Warning: This review will have language.
Also, this review will be brief to avoid spoilers.
For those of you unfamiliar with John Scalzi’s latest novel, 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. It is the latest book in Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series.
The official synopsis for Episode #11 – A Problem of Proportion reads:
A secret backdoor meeting between Ambassador Ode Abumwe and the Conclave’s Hafte Sorvalh turns out to be less than secret as both of their ships are attacked. It’s a surprise to both teams—but it’s the identity of the attacker that is the real surprise, and suggests a threat to both humanity and The Conclave.
About the whole crying thing. Some may consider that in and of itself a spoiler. I’m not sure that it is. The reason being, I don’t cry over things that cause most people to cry. I’m often baffled by people’s emotional reactions to situations — one example off of the top of my head is a certain death in the sixth Harry Potter book.
The reverse is also true. Things that cause me to cry often baffle other people.
As with everything, there are a few exceptions to this. I am extremely curious to know who else, if anyone, cried as a result of Episode #11 – A Problem of Proportion.
It is extremely rare that something causes me to emote genuine emotions, especially to the point of tears. It is even more rare as the result of reading a book. I can think of only three other times that a book has caused me to cry.
Two of those cases, it took many books in a series to get me to a place where I genuinely cared for the characters. In the other situation, just like in Episode #11 – A Problem of Proportion, it was also completely unexpected, leaving me feeling extremely surprised about my emotional reaction.
There is some great action in this episode. I love good action. There are nice doses of humour in this episode. I love humour. There is excellent dialogue. More bonus points. We see the return of Hafte Sorvalh, who is delicious. The situation is some pretty fucked up shit! — There’s the language. There is no clean way of expressing my thoughts on that part. — Some of my favourite books, movies, and television series involve some pretty fucked up situations.
But, the very unexpected reaction of feeling a genuine sense of tristesse — the English equivalent of that word doesn’t quite have the same meaning and I can’t think of a proper English equivalent — that caused tears, makes Episode #11 – A Problem of Proportion my favourite episode.
As much as I love humour mixed with CRASH BANG BOOM MURDER INTRIGUE EXPLOSION, whenever something makes me cry that means magic just happened. I am always very thankful for the tears, as that type of emoting doesn’t come easily or naturally to me.
Immediately after I finished reading it last night, I had to read it again. It was difficult to not read it for a third time.
Thanks for the magic, John. I am very grateful that you were able to cause me to genuinely emote, and not feel as if I was being manipulated into doing so.
Only two more episodes remaining, and still so many unanswered questions. While I will have a bit of an empty feeling when this ride is over, I cannot wait to see how everything is resolved.
You can read my review of Episode #1 – The B-Team here, my review of Episode #2 – Walk the Plank here, my review of Episode #3 – We Only Need the Heads here, my review of Episode #4 – A Voice in the Wilderness here, my review of Episode #5 – Tales from the Clarke here, my review of Episode #6 – The Back Channel here, my review of Episode #7 – The Dog King here, my review of Episode #8 – The Sound of Rebellion here, my review of Episode #9 – The Observers here, and my review of Episode #10 – This Must Be the Place here.
A copy of this book was provided for the purposes of this review.