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The Human Division

(Old Man's War #5)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  25,654 ratings  ·  1,490 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 January 1st 2013)
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Larry Tuxbury You don't need read read the rest of the series first (although I think especially "Old Man's War" should be read first to introduce you to Scalzi's w…moreYou don't need read read the rest of the series first (although I think especially "Old Man's War" should be read first to introduce you to Scalzi's world), but this book does, in passing, give away some key plot points from "The Last Colony." But as long as you don't mind that, you could read this without having read the others.(less)
Brad No, different authors. Ender's Game was written by Orson Scott Card. Both Science Fiction, but different worlds.

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Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I admit I stopped reading the series for years after I realized that this installment was a serialized novel. I just stopped. I wanted full novels and I got pissy.

Well, fortunately, I got over it. Mostly because I have friends in buddy reads who made me feel guilty as hell. But even more, I have a lot of fond memories for the series as a whole and I think I may have been plain WRONG.

Yeah. So. Eating crow now.

These are a bunch of great short stories here that don't feel all the connected at first
mark monday
I'm behind on my reviews because I've been so damn busy busy busy. this book is also busy busy busy with its multiple perspectives looking at conflict and duty and political maneuvering and secret enemies from different sides, different angles, different stories. I thought this stay-at-home self-quarantining would mean I'd get to relax and focus on the things I love like books and movies but ha ha ha. the Earth finds itself suddenly un-quarantined now that the Colonial Union has been exposed and ...more
Mayim de Vries
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
“This is now. We’ve lost Earth. Now we have to learn to deal with it.”

After the atrocious Zoe’s Tale, I have fully expected to hate the Human Division. It turned out to be OK, just a kind of a cash grab. It still disgusts me, but I am an honest enough reader to admit that Mr Scalzi is a skilled writer and can get away with it.

Why a cash grab? Two primary reasons: Firstly, the fact that Human Division is branded as the fifth instalment in the Old Man’s War series is misleading. This is not a con
What a useless, puerile, asinine sequel. Ditching the series because it became completely unengaging, formulaic and not funny. I am tired. I don't think I will read any Scalzi in the next few years. I will just think of every character in OMW and Lock In series to live snarkily ever after. The end.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
After an interesting beginning, this story drifts like a ship without much power in space. Once Scalzi starts writing about dogs, whiny mothers and takeovers the novel wanes and interest is lost. 3 of 10 stars
Mar 16, 2013 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
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2017, stars-4-0
When I heard that this volume consisted of short stories, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, especially after the strong narrations of the previous books. I expected vignettes set in the same universe but otherwise quite separate. What Scalzi offers is episodic but tightly connected - to the point that I forgot its nature, although if I had had to wait for each instalment, that wouldn't have been so much the case...

The cast is wide but features recurring characters, especially the B-team,
Lindsey Rey
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, science-fiction
My favorite in the series so far! Loved all of the diplomacy and the B-team!
Tom Negrino
Mar 07, 2013 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 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.
Apr 10, 2013 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
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
Fred Hughes
Feb 17, 2013 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
Written review from:

Video review:

The Human Division by John Scalzi is Scalzi’s writing at its very best. Scalzi’s ability to take over a dozen different stories, with a different tone in each, and weave them together, to form one unifying overarching storyline, that has this many complexities, is simply fantastic.

5/5 21/25 possible score

Type of Story: Sci-Fi space opera with multiple short story like segments.

Plot – 4(Strong)

Lesa Divine
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 🌟
There's a conspiracy going on. Who's shooting down spaceships. Kidnapping humans and aliens? Who's behind it all.

It's a set up to make CDF look bad. Earth isn't too happy with CDF.

It's Harry we the readers follow through this book he's a nerd with a BrainPal.

Interesting, intriguing.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jan 20, 2013 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
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 becau
Matthew Hester
Jan 09, 2013 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
Apr 23, 2013 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 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
OK, let's keep score:
Old Man's War: John Perry (smart-arse)
The Ghost Brigades: John Perry's girl friend (mostly non-descript, mildly bad-ass)
The Last Colony: John Perry and now wife (smart arse and stereotypical loving Mum, (still mildly bad-ass))
Zoe's Tale: Zoe Perry (smart-arse)
The Human Division: Wilson (smart-arse, seems to have had a personality transplant from John Perry)
Fuzzy Nation: A smart-arse lawyer
Lock-in: Disabled (but is he really? That's the point) son of an over-privileged busine
May 16, 2013 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 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
Mark Hebwood
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I am unsure why I did not like this more. The novel bears all the hallmarks of a good Scalzi yarn - the dialogue is lighthearted, the characters keep bantering in a way that somehow manages not to make you cringe, the plot does not take itself too seriously. The different chapters are presented from different narrative perspectives and bind together in interesting and sometimes surprising ways. All good but for me the book was too long for this to be enough. In a novel stretching to 500 pages, I ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Scalzi's gone soft and light, cute and a "Redshirts" and "Zoe's Tale" sorta way. Where'd the grit and grime, the blood and guts of "Old Man's War" and "Ghost Brigades" go? It was popcorn fun...but left me hungry for true grit. Is it even worth reading pt.6? I'd rather read some more Richard K. Morgan or Dan Abnett.
Stephen Richter
A collection of stories originally released online, this was fun. Separated by episodes but slung together by a long arc story of a mysterious opponent. The narrator William Dufris took a while to get use to and the overuse of the word "said" can be irritating or like me, you lived with it. Still, overall, just liquid out the nose funny.
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 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 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
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, kindle
Interesting science fiction with a sense of humor. My only complaint is that even with a translating computer, an alien's sense of humor should be more...alien. As much as I enjoyed the the wise-cracking sitcomesque banter, it felt like Americans dressed up as aliens.

In a huge galaxy maybe some races like bad puns and dad jokes. Maybe some have no sense of humor. Maybe some think they have a sense of humor but really don't. Maybe some have some mystifying criteria for what is funny that leaves
May 26, 2014 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.
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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.)

Other books in the series

Old Man's War (6 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)

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