The Human Division, Episode Eleven: A Problem of Proportion is Now Live

Why, hello, Tuesday. May I say you’re looking ravishing today? I may? Excellent. And what is this? You’ve gotten me something? Why, it’s “A Problem of Proportion,” the latest episode in The Human Division! It’s just what I wanted! How did you know? 

And what’s this week’s episode about? Well:

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.

I won’t say too much about this week’s episode because there’s a lot to spoil here and I don’t want to do that — that would be mean — but I will say that I think this particular episode has it all: action, mystery, good dialogue and maybe even a heart tug or two. Plus: Hafte Sorvalh, who is at this time one of my favorite characters in the book. She’s in top form in this particular episode.

As always, there will be a discussion of this particular episode up on Tor.com today, and I will link in when it goes up (update: It’s up!). Additionally, of course, if you read the episode and have something to say about, leave a review on your favorite review-like site: Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, the side of an abandoned building, etc.

Next week: One of the main characters of “The Observers” gets a spotlight of her own — and a conundrum to solve — in “The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads.” Be there!

A Problem of Proportion: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|iBookstore|Google Play|Kobo|Audible (audiobook) (all links US)

30 thoughts on “The Human Division, Episode Eleven: A Problem of Proportion is Now Live

  1. Read it when it arrived early this morning. Did you feel any sharp pains in your back? I stuck another pin in the John Scalzi VOODOO doll again after finishing it because I have to wait another week to read the next installment. When you are 65 sometimes you have to worry about making it through all those weeks.

  2. Yeah, what Ron Grant says. Crimony, now it’s live and I DON’T want to read it, because I’ll finish it in a half hour and sit there, salivating for NEXT week’s installment.

    Heroin pushers ain’t got nothin’ on you, John Scalzi!

  3. I’m about two thirds of the way through it, and enjoying it immensely. I suppose if you had another ten or fifteen episodes lined up and ready to go after these next two, we’d have heard about it already.

  4. Dave Hogg, my thoughts exactly. THD feels like part one of a two-part season finale/opener. The Division seems too large, too competent and too compartmentalized to be wound up neatly by the end of the final episode.

  5. @Idgilmoure. The same concept came up in Star Trek TOS, only it was an entire planet…. So it’s not necessarily new, but particularly well executed here.

  6. *Damn* you’re good.

    I don’t know what the numbers have been like on the episodic sales, but speaking as a reader, I think this experiment of yours is working just fine.

    Also, I don’t know squat about the television bidness, but if you don’t already have contract in hand on this, I would be purely astonished.

  7. OK I have a new question. When all the segments have been collected can we trade them in for the complete ebook with a color section that includes al that wonderful cover art?

  8. Just downloaded my copy from audible.co.uk – it is actually on sale for 55p (from 79p).

  9. John, I have a question. Another great segment, but this one really made me wonder, specifically about Wildcat Colonies. It sounds like they are universal failures that result in spectacular failures and death for everyone involved. Are they? And if so, why do people keep persisting in doing them, century after century? I mean, it’s one thing for them to fail occasionally, but it seems to be the accepted wisdom in the OMW universe that any non-CU attempt at colonization is doomed to failure. Is this propaganda or wishful thinking on the part of the CU or reality? And if it’s reality, is it only blind optimists or fringe whackjobs who engage in them? It seems like kind of a mix, from what we’ve seen in THD.

    Just curious for some perspective on it, if you feel so inclined.

  10. It’s gotta be the Consu. We saw in Zoe’s Tale how the Consu think its trivial to mess with an entire race (the Obin) just as an experiment.. And how they, at least as individuals, will pit large groups against each other, just for their own entertainment. If not the Consu as a race, then at least one, or more, individuals are playing humans against the conclave.

  11. How long do those of us waiting for the combined paper product to come out have to wait, again?

  12. I am very impressed with how well The Human Division episodes have worked and been written. John, you have improved upon this, now uncommon, narrative form.

  13. I think the serialization experiment is working out very well indeed. I look forward to it every week and will likely also buy the whole thing so as to be able to read it at one uninterrupted go.

    Chapeau Scalzi.

  14. Enjoyed this segment, as well as the others, greatly. The nice part is that each is short enough to enjoy at lunch on my Nook, without the worry that I’m going to have to put off making supper to read the rest of it. Tune in next week, same Bat time, same Bat channel…

  15. @ldgilmoure, Lurkertype: no need for there to be Consu or any other creepy alien involvement for this sort of depravity. Humanity already has this exact scenario covered, e.g. the case of Brian Wells:

    …an American pizza delivery man who was killed by a time bomb fastened to his neck, purportedly under coercion from the maker of the bomb. After he was apprehended by the police for robbing a bank, the bomb exploded….
    A note found on Wells had instructions for him to carry out four tasks—the first of which was the bank robbery—in a set period of time before the bomb went off. Wells would gain extra time with the completion of each task. However, it was later determined that regardless of what had unfolded, Wells would never have had enough time to complete the tasks to get the bomb defused: Police travelled the route on the note and couldn’t complete it in the time the note allocated to Douglas.

    Also, summarizing my Consu response from the Tor thread: no way. Philosophically, the Consu’s distaste for actually having to deal with aliens doesn’t match up with all the icky dealing-with-aliens that this plot involves. They might well be fine with the ends, but it’s not their means.

  16. For those folks who are in the same boat as me, looking at having 13 individual ebooks at the end of this saga, you may want to look at the “EpubMerge” for Calibre. If you aren’t already familiar with Calibre (an ebook managemant program), this may not be particularly useful, but I was able to successfully merge chapters 1 -11 and the resulting epub (while lacking a global index) was quite manageable. For what it is worth….

  17. So… there are only 2 episodes left. You… you’re not actually going to wrap things up in this book, are you? :(

  18. So… there are only 2 episodes left. You… you’re not actually going to wrap things up in this book, are you? :(

    Actually, that would rate a big GRIN for me.

    Take my money. PLEASE.

  19. georgewilliamherbert @ 4:49 pm: You can pre-order it on Powells and Amazon already. Both sites give a release date of May 14th. I am probably going to pick it up, even though I have been buying the ebooks. It will be nice to have a printed copy.

  20. KIA – I wouldn’t get your hopes up for closure next week. Next week’s story, “The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads”, is one of the two shortest of the Human Divisions episodes. I buy from B&N and they list it as a 29 page story – the same as “The Sound of Rebellion”. The final week’s wrap-up is the 2nd longest at 77 pages (after the “B-team” at 93 pages). Hopefully that last episode will put those pages to good use. I need the closure! ;-)

  21. I really enjoyed this chapter while waiting in epically large lines to purchase overpriced plastic wands for my children at Ollivander’s in Universal Orlando. Also, the cover art for this series is fantastic.

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