Published by Tor, today was the release of The Human Division Episode #2 – Walk the Plank by John Scalzi. The Human Division is being released as 13 episodes, with Episode #1 – The B-Team published last week. The hardcover version, which will include all 13 episodes, will be published on May 14, 2013.
I’m not sure I can write what I would consider to be a proper review of the second episode. Walk the Plank is considerably shorter than B-Team. In fact, Walk the Plank is the shortest episode of Human Division, which is Scalzi’s latest addition to the Old Man’s War series.
Despite the brevity, Walk the Plank is very revealing. This is where I’m not sure I can give a proper review, because I’m afraid that it would require spoilers. But trust me when I say you learn quite a bit in this episode, despite its short length.
What I will say is that the even though Walk the Plank still has the Scalzi tone, the overall mood is a more serious than what you may have read in B-Team. By that, I mean the sarcastic humour, mixed with serious events found in the first episode, are missing from the second episode.
This is not a bad thing. Despite the lack of sarcasm, I still found myself chuckling. But, I think this result is because of the fact that I laugh in “inappropriate” situations.
Aside from the lack of sarcastic humour, the presentation of Walk the Plank is different. Again, in an attempt to try and avoid spoilers, I’ll only say that if you’ve read Redshirts, you will not find it unfamiliar. I’ll add that sometimes I wish entire books were written in this fashion. It eliminates what, at times, can be very repetitive phrasing.
Despite the fact I received advanced copies of the first few episodes, I have decided to read the book as weekly episodes, instead of all at once. The reason for this is because I wanted to experience the book how the rest of the world will be experiencing it. I do have a couple thoughts on the serial format.
First, I’m not exactly sure if it works for me. I’m the type of person that, if I like a book, I’ll read it in one go. If I have to put a book down, I tend to not finish it. The not finishing thing is easy when you are not enjoying the book in the first place. As I stated in my review of B-Team, if a book fails to grab my attention within the first 20 pages, more times than not, I put the book down, never again to pick it up.
Because I am enjoying The Human Division so much, I’m finding it difficult to get back into the book as a result of the week break. When it comes to reading, I’m like those who prefer to binge watch television because they lose interest if they can’t watch an entire season at one go, or they lose interest over the break between seasons.
On the other hand, I do think this serial format is a bonus for people who don’t consume full books in one sitting, or have only small blocks of time in which they can devote to reading. I think it is also a bonus for those who have to carefully block out their entertainment, and those who can read more than one book at the same time. It is also a bonus for those who are just slow readers.
Second, despite the danger of losing interest during the week, the serial format is perhaps one of the smartest things, ever. Why? Because, regardless if you like to read books in one sitting, or you read them over a period of time, you won’t waste your money.
You don’t have to purchase an entire book, only to decide you don’t like it within the first 20 or so pages, never to finish it. Or, perhaps worse, you read the entire hated book anyway, feeling tortured the entire time, because you don’t want to feel as if you wasted your money. With this episodic format, you risk wasting, at a minimum, $0.99. I would guess that you’d waste $3.96, at most, if you were to give the book a few more episodes before deciding to walk away from it.
Also, if you are like me and really prefer to read the entire book in one or two sittings, then you can pay $0.99 for the first episode, decide if you like what you read, then wait for the entire book to be published at the later date.
All around, I think it is a win/win situation.
You can read my review of Episode #1 – The B-Team here.
A copy of this book was provided for the purposes of this review.