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The Observers

(The Human Division #9)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,393 ratings  ·  62 reviews
In an effort to improve relations with the Earth, the Colonial Union has invited a contingent of diplomats from that planet to observe Ambassador Abumwe negotiate a trade deal with an alien species. Then something very bad happens to one of the Earthings, and with that, the relationship between humanitys two factions is on the cusp of disruption once more. Its a race to fi ...more
ebook, 48 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Tor Books
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  2,393 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another good installment in the serial that centers around a delegation of Earthlings on the New Clark. At this point in the story (there are only 5 installments remaining), I refuse to spoil it by saying much of anything, so trust that it continues to engage, the characters are still great & I'm looking forward to the next. ...more
Kaethe Douglas
I've started really looking forward to these Tuesday episodes. Shouldn't have left the house this morning without downloading this one.

You know what this one is like? Asimov short space mysteries. Not exactly, but the idea of a puzzle for which the solution lies in the specific setting. And the mildly humorous tone. Loved it, again.

I bought a copy.
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the ninth of thirteen episodes in The Human Division, a serial novel by John Scalzi. So far, all of the stories have been written as stand-alones, with the hint of an overarching conflict tying them all together. Whether they'll be connected by anything more than a loose thread may have to wait until episode 13.

In this installment, Abumwe and Wilson are assigned to a low-priority mission of trading medical technology for ships. The added challenge comes in with an ambassadorial detail fr
Erin (PT)
Still enjoying the chapters and overall story very much but I'm starting to wonder when we'll get some answers to the proliferating questions. Only four more chapters to go, none of the chapters are very long, and it still feels like we're lost in the weeds with no clear direction.

I do still trust Scalzi to bring it all together, but now I'm questioning when, at least.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
So what do we have with this episode? It's the 9th one (of 13 total) - we have Ambassador Abumwe & Harry Wilson again as the main characters - we have a murder and a mystery AND we are tying everything back to the main story arc...Nice!

Scalzi really latched onto the episodic format and ran with it. I'll save my final review for when the story ends but I'm really loving this so far.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked this episode a lot: it finally felt like something I could hold onto and start making guesses about. And it was pretty darn funny at times, too. Good connections to other stuff in the Old Man's War universe, too. ...more
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cool. Well-told, self-contained story, but contributes to the greater arc.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the series more as I went through each episode. At first I struggled because it seemed like random stories set in this universe. But as it continued and I realized it was interwoven story lines I enjoyed them more. The main characters were enjoyable. It's pretty traditional sci fi fare but still worth the read. ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Aha! I think things are starting to come together!
Darren Douglas
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loving it, plays off like a mystery and keeps you involved. Splendid Sci-Fi! :-)
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
The dialogue in Scalzi’s books is always so satisfying to read
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good medical type thriller
Jay Collins
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars
Jul 01, 2013 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
Peter Anargirou
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: google-books, owned
In Scalzi's ninth episode of The Human Division, The Observers, some Earthling observers come aboard a Colonial Union ship and watch Abumwe handle negotiations with an alien race. Unfortunately, one of the Earthlings dies and it appears to be a murder. If they can't figure out what happened, it could be bad for the Colonial Union.

We're nearing the end of The Human Division with only four more episodes, and we still don't know who's causing all the trouble. However, there's definitely an overarch
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Everyone loves a good locked-spaceship mystery, right? I certainly do.

The trail of mysterious sabotage continues to dog (hah) Ambassador Abumwe and Lt. Wilson, and only a nasty suspicious pair of minds and a series of fortunate coincidences enables them to figure out part of what is up.

There is still hilarious dialog:
“The romance of the diplomatic life, Lieutenant Wilson,” Abumwe said.

“We are living the dream, ma’am,” Wilson said. Abumwe stared at Wilson for a moment, as if she were slightly di
Lis Carey
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, fiction, audiobooks
Another entry in the unfolding episodic novel, The Human Division, now out in its complete form. In this, the ninth episode, the Colonial Union, in an ongoing attempt to mend relations with Earth, has invited a contingent of Earth diplomats to observe Ambassador Abumwe's negotiations with the Burfinor, trading ships for medical technology.

Unfortunately, negotiations are barely begun when one of the Earth diplomats turns up dead--and an autopsy shows that it's not due to natural causes.

