The Human Division Episode #4: A Voice in the Wilderness by John Scalzi – @*%&!

the human division a voice in the wilderness

Are you people reading this? ARE YOU? Are you experiencing the same, “Damn you, Scalzi!”? Or have you given up on reading it weekly, instead opting to wait until the full release of The Human Division in May because the cliff-hangers are KILLING YOU?

Again, because I hate spoilers, that is pretty much all I can say about the The Human Division Episode #4 – A Voice in the Wilderness. I may be on the verge of telling Scalzi that I hate him, when, really, I do not. The reality is I could very well be experiencing a little bit of envy, and developing a bit of a mancrush on his brain. I wish I had his brilliant talent — a talent to leave people feeling completely satisfied, while yearning for more. GIVE ME ALL THE WORDS, YOU BRILLIANT BASTARD!

Let’s backtrack a wee bit here for those of you who are new to this game that John Scalzi is playing with his readers.

Published by Tor, The Human Division is being released as 13 episodes. The hardcover version, which will include all 13 episodes, will be published on May 14, 2013. Today was the release of The Human Division Episode #4 – A Voice in the Wilderness.

Each episode is self-contained. You do not need to have read any of the previous Old Man’s War books. The Human Division‘s initial release is like a short-run television season/series, but in print form. For this reader, it is very much filling my need for good, intelligent weekly science-fiction that I think is currently missing in television.

The official synopsis for Episode #4 – A Voice in the Wilderness reads:

Albert Birnbaum was once one of the biggest political talk show hosts around, but these days he’s watching his career enter a death spiral. A stranger offers a solution to his woes, promising to put him back on top. It’s everything Birnbaum wants, but is there a catch? And does Birnbaum actually care if there is?

Things happen in this episode. There is a good amount of excellent political, social and economic commentary in this week’s release. As I was reading, I found myself smiling and nodding at the “flip” perspective presented in Episode #4 – A Voice in the Wilderness. I was LOVING IT!

Unlike other science-fiction television series that have tried similar, even if slightly different, things <cough>DS9, new BSG</cough>, it didn’t leave me yelling, “YOU ARROGANT SOBs! WHO ARE YOU TO SAY YOU ARE THE “GOOD GUYS!” I HOPE THE DOMINION/CYLONS MOP THE FLOOR WITH YOUR ASSES!” I tend to get very passionate when certain social, political, and economic subjects are presented within a story… just in case you hadn’t noticed. When Scalzi writes about these similar, even if slightly different, topics, I don’t feel like I’m being told, or forced, or manipulated into choosing a “good guy” and a “bad guy.” He presents what he is presenting in a very matter-of-fact fashion, and moves forward.

Then, it happened. That moment when the intrigue and suspense explodes into, “HOLY SHIT!” and my brain began the mental equivalent of typing #($&& *@(*Q@%( *&%)(@(*#$ SCALZI @(&$*# &$#.

I’m about to use a sex analogy. If that offends you, skip the next paragraph.

I’m really hoping that either Episode #5 or Episode #6, is more like great sex where you don’t orgasm, but you’re still satisfied — sort of how Episode #2 – Walk the Plank left me feeling. With Episodes #1, #3 and #4, I’m reaching climax but I’m not getting the after-play necessary to completely come down from the experience. It’s been a great ride, but just like on a roller coaster, you need a bit of a lull if you’re not going to spew your lunch all over the compartment.

I know I said it last week, but I’m going to say it again. I really do not know if I can hold off, and not cheat by reading the rest of the book, now. There is a part of me that really hopes Scalzi drops the ball, and soon, so that I do not spend my entire week overly anticipating the next episode.

Also, screw an Old Man’s War movie*, I want The Human Division to be made into a television series. Maybe the rest of the books in this series will be opted in a television series, because we sure as hell need intelligent science-fiction in our homes. We are long overdue for a television show that both entertains and feeds the brain with thought-provoking situations and commentary.

You can read my review of Episode #1 – The B-Team here, my review of Episode #2 – Walk the Plank here, and my review of Episode #3 – We Only Need the Heads here.

You can purchase The Human Division Episode #4 – A Voice in the Wilderness DRM-Free on, Kobo Books, and Barnes & Noble.

If after reading these first four episodes you do not like what you’ve read, you can walk away from it and have only spent $3.96, instead of the full cover price.

*I don’t actually mean that. Old Man’s War movie is 1) Awesome; 2) The perfect jumping point to get more Scalzi on our televisions.

A copy of this book was provided for the purposes of this review.

Kobo Canada

Jules Sherred is the parent of two teenage boys, freelance writer, web designer, author of Five Little Zombies and Fred, General Manager and radio personality at The Look 24/7, owner of the largest Star Trek community on Google+, Geeky Pleasures creator, geek support for Parsec Award winning The Minister of Chance, and more. On the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show, Jules has interviewed Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Coulton, Phil Plait, Sylvester McCoy, Richard Hatch, Paul and Storm, R.A. Salvatore, John Kovalic, and so many more. Jules' writing can also be found on Hugo Award winning SF Signal, GeekMom, United Federation of, Nerdy With Children, Star Wars vs Star Trek. Slowly, Jules is working on another book titled Nerd Love. You can follow Jules on Twitter @GeekyJules. Also, JULES LOVES STAR TREK.

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