Tuesday was the release of The Human Division Episode #12 – The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads by John Scalzi. Egads. I enjoyed it. However, by the time I was done reading it, I had many concerns that all of my questions would not be answered by the end of this journey.
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 of Episode #12 – The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads reads:
United States Diplomat Danielle Lowen was there when one of her fellow diplomats committed an unthinkable act, which had consequences for the entire planet. Now she’s trying to figure out how it happened before it can happen again. Putting the puzzle pieces together could solve the mystery—or it could threaten her own life.
I enjoyed meeting Dani in Episode #9 – The Observers. It was very nice to see her have more page time.
This episodes is filled with bureaucracy, a cover-up, explosions, deaths, humour, and a very nice nod to Star Trek in the way of a Leonard “Bones” McCoy nod. I appreciated the Star Trek nod, especially as there have been a number of things within The Human Division that remind me of the one thing of which I consider myself a fan.
I enjoyed Episode #12 – The Gentle Art of Crack Heads quite a bit. If Scalzi had not mentioned on his blog that this episode is a mere 6,000 words, I would have no idea that it is the shortest episode in the series. This episode is so jammed packed with action and intrigue that it didn’t feel breezy in the empty sense, but rather it was breezy in the way that well-written prose will sweep you through a wild ride.
I think now would be a good time to state that Scalzi is the first author who has produced books that I consistently enjoy. I’ve only read just over a handful of his novels. I’ve never had a favourite author, because I’ll go to read the second or third novel from them, and never finish it because they have failed to capture my attention for a second or third time, for whatever reason. Despite always being trepidatious at the beginning of a Scalzi novel, after reading eight of his novels and enjoying all of them, I think I may now be able to truly trust him as an author.
Despite enjoying it quite a bit, when I was finished I came to the realization that there is no way this story will be resolved with only one episode remaining.
While the overall events of Episode #12 – The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads add further depth to the overall plot to cause conflict between Earth and the Colonial Union, and the Colonial Union and the Conclave, it also adds many more questions.
Unless Scalzi pulls out the old “magic box” — which I cannot imagine he would ever do in a story like this — there is simply no way he can wrap it all up in the final episode. Well, he could, but I can only think that if he does manage this, I’d find it sloppy and not enjoy it.
Will I be right, or will Scalzi manage to neatly tie up all these loose threads without having to employ the “magic box?”
Tune in next week for the answer to that question.
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, my review of Episode #10 – This Must Be the Place here, and my review of Episode #11 – A Problem of Proportion here.
A copy of this book was provided for the purposes of this review.