People seem to have a number of questions about The Human Division, so here are some answers to them. Because I do that. Some of this I’ve answered before, but it’s nice to have it in one place, close to release date.
Do I need to have read every book in the Old Man’s War series to read The Human Division?
I don’t think so. I made an effort to make sure each episode comes with enough context baked in that you should be able to enjoy that particular episode in itself, regardless of whether you’ve read anything else in the series. That’s part of my general philosophy of “don’t leave your reader stranded.” That said, if you do read the previous books in the series then of course you’ll have a greater depth of context, which will be nice. But you don’t absolutely need to have.
One important point, however: If you haven’t read the previous books, then The Human Division is going to spoil some plot points for them, most notably for The Last Colony. Because, you know, it takes place after those events, and as a direct consequence of them. Be aware of that.
Is every Human Division episode going to be the length of “The B-Team”?
God, no, or I would still be writing them. The episodes range in length from 6,000 words to 22,000 words; the average length is about 10,000 per episode. “The B-Team” is the longest because it’s the premiere episode and has to pull the largest amount of freight in getting people into the universe; the final episode is the next longest. All the episodes, however, are selling for the same single-serving price.
If we buy the individual episodes can we trade them in at the end for a single document?
I suspect the technical difficulty in doing that would be high (not to mention the privacy issues of having us check to make sure you indeed bought all the episodes), so my suspicion is that, no, they’ll remain multiple documents. I could be wrong about that and if I am I will let you know later.
Bear in mind that we’re selling the episodes DRM-free, so if you’re at all adept at these things you could probably create a single document out of the individual episodes you’ve purchased, for your own use. And if you do that, hey, you bought them, you can do what you want with them as far as I’ve concerned.
Why did you distribute the episodes the way you did instead of [insert different method of distribution here]?
That’s something to take up with Tor specifically, but I would suggest that, one, I expect Tor tried to make the process the same over as many retail platforms as it is on; two, there may have been technical and/or other practical considerations for distributing this way and not some specific other way; three, among everything else it is, The Human Division is a test case for how to do this type of distribution model. So we’re doing a lot of flying by the seat of our pants. Which means: by all means tell us your thoughts, but also, be aware we’re figuring this out as we go along.
I can’t get the episodes in [insert country here].
Tor has the world English rights and as far as I can tell has done just about everything it can to make the episodes accessible everywhere on the globe, so if you can’t get the episodes where you are, it may be a retailer issue. Yes, this electronic distribution thing is complicated. Also be aware that episode prices may vary where you are for various reasons, most of which I know nothing about, but probably involve the nations of the world not being a perfect model of economic efficiency.
Yes, there’s audio, from Audible; yes, they will have audio episodes debuting on the same day as the episodes from Tor; and yes, as I understand it, you will be able to pre-order the audio episodes so that they will pop into your listening queue each week. More details on all of that soon. Also, for those curious, the narrator for The Human Division is William Dufris, who narrated three of the four previous OMW books (Zoe’s Tale having been handled by Tavia Gilbert). I believe (but am not 100% sure) that Audible has world English audio rights; check with the local Audible store or affiliated online retail in your country.
The Human Division Part II: The Dividening?
If you’re asking if there is a direct sequel to THD at this point: No, not yet, although I have a pretty good idea of where things are going to go if Tor asks me to write one. What we need to see at this point is what the reaction is to THD, and how people respond to the episodes, to let us know how to proceed to this point.
In other words: It’ll be up to you guys. We’ll be paying attention to your response.