Portman
It is a little odd to contemplate a "review" of something that is only a chapter, maybe, of a larger work. Difficult to discuss it in terms of the larger "scope" of the work.

I liked this episode, which is why it gets four stars. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the episodic novel, though, at least not this one. I like the idea of it... but, ehh... I don't know.

I'm enjoying the more complete entrance of The Conclave. I also like that the CU isn't given the "humans are the good guys" treatment. Ever
Another riveting chapter of John Scalzi's The Human Divison. Part six finds our heroes (well, not exactly heroes) being used as alternative sources of information. The light, humorous writing style of the author mixes very well with the strong serious undertone that builds up from the previous chapter, Tales From the Clarke and is going to continue on throughout the rest of the series. Novel. Whatever.
Can I just say it now? I really like General Gau, and I'm glad he puts in an appearance in this installment of The Human Division. That's not a spoiler by the way; Gau is peripheral to the action in this part, which is really about stakes. I have to add that I've really enjoyed this experiment -- I like having a new episode to read each week... a nice morsel of a story I can enjoy on the bus ride home; thus it's hopefully plain to see that I disagree with the complaints about the length of the i ...more
Amanda Allen
better again. maybe the best ep so far.
I really think the best part of this story series, and eventually this novel, is that we get a chance to see what's going on from all sorts of different points of view. This story is especially interesting because it's from the point of view of the generally accepted bad guy, though of course he's not as bad as people make him out to be.
Christopher Preiman
Finally an episode that feels a bit more like a part of something than a contained story. Well almost anyway. It still felt everything had to be nice and resolved by the last page. My biggest fear for the human division is that even when it is all grouped together it still will not feel like one book. But this installment was fun and did much to reassure me that at the very least, my weekly short stories will remain enjoyable.
The Back Channel is put to very good use by Conclave representative Sorvalh (at the behest of General Gau) to deal with another wildcat colony. No spoilers but her interaction with Rigney was very well done & I look forward to seeing them chat again in future. Also, it was nice to know Sorvalh likes churros & felt badly about the goat. lol Looking forward to the next.
my only complaint? I want more. I'm also hoping at this point we are going to revisit other characters, etc. I feel the "ground has been set" and we are ready to go with what happens next (instead of going back to another diplomacy team or what not). That said, I'm not hating, Scalzi has my trust and I don't doubt he won't come through!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 74 75 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • METAtropolis: Cascadia
  • The Churn (Expanse, #0.25)
  • When We Were Heroes
  • The Bloodline Feud (The Merchant Princes, #1-2)
  • Valkyrie Burning (Hayden War Cycle,#3)
  • The Fourth Wall (Dagmar, #3)
  • Hex (Coyote Universe, #8)
  • Some of the Best from 2012 Edition
  • Lucky Thirteen (Frontlines, #2.1)
  • Starfire: A Vince Lombard Story
  • Impulse (Jumper, #3)
  • Battle Earth III (Battle Earth #3)
  • The Fall: Crimson Worlds IX
  • Shoggoth's Old Peculiar
  • Fire Above, Fire Below
  • Hive Monkey (Ack-Ack Macaque, #2)
  • Invincible (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier, #2)
  • Little Fuzzy (Fuzzy Sapiens, #1)
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)
  • A Voice in the Wilderness (The Human Division, #4)
  • Tales From the Clarke (The Human Division, #5)
  • 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)
Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) Redshirts The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2) The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3) Lock In

Share This Book