Wilson and
Lieutenant Harry Wilson, Ambassador Ode Abumwe, and Hart Schmidt are back in the action! Mirroring the first chapter, The B-Team, and also the fifth chapter, Tales From the Clarke, our unsung heroes must stop a conspiracy that threatens to drive an even large wedge between the Colonial Union and Earth. Again, they'll need all their abilities (and, why not, charm) to solve this mystery in time — or, at least minimize the fallout.

John Scaly puts us, the readers, back on track of the most important
Nov 07, 2013 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
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed it. I really like Wilson, I seem to enjoy stories with him in it. I like his dialogue and how he can be funny/serious. In this "episode" I liked how he and Lowen got into discussions on CDF and consciousness transfer. Also seems like it is finally tying in to previous stories, re: sabotage (don't know the "episode" off the top of my head, but the one with the radio dude), which is nice, I hope he continues to do so with the remaining "episodes." My only grip is there seems to be a bad ha ...more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Latest chapter in Scalzi's serialized "The human Division" and something is rotten in the state of Denmark. I am curious who is behind trying to keep Earth and the Colonial Union apart, sadly we get no closer to finding out in this installment. I enjoy chapters where Wilson is front and center. But my concern grows that we'll have a coherent story by the end.

People may see my chapter rankings and ask, "Why do you give each chapter such high marks then?" Long answer- Because until I finish the e
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lt. Wilson is asked by Ambassador Abumwe to be the liaison for the Earth party of observers on the Clarke's latest mission: to negotiate a deal with the Burfinor for biomedical scanners, superior to the Colonial Union's, for five outdated starships. Abumwe remembers the fake Earth party from an earlier mission. Wilson is from the United States as is one of the observers from Earth.

It doesn't take long as one the earth party, the leader, is found dead and an autopsy reveals that it looks as if th
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'd taken a break between the 8th installment and this installment (the 9th). Even though the book is already released I'm continuing on with the installments on audio.

I remember why I enjoyed this one within minutes of listening. It's a fun series. I especially loved this installment because it involved Harry Wilson (my favorite) and Ambassador Abumwe (my second favorite) and had a mystery about it. Mysteries are my favorite genre, so it was a fun listen.

This one involved the Colonial Union an
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The ninth installment of The Human Division continues the story line with an observer group from Earth monitoring negotiations between the Colonial Union and an alien race. Unfortunately leader of the observer group is murdered and the search for his killer ensues. I have come to really enjoy John Scalzi's style of writing. I like his sense of humor and the sarcastic side to many of his character. My only minor complaint about The Human Division is that is seems to be more of a series of interco ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Murder mystery in space... where no one can hear you scream (insert ghoulish laughter). I despise spoilers, so I'm not going to comment much on the plot of the episode except to say that it worked well and kept me guessing. This was a very enjoyable installment, particularly for the banter between Harry Wilson and Dani Lowen. ...more
I thought this, the ninth installment of "The Human Division" was the strongest since the first piece. It has an interesting, almost self-contained story whose relationship to the overall story arc is clear, it involves the previously established characters aboard the spaceship Clarke, and it's written with Scalzi's usual wit and rapid pacing. ...more
Ryan Lawler
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this episode. Dialogue is an obvious strength of Scalzi's writing and we get plenty of witty banter here. Things are starting to come to a head now, pieces are moving into position, the threat is being revealed. This big threat has been many years in the making, and the connections to Perry are becoming harder to refute. ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r-sci-fi
I postponed reading this series because of Martin's Game of Thrones and I don't regret it. I'm begining to be bored and tired by this short stories. I now realize I should have go for the one book thing not to read it as soap opera. I would not be suprised this stories will get in TV series one day. Well, much better than meat eating plants but not 5 star thing for me. ...more
The humans are back, with more baseball knowledge this time, and there's some boring trade negotiation and two sides getting to know each other until a bit of disaster strikes and our poor B-Team has figure out whodunnit or else find themselves the scapegoat in a seemingly inevitable war.
Kat  Hooper
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nice collection of stories set in the OLD MAN’S WAR universe. It continues the plot, so you don’t want to miss it. I listened to the audio version which was very good. You can each episode separately or all together.
We've got a review of the full series here:
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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

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 Back Channel (The Human Division, #6)
  • The Dog King (The Human Division, #7)
  • The Sound of Rebellion (The Human Division, #8)
  • This Must Be the Place (The Human Division, #10)
  • A Problem of Proportion (The Human Division, #11)

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