And so we begin. “The B-Team,” the double-length debut episode of The Human Division, my latest novel and the newest book to take place in the Old Man’s War universe, is out today in DRM-free electronic book form, in as many eBook retailers across the world as we could get it into. It will be followed every Tuesday, through April 9, by another episode; there will be thirteen in all. Each of these episodes will tell its own story and adventure and can be enjoyed for itself, but if you read the entire sequence of episodes you’ll see themes and idea arcing through the entire run. It’s an episodic novel.
I’ve answered questions about the novel and its format, but to briefly recap: No, you don’t have to read all the other Old Man’s War novels to start on this one, since I put in context where necessary, but if you have you’ll get more right off the bat. Yes, each of the episodes works as its own tale, although again, the more of the episodes you read, the more you’ll see a larger structure. The length of each episode ranges (from 6,000 words to 22,000), but we’re selling each for the same price (99 cents here in the US). Yes, for those of you who prefer to read in one sitting and/or prefer print books, The Human Division will have a compiled, single release in eBook and hardcover: May 14. And yes, there is an audiobook version out. More on that in another post.
For those of you wondering what happens in “The B-Team” itself, here’s the episode description:
Colonial Union Ambassador Ode Abumwe and her team are used to life on the lower end of the diplomatic ladder. But when a high-profile diplomat goes missing, Abumwe and her team are last minute replacements on a mission critical to the Colonial Union’s future. As the team works to pull off their task, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson discovers there’s more to the story of the missing diplomats than anyone expected…a secret that could spell war for humanity.
A couple of early blogger reviews of The B-Team are available here and here. Tor.com is doing a read-along for each episode that you can post your comments and questions to; here’s the one for “The B-Team.”
Also, look, here’s what New York Times Best Seller and dashingly-bearded human Warren Ellis said about “The B-Team” just last night:
@scalzi Holy fuck, that's an opening. Nice work.—
Warren Ellis (@warrenellis) January 15, 2013
So there you go.
I am really excited about the launch of “The B-Team” and about presenting The Human Division to you in this episodic way. Doing a novel like this was something that I had been thinking about for a while now, and one of the genuinely excellent things about this process is that Tor and Macmillan not only liked the idea but have been full partners with me in making this idea work — I’ve had really astounding support from everyone there for it. It’s good when your publisher not only lets you take a risk but steps out on the ledge with you. I’m grateful for that.
And now “The B-Team” is out to you. Get ready to go exploring again in the Old Man’s War universe. I hope you like it. And I hope you’ll tune in next week for Episode Two: “Walk the Plank.” This is going to be fun